Focal Passage: Joshua 1:1-9
Oswald Sanders said, “Simply stated, leadership is the ability to move and influence people.”
You may question your role as a leader, but followers of Christ, are called to be used by Him to move and influence people. The Lord calls us salt and light. The Apostle Paul, Peter, and John remind us of our important role as priests, a chosen people, and the dwelling place of God (I Peter 2:5, 9; Ephesians 2:20-22; Revelation 1:6, 3:10).
Joshua finds himself succeeding Moses as leader of God’s people. There could have been volatility in this transition and there must have been a feeling of vulnerability as he assumed this new role. In the midst of this transition, God was executing His plan for His people.
An encounter with the Lord. In verse 1, “The Lord spoke to Joshua.” This encounter with God was reassuring for Joshua. Just as the Lord had spoken to his predecessor Moses, God was now communicating with Joshua. This fellowship would be essential for the task at hand.
An instruction from the Lord. Verses 2 and 8 record the Lord giving instruction to Joshua and the people. He was giving the people a land as an inheritance just as He had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God also gives a formula for success in this new land. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” Obedience equals success. This may sound like it was about the people, but; this obedience would bring recognition and glory to God. Other nations would observe the Lord as a God worthy of obedience and honor. God still calls His people to obedience for His glory.
A promise from the Lord. Verses 3-5 contain a renewal and reminder of God’s promises to His people. Possession of the land and victory in conquest were a fulfillment of God’s promise to generations of His people whom He had chosen and created for Himself. Perhaps even more important is His promise of presence and loyalty, “I will not fail you or forsake you.” This characteristic of the Father is also portrayed by the Son, “I will not leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). What a great promise, God will not abandon us.
An encouragement from the Lord. In order for Joshua to fulfill the Lord’s plan, he would need strength and courage. As the Lord speaks to Joshua, He coaches him repeatedly as if to build him up with these words, “Be strong and courageous”(vv. 6-7, 9).
Joshua and his friend Caleb believed in the power of God and had proven that previously. Ultimately, God would accomplish His promise to His people. Courage and strength would be available through obedience to His commands.
You may feel inadequate for the task to which God has called you. The important thing to remember is that if He has called you to the task, it is not about you or your ability. God wants to do through you what only He can do for His glory. He wants to be in relationship with you. He has left us the instruction of His Word and promised to equip and enable us as we grow in discipleship. His Holy Spirit and our church family are there to encourage us along the way. Embrace His plan for you when it comes to moving and influencing people for the Kingdom of God.
— Harmon is pastor of Rock Springs Baptist Church, Greenbrier.