So how do we get on to making the plans real? There is a lot of discussion about how to take most of what we have learned from the business world and apply it to the church. We will fail here if we follow the world, just as the church has failed in the area of counseling. The pattern is to think that the world offers something that is missing in God’s Word. Once this is done, God’s word is no longer valued and what God would say is missed. The church then becomes an image of the broken world rather than of Christ.
Today, for example, rare is the pastor and elder that have confidence in the Word of God to deal with people's personal problems. They ship them off to some counselor with some very worldly assumptions. This worldliness in the area of leadership and management is now drifting into the world. Frankly we have all that we need here in God’s Word all written many years before the business world discovered these principles. God has made the church to lead the world not to follow it.
The issues that we see here are simple but very significant. We find four things seen here that create a sensitive leader. Leaders need to face all sorts of difficulties. If they fail, then those around them suffer. If you are in charge, then carry out your responsibility. Leadership comes hard for me. I never learned it as a boy from my father. But when God has given you responsibility for something, you need to carry it out. Joshua complied by being timely, respectful, directive, and have clear communication.
Joshua could have put things off. What a challenge and responsibility! He hadn’t done it before! He was nothing compared to Moses! Isn’t this how Satan attacks us and moves us to procrastinate? If we wait until we are fully ready, then it will be too late. We need to do better training up of men to be leaders. Every man should be a trained leader. God made women to be followers, assistants and helpmates. This does not mean they are not capable but that they are made for a strategic purpose.
Joshua was attentive to the leaders about him. Verse 10 says, “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people.” Poor leadership is plagued by people going around the authority of leaders. This can happen in two ways. Sometimes it is the leader that does not utilize those that are in authority under him. It is also a problem when those under authority bypass those in direct authority over them. We are not seeking God’s will when we bypass given authority.
We can understand why people do such things. The leader is not listening to you. A timid leader in charge avoids telling some strong-minded leaders what needs to be done. On the other hand the strong-minded leader because of pride often ignores those who are called to assist him. This causes other problems. We need to be respectful of those in certain positions. If we do not rightly communicate with them, then the people will begin to have problems with the mission. Factions can easily develop. Frustrations grow. Different opinions arise.
Joshua told the people what was going to happen. This is directive leadership. He did not take a poll. What do you think would happen if a poll was given? Clear directives are important. They help provide unity. Of course if this was Joshua’s dream rather than God’s, then it would have been a different matter. But God was leading. His commands were clear. There are places for voting and discussion but it must never be on the things that God has already made clear. These things just need to be spoken out.
Joshua clearly communicated to the people what needed to be said. First of all, he told the leaders and told them to distribute the information outward to the people. Let’s look closer to what he said. Joshua told them to pass on three commands.
a. What to do to get ready
They are to prepare provisions. “Prepare provisions for yourselves.” Actually, it is very interesting that this is really the only thing they had to do. Now we appreciate the fact that when you go on a trip, you need to prepare things to eat. They should be easily stored and not go bad. Things like granola bars.
But did you ever think what they were not told to get ready? If you were going to face seven nations, seven kings and seven armies, don’t you think that you would also get weapons and ammunition ready? This is where we see God’s advice vastly differ than the world’s. They were to be a people marked off by God’s protection rather than their own. They would fight of course but everyone knows that it wasn’t fair. God was on their side.
b. When they will go
They will take action in three days. Time all of a sudden becomes short. They need to think of all the things that need to be done. He no doubt heard complaints that the time was insufficient. But time was urgent. The people were not to settle down but move one. One way to keep criticism down is to move so fast that they have no time to argue. Pack up or be left behind!
c. What they will be doing
Lastly they were told what they would be doing after those three days. “You are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you , to possess it.” Joshua was clear. Furthermore he embedded the promises with the vision. It was not a pep rally to convince them that they could do it. All the extra grace that the Lord promised Joshua was compacted in a few words and passed on to them. Joshua used his faith to inspire others. Success had everything to do not with how tough they are (down with pride), how ingenious they are in devising a way across the river but in trusting God’s enabling.
A good start is so important for it is this first impression that will be played over and over again. What has been done sets the expectation of what will be. All the things that will be said later will be built on this foundation that God is going to give them the land. The words shape their attitude toward God, their enemies and the mission. If you are a leader, do not feel overwhelmed by this. Remember stay close to God and He will tell you what to say. Doing it is half the job but not the whole job. We need to do it rightly.
Behind the scenes, I am convinced that Joshua was securing wisdom by staying close to God. He no doubt had already memorized many of the words Moses had written down. He had to meet God. Only God would give him confidence (not self-confidence but God-confidence). Only God could lead him. He had to meditate in God’s Word day and night. In his personal life had to obey God, which in this case required that he speak thus to the people and lead them over the Jordan.
They are to possess the land, and yet the land is something the Lord is giving to them. Now you might be thinking about how strange it is to fight for something which is being given to you but that is what is happening. God has so assured them of victory that they only need to go forth in faith. ‘Possess’ actually means to receive as an inheritance or to occupy and care for what was given to them.
Summary & Application
Joshua stood up against all the pressures that faced him and led the people of God into the Promised Land. God’s Words were no longer only to be dreams. They have heard those words, “Promised Land” for so long. Now it was going to become true. Joshua would make sure the dreams became true. Aspirations would become reality. There was much more to be done, but his vision and action are in the right place.
Application: How are you doing in your quest for which Christ died for and commissioned His people? Are you taking it seriously? It might be as simple as a father leading his family in prayer for other people. You might be a leader with a plan that seems from God but afraid to mention it.
You might be the kind of person who sees the needs around you and criticize why something isn’t done. Did you ever ask yourself why it is on your heart? And why you have not done anything about it? Again, we do not want everyone doing his own thing. We are a people of God under His leadership. He has appointed leaders. We should respect them and go through them. Trust them with your ideas. Pray for your leaders that it might be well with you. => Next