Posted by: Brad Beaman | July 1, 2015

Courageous Leadership


“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them” is a famous quote of Shakespeare.

There is a cartoon picture of a statue of a leader who the caption on the base of the statue said he had “greatness thrust upon them.” It is a humorous picture because the statue captures the moment the man had greatness thrust on him and he is afraid and trying to refuse the greatness. His hands are in refusal posture and he has a look of utter fear and panic on his face.

I wonder if Joshua felt a little like that. First of all he must have thought, how am I going to follow Moses and second, what is leading the people of Israel out of the wilderness and into the promise land going to look like. Joshua had a lot thrust upon him.

Read Joshua 1:1-18

Repeatedly God told Joshua “be not afraid.” Probably the reason God told Joshua repeatedly not to be afraid is because if you thought about this naturally there was a lot to be afraid of. There will be battles to fight if they are going to possess the land. If God is with him though Joshua does not need to be afraid to lead God’s people through the difficulties.

There must be a sense that Joshua, in following the footsteps of Moses, found it intimidating and would cause him to put his hands in a posture of refusal and bring a look of panic to his face. After all even with Moses’s shortcomings there was no prophet that had risen in Israel like Moses (Deuteronomy 34:10)

Joshua 1 picks up after the death of Moses where Deuteronomy 34 leaves off. Before Moses death Moses laid his hands on Joshua and passes on the mantle of leadership. Now in Joshua chapter 1 Moses is gone and Joshua must lead.

In every respect he was the right leader to serve as the successor of Moses. Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom. But when you read Deuteronomy 34:10 you see just how esteemed Moses was. But now we have a new generation and a new leader. Joshua was the oldest man in Israel, except for Caleb. All others of his generation that witnessed the miracle of the parting of Red Sea have died in the wilderness.

Joshua had the most experience as Moses assistant. Joshua had held up Moses’s arms in the great battle against the Amalekites. It was Joshua waiting for Moses when he was on the Mountain receiving the Ten Commandments. Joshua was one of the twelve who entered the promise land forty years previous and brought back the report.

But now that Moses is gone. What will become of God’s people? How will God’s people go on without the leader they have known the last forty years? There is something we must remember. Leaders come and go, but God lives. God’s work never hinges on any one leader. We may grieve but God’s work will move ahead.

Each new leader faces new challenges. Joshua was at a critical moment in history. For forty years the people were preparing to enter the promise land. Now Joshua has taken leadership and he commands the officers to prepare the people to enter the promise land in three days (Joshua 1:11).

Yes Moses was a great leader. But now it is time for Joshua to lead the people into the promise land. Now it is time for Joshua to prepare to do in three days of leadership what Moses did not do in forty years.

God’s hand in on Joshua. He proved to be a man of faith his entire life. His name, Joshua means God Saves. The Greek equivalent of his name is Jesus. Whenever we study the life of Joshua we have a challenge to faith in God and to be strong and courageous.

This is God’s appointed time for His people to enter the promise land and Joshua is God’s appointed leader. It requires courage and strength of character to take leadership in God’s work. God spoke to Joshua when he took the leadership. There is no need for fear and dismay (Josh 1:9)

When Moses was living he passed on the leadership mantle to Joshua he charged him to be strong and courageous and he told him he would lead the people into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 31:23). But now Moses is gone. The weight of leadership rests on Joshua. With an overwhelming task there must have been a sense that Joshua felt weak and scared.  God repeated the charge Moses gave. Be strong and courageous. Strengthen yourself Joshua, be confident, resolute and steadfast.

God is not calling Joshua to be self-reliant. This confidence comes in depending on God. Joshua has a strength and courage rooted in his relationship with Almighty God. That is the reason for courage. This courage comes from the Lord’s presence in his life. Our strength and our courage is because of the Lord’s presence in our lives.

What Joshua accomplished in the days following taking up spiritual leadership was absolutely phenomenal. Spiritual leaders today have Jesus’s promise, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5 Hebrews 13:5). God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).

Center your life on God. Trust in Jesus with your whole heart. Let the Word of God be your guide and do not stray from the left or the right so that you will have success. Whatever leadership that has been thrust upon you do not take it lightly. God has entrusted you and people are depending on you.

God told Joshua to stay in the Word. Joshua is to meditate on God’s Word days and night and apply it to his life (Joshua 1:8). The principle is for every spiritual leader. Keep reading your Bible.

We need leaders today who are strong and courageous. Let God’s Word light your leadership path and continue living by the principles of His Word. If you do you will find success in God’s eyes.


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