Theme: Genuine Faith in God
This week’s lessons describe how Joshua got to be the faithful and courageous leader for God that he was.
And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”
And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brothers and shall help them, until the Lord gives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they also take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”
The final thing I want to say is that Christian leaders must also demonstrate genuine faith in God. Joshua was preeminently a man of faith. God told Joshua, “This is the land and I’m going to give it to you.” Joshua believed God, so when he went into the land with the other spies and searched it out, he didn’t care if there were giants. It didn’t bother him that there were walled cities. Oh, certainly it was an obstacle; they had to be dealt with somehow. And later he was the commander who along with Israel’s tribes had to personally deal with them. But those things didn’t weigh heavily with him because Joshua believed God. And if God said He was going to give them the land, well, He was going to give them the land. Joshua would simply operate on that premise.
At that point in the story, God said, “Now’s the time. The years have rolled by. We stand at the edge of the Jordan. Now’s the time to go in and possess it.” And Joshua’s first words are, “Go through the camp and tell the people. Get the supplies ready because here we go. God is giving us the land.” If God says He will never leave us, then we act on that premise if we believe God. If God says He will bless us, then we operate on that premise if we believe God. We go forward boldly to take that which He has given us to take and to do the task that He has given us to do.
When a person is like that, when they’ve demonstrated faithfulness in the past, when they have a specific call, when they know the Word of God, and when they trust the God who has given that Word, then people will follow them. That’s what happened here because the people say to Joshua at the very end, “Whatever you have commanded us, we will do. And wherever you send us, we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as He was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.” They were willing to follow him. Now we know they didn’t do what they said. They said, “Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you.” But they hadn’t obeyed Moses—not fully. And they didn’t obey Joshua—not fully. Leadership is not easy. But Joshua wasn’t worried about that because his eyes were on God. May ours be also. May He raise up among our number the leaders that are desperately needed for our generation, for all the work we have before us to do.
Look up as many passages about faith as you are able. What do they tell you about what it is, where it comes from, and what God accomplishes through it
Why is faith a necessary component for Christian leadership?
In the lesson Dr. Boice encouraged us in this way: “If God says He will never leave us, then we act on that premise if we believe God. If God says He will bless us, then we operate on that premise if we believe God. We go forward boldly to take that which He has given us to take and to do the task that He has given us to do.” What are some ways you can live this out? What are some ways you can encourage others to trust in God even in difficult situations?