Theme: God’s Specific Call
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.”
Secondly, Joshua received a specific call, which we find in Joshua 1. Now when we talk about a call, we have to say that there is a sense in which all of us at all times as Christians have a general call. None of us is left to do nothing. We are all called to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
We’re all called to do good works. That’s just part of what it means to be a Christian. But that’s not what I’m talking about here when I’m talking about a call to leadership. I’m talking about a call to something specific—that is, to a task that a particular individual is given to do.
The reason I think that’s important and a necessary ingredient of leadership is that it is when a man or a woman has a call like that that they’re willing to go forward in the face of what seems to be insurmountable odds. You see, if you depend purely on circumstances for what you do, then when you come up against difficulties, you’ll say, as many people do say, “Well, this must not be the place for me. This isn’t where I should be.” And so, you back off. And leadership is lost. On the other hand, there is the error of presumption, which thinks, “Well, I’m sure it can be done if we do it in the effort of the flesh.” And naturally we fail. You see, between thosepoles, those great errors, is the conviction of a man or a woman called by God to a specific task who says, “This is what God has given me to do. And if this is what God has given me to do, then I’m going to do it, and I’m going to trust Him for the outcome.”
I must say that call comes in different ways. And when we begin to talk specifically, it’s sometimes difficult to nail that down. It’s something that many people wrestle with. But sometimes people do find that specific leading as they study Scripture. They read a passage that they know God has shown them because it applies to their exact situation and gives them direction in these very particular circumstances of their lives. Sometimes that call comes through other people. It’s a marvelous thing how God speaks to us through others within the church.
This is how God called Calvin to his work in Geneva. Farrell had been in Geneva, and he recognized Calvin’s gifts. He knew the need there and so he told Calvin that God wants him in Geneva. At first Calvin did not want to go; and so Farrell threatened him with the judgment of God if he didn’t help the work of the Reformation in this way. I don’t know how he knew that God would judge Calvin if he went somewhere else. But Calvin was scared enough to do the work. And God greatly blessed Calvin. That’s the way his call came.
So calls come in different ways; and yet, you see, the important thing is to know that God has called. And that’s what Joshua knew. So Joshua, who had proved himself in the past, now with the specific call of God to be the commander of the people, took charge and led them through these important years of the conquest.
What are some things that all Christians are called to be or to do?
Why is God’s call necessary for leadership? Without it, what two things does Dr. Boice say can happen that lead to failure?
Knowing that God has given the call provides confidence to carry on when circumstances become difficult. As Dr. Boice expresses, “This is what God has given me to do. And if this is what God has given me to do, then I’m going to do it, and I’m going to trust Him for the outcome.”