THEME: Joshua’s Leadership Characteristics
This week’s lessons conclude the account of the southern and northern campaigns, and show us the necessity of committed obedience to God in all things.
In our study of the southern campaign I talked about Joshua’s leadership characteristics. This story of the northern campaign reminds us of the importance of spiritual leadership. The same principles that he put into practice in his military campaigns are principles that you and I need to put into our spiritual campaigns. We saw in the first place that Joshua never seemed to allow short-term gains to turn him back from long-range objectives. He knew what he was there to do. He was there to conquer the land and to do away with the kings and the armies of the cities. And even though he saw short-term things that might have been quite attractive at the time, he never turned aside to what was a lesser objective. I pointed out that you and I need to get a firm fix on that. And probably one thing we need to do is make a list of priorities in our lives, things that really are important according to what God teaches us through His Word as the Holy Spirit reveals these priorities to us. We need to follow that course by carefully pursuing each priority one by one.
Secondly, Joshua knew as he carried out the battle that not only did he need encouragement against fear, but Joshua also knew that those who worked with him needed to be given encouragement as well. So you find examples of that again and again in the story. We need to learn from that. We don’t live the Christian life alone. When we’re saved, we’re brought into the church, the body of Christ. We are made members of His body along with others who also call upon the name of the Lord. And we have to encourage them as they also have to encourage us. The Christian life has its ups and downs. One of the obligations of those who are going through a good time is to encourage those who are down. When we find ourselves encouraged by things that are happening in our own lives, we need to pass that onto others.
The third point is that Joshua took no shortcuts. Instead, he proceeded step by step in this task of conquering the land. We’re going to see as we look back on this with our next study that all in all, the subjection of the hillside fortresses took seven years. That’s a lot of fighting. But Joshua, nevertheless, kept it up. Like Joshua in his campaign, we need to make progress in the Christian life step by step.
The fourth thing to remember is that he didn’t allow early errors to unsettle him. He made mistakes just as we do. He made a mistake at Ai when he didn’t consult God and they suffered a defeat. He made a misjudgment in regard to the Gibeonites. He didn’t consult God, and so he was deceived by appearances. But he didn’t allow these things to throw him off. Joshua undoubtedly confessed these things and got it right with the Lord, and then he went on. He didn’t allow those things to deter him from future usefulness, and neither should we.
I pointed out in the fifth place that Joshua believed God implicitly and in the sixth place, that he obeyed God utterly. Now, it’s that last point I’d like to look at just a little bit further. And the reason I’d like to do that is because in the middle of this eleventh chapter that we’re now studying, there is a verse which I think more than anything in the entire book summarizes the character of Joshua.
What are the six leadership characteristics Dr. Boice reminds us of from the lesson on the southern campaign?
How did Joshua demonstrate each of them?
What are some ways you can apply each of these six characteristics this week?