Joshua 1:10-18: Recognizing Godly Leadership

Read Joshua 1:10-18

Joshua was Moses’ selected leader and was commissioned by God to lead the Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua had been commissioned in front of all of Israel while Moses was still yet alive in Deuteronomy 31:7-8. Moses commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous in the context of obeying the Law. God had said the same thing to Joshua in Joshua 1:1-9. Now, Joshua was taking up this task that he had been appointed to do. He gathers together the leadership and tells them to make ready their provisions to enter the Promised Land. Joshua tells them to be valiant and battle ready when they cross the Jordan, but reminds them it is God who is going to give them the land. The people respond, accepting Joshua’s leadership. They promise to follow his leadership as they followed Moses. And lastly, they commend Joshua to be bold and courageous too.

From Joshua’s recognition, some principles on how godly leaders are recognized:

  • Leaders are recognized by God. God recognized Joshua and appointed him as leader of the Israel, telling him the same sort of message Moses did: to be bold and courageous and obey the commandments of the law.
  • Leaders are recognized by their predecessors. Moses recognized Joshua saw in Joshua the qualities needed to be a leader of the people of Israel, and raised up Joshua to succeed him after he was parted. Moses tells Joshua to be bold and courageous and obey the commandments of the law.
  • Leaders are recognized by their followers. When a leader ascends to a leadership position, the followers pledge to obey and follow the leader. But even they ask their leader to be bold and courageous as God and Moses had done.

All those who recognize leaders want their leaders to be bold and courageous rather than lacking in principle and faith. Leaders who are bold and courageous are not necessarily brash and wild people, rather they are willing to do what is necessary in accordance with the principles of God to accomplish the mission of God, even if some of the decisions they make are not popular or otherwise.

Christian leaders should be recognized in the same manner that Joshua was recognized: by other Christian leaders, by God, and by those who will follow. The calling to lead the people of God is a high calling and the qualities of such people are steep. 1 Timothy 3:1-13 outlines the qualities Christian leaders ought to exhibit. In short, leaders are to be mature and wise believers. At the same time, Christians should be willing to stand behind their leaders and be obedient to their authority. Leadership is a consensual relationship that requires buy in from both the leader and the lead. Subversive action on the part of the leader or the follower is detrimental to not just one person, but the whole church. Ultimately, all are under the leadership of God, and it is God’s authority to whom everyone must submit. God will hold leaders accountable for their leadership and followers accountable for their obedience.

Lord, help me to recognize leadership whether I am leading or being lead!