Here is a gem from the 'Mid-Week Moments' archives that seemed appropriate during this time when we need strong leadership in our world. Thank you once again, Connie, for your inspired words.
Where do leaders come from? I mean true leaders? And what makes a good leader? Are they born that way, as the old catchphrase says?
Last week I focused on Joshua 1:3-9--words for us to begin 2018. But of course, these verses were originally for Joshua, the man called by God to lead the Israelites into the promised land. But why Joshua?
The first mention of Joshua is in Exodus 17, after the Amalekites attack the Israelites (soon after crossing the Red Sea). Moses commands Joshua to lead a battle against these Amalekites and he is victorious. So, we know from this chapter, that Joshua crossed the Red Sea with the rest of the Israelites as an already-trained warrior--training that will serve him well in leading the people into the promised land.
But wait--the crossing of the Jordan that occurs in the book of Joshua doesn't happen for another 40+ years, after years of wandering in the wilderness. So, what does Joshua do during that time? He serves. What? He serves? Yes. He becomes Moses' servant.
In Exodus 24:12,13 we read:
"The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.” Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God."
And in Exodus 33:9-11 we read:
"As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent."
Joshua, the physical warrior, is now going through a different kind of training: spiritual training as Moses' servant. Probably not the training a warrior would request, but not once do we read that Joshua complained about this new role. Rather, Joshua watches the deepening relationship between God and Moses--a relationship in which God calls Moses His friend. Joshua pays attention and learns about this God of Moses. He learns through Moses who God is in his own life.
Through this time of servanthood, Joshua learns that the Almighty God can be trusted. Then when he, along with eleven others, go to spy out the land in Numbers 13 & 14, he and Caleb return with this report (Num. 14:6-9):
Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
In his back-row role as a servant, Joshua learned what God wanted him to learn i.e. that the LORD would be with them as they entered the land the LORD promised them. Unfortunately, Joshua had to wait another 40 years for that to happen. But when the time was right (the LORD's timing), Joshua could take up his warrior role once again.
The Joshua that we meet in Joshua 1 was ready to lead. He had walked faithfully through the valley of the shadow of death to come out the other end ready to take on his leadership role. And lead he does.
Life never happens the way we think it will. I'm sure that when Joshua defeated the Amalekites in Exodus 17, he didn't know that the next 40+ years of his life would be spent serving. He was a trained warrior after all. BUT GOD knew--and God had a plan. And Joshua faithfully and obediently did what he was asked to do, no matter what the task.
My prayer for each one of us is that we will be like Joshua--faithful and obedient to the tasks God calls us to do--no matter how menial or elevated they may be. And may we be always paying attention to God's presence, no matter what the situation, always looking to learn and understand more and more of who God is! And like Joshua, may we always, be teachable.
Ever seeking to learn,
January 10, 2018