Joshua 8:9,10—So Joshua sent them out, and they went to the ambush site and waited between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. But he spent that night with the troops. Joshua started early the next morning and mobilized them. Then he and the elders of Israel led the troops up to Ai.
Picture spending forty years wandering through the desert until an entire generation of disbelieving parents has died. God miraculously parted the Jordan River and an expectant nation crossed into the land of Canaan on dry land. Thirteen times their army marched around the city of Jericho and the walls fell down! God gave them an easy win against a well-fortified city. Then, with an ever-rising confidence they attacked the inhabitants of Ai only to be swiftly defeated. Like quickly evaporating water, their sureness was shattered. How could they ever hope to conquer Canaan if they could not even vanquish a small village?
The Bible tells us that Israel lost that battle because one of their countrymen, Achan, violated God’s specific instructions by stealing, deceiving and hoarding what should have been set apart for Him (7:11). The disobedient member of the Zerahite clan and his family were stoned to death and the evil was effectively purged. Now Israel could move forward with God’s blessing.
What I love about Joshua 8:9 are the eight words that conclude the verse, “But he spent that night with the troops.” Great leaders position themselves where they can do the most good. Joshua knew his soldiers were discouraged. Doubts, second-guessing, and an assortment of cascading fears flow through the minds of a team that suffers unexpected defeat. Instead of leaving the army alone with its leaders, Joshua camped with them. In the morning he personally led the army from the front.
If you are a leader, be sure you know the condition of those you are leading. If they are dejected, go spend time with them. If your organization or family suffers a devastating setback, make the effort to listen, to encourage, and set the example of hope. Defeats always have a reason. Joshua personally suffered at the first battle of Ai. Men died because of Achan’s sin. Suddenly his leadership was questioned, his faith shaken, and his heart torn by the loss of God’s protection and blessing and the resultant discredit it could bring to His name.
Great leaders are not defined by defeats they are made better by them. By discerning lessons learned they move forward—finding the right place from which to lead. It’s easy to be with the team when the wins are frequent, but they need you the most when times are tough. God modeled this for Joshua when He promised him, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go(1:9). He is with you, so be with them! Something to think about . . . in reveration!
The quintessential skill of leadership is awareness.--James Robbins in Nine Minutes On Monday
©2017 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)