Alan Hirsch wrote in The Forgotten Ways, “The presence of a great leader in a group of people changes the patterning of that group.” The sixth book of the Bible is a riveting account of Joshua, a history-changing-charger! Joshua means, “Yahweh saves,” and that neatly sums up what happens in this book of invasion that spans about 25 years.
Leadership is a major theme. The book illustrates why succession is critical. Moses skillfully trained his apprentice Joshua and, with God’s commissioning, positions him for success. The former led a nation across the Red Sea, the latter across the Jordon River! It highlights courage—a must for strong leaders. Aristotle believed, “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” Both Joshua and Caleb (featured in the meditation), exude courage and are godly examples. It painfully reveals why prayer is indispensable as the nation is punished twice—at Ai and with the Gibeonites—when Joshua neglected to seek God’s guidance.
The book’s overall theme is conquest. God leads His people into Canaan to eliminate the wicked inhabitants and establish for Israel their Promised Land thereby fulfilling His covenant with Abraham. Coupled with this theme is that of God’s power. Israel prevails when they march because God avails His awe-producing might. He parts the Jordan River. He crumples the walls of Jericho. He holds the sun in place for almost a full day (10:13) so Joshua and the army can defeat the enemy on a lit battlefield. He unleashes hornets and hurls hailstones upon their enemies. So long as Israel is obedient, God works on her behalf. When they scorn His instruction, they suffer long-standing consequences.
Near the end of his life as he surveys his countrymen, he knows that they have unfinished business. The tribes have not subdued and inhabited their allotted territories. He feels their penchant for rebellion. Fittingly, the old warrior leaves them with a challenge:
Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship Yahweh. But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh. (24:14,15)
The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.—Max DePree
©2020 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)