Joshua 8:10—Joshua started early the next morning and mobilized them. Then he and the elders of Israel led the troops up to Ai.
The 22 words in the sentence above are packed with tremendous lessons on leadership. Here is the context. Israel attacked a small city called Ai and was soundly beaten. It was a loss of colossal proportions. First, if the Canaanites heard that the soldiers of this small city won in battle it would galvanize the entire region to repel the invaders. Second, Israel had already decisively defeated a much larger city Jericho and knew that God’s powerful miracles were known by the Canaanites and feared. Despite this, Israel was still intimidated by the task of expelling larger more powerful nations. To lose to Ai must have really shattered their confidence. The reason they lost was tied directly to Achan, one of their tribesman, who took a cloak, 200 silver shekels and a bar of gold from Jericho in direct disobedience to God’s order: “But keep yourselves from the things set apart, or you will be set apart for destruction. If you take any of those things, you will set apart the camp of Israel for destruction and bring disaster on it” (Jos. 6:18).
After stoning Achan and his family to death, we see Joshua shine as a leader. He gets up early in the morning and mobilizes the army. Rather than delegate this task to his commanders he rallies them. Then he and the elders led the army forward into battle. Thank God Joshua 8:10 doesn’t say, “Joshua told his commanders, ‘Okay, I know you lost but you can do this. Take a bigger size force than last time. Go fight and win and come back with a good report.’” No! He and his elders led from the front. He took responsibility for the previous failure and marched into battle.
To lead from the front requires discernment. Defeat is more than an indicator of problems; it is also a gauge of character. Take responsibility! Find out the cause of failure then fix it. To lead from the front requires discipline. Eventually, every organization has an Achan. Those leaders who are afraid to deal with immoral members will only see cancerous behavior spread. To lead from the front requires sacrifice. You may have to get up before everyone else to move your organization forward. To lead from the front requires courage. Joshua could have bypassed Ai and gone on to easier battles. Instead he pointed the elders and the Army right back to the objective and won. To lead from the front requires faith. Life is full of ugly battles. Fear God and do what He says believing that the outcome will be rewarding.
If you are a parent it is your God-given responsibility to lead from the front. If God has placed you in a position of authority in an organization then make the most of it by setting the example. If you are not a leader, pray for those who are in authority and for God’s glory help them succeed.
His cardinal mistake is that he isolates himself, and allows nobody to see him; and by which he does not know what is going on in the very matter he is dealing with.—Abraham Lincoln (reason for relieving Gen. John C. Freemont from command)
©2013 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)