A Spiritual Charge
Men of Courage - Joshua 1:1-18
What men need today, perhaps more than ever, is to be strong and courageous. Joshua is one of the best examples of a man who needed Godly strength if he was to succeed. God told Joshua to be strong and courageous no less than four times by the end of the first chapter. Joshua needed to be encouraged to be strong and courageous. And that’s really not so difficult to understand. If I were getting ready to lead nearly 2 million stubborn people into a strange new homeland, I’m sure I would need God to tell me to be strong.
What did it mean for Joshua to be strong and courageous? What does that mean for you?
Be strong and courageous because you are the leader of your family. "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” (Josh. 1:6 NIV) Joshua had been given by God a leadership role, and he needed to take hold of it and not allow it to pass him by. The success of the nation of Israel would largely depend on his willingness and ability to lead with strength and conviction.
In Joshua, we see the characteristics of a man who would be chosen by God to lead. Joshua was a man with a big God. “Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them." (Num. 14:9 NIV) Joshua, like the other spies, sent by Moses across the Jordan, saw the fortified cities and the powerful armies occupying the promised land. But unlike the majority, Joshua and Caleb saw the conquest through the eyes of faith. Granted the task was big, but the God of Israel was bigger.
Joshua was a man completely devoted to God. “…not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” (Num. 32:12 NIV) It was because of their wholehearted devotion to God that Joshua and Caleb were permitted to enter the Promised land.
Joshua was a man with a holy reverence for God. "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?" (Josh. 5:14 NIV) On the eve of Israel’s attack on Jericho, Joshua personally surveyed the area surrounding the city and inspected its fortifications. While doing this, Joshua was approached by the commander of the angelic army of God. This encounter with God’s messenger inspired in Joshua humility and reverence and instilled in him the confidence that God was with him and was in control. “The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing his holy.” And Joshua did so.” (v. 15)
Joshua was a man who faithfully followed the directives of God. “As the LORD commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.” (Josh. 11:15 NIV) Victory and blessing are the outcome of obedience. Joshua faithfully followed the Lord’s directives, even though they were passed to him by Moses.
Joshua was the spiritual leader of his home. “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Josh. 24:15 NIV)
Fathers, God has given you a spiritual charge to lead your families - every bit as much as He gave Joshua a spiritual charge to lead Israel. I suggest to you that if we are to be successful leaders, we need to be men with faith in a big God, men who are completely devoted to God, men who reverently and fervently worship God, men who faithfully follow the leadership of God, men who are spiritual leaders in the home. Joshua needed strength and courage to fulfill his responsibility, and so do we.
By: Dr. Harold B. Graves, Jr., President Nazarene Bible College