Imagine yourself in Joshua’s place. The leader who walked with God and got to see His glory has just died. Now, you must fill Moses’ shoes. You are not sure what plans would be best for the thousands you are now in charge of. Their lives and future depend on your leadership skills. You face unheard-of challenges. What would be your leadership strategy?
Our look at the fall of Jericho (Joshua 5) reveals valuable lessons for us as pastors:
Embrace the challenge. In verse 13, Joshua has a unique face-to-face encounter with God but doesn’t recognize Him. Often, what we see as the enemy working against us is actually God working for our benefit. Instead of asking God to remove the challenge, we need to ask God to use the challenge to refine us and make us more like Him.
Humble yourself. In verse 14, Joshua immediately humbles himself before God, acknowledges his inferiority and dependence, and opens his heart to God’s presence and leading.
How difficult is it for men or women of God to humble themselves before God and lay prostrate at His feet daily? This is heaven’s secret for success (2 Chron. 7:14).
Reverence God. Verse 15 states that God told Joshua to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. God also told Moses to take his shoes off at the burning bush. Why? Free people had shoes; servants did not. The removal of shoes reverently acknowledged God as Master and Joshua as servant.
Take your shoes off; worship God even amid your challenge. Do not focus on the need, the problem, the fight. Focus on God!
Go forward. Now comes the action part of the story—march around the city and do . . . what? Joshua could have come up with many other more logical ways to defeat the people of Jericho. But he understood that in order to follow God’s plan, you just need to trust Him (Prov. 3:5).
“It is not the capabilities you now possess or ever will have that will give you success. It is that which the Lord can do for you. We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him.”1
Claim victory. It is easy to shout for victory after the walls come down, but Israel was supposed to shout beforehand. Victory was in the promise before it was in the achievement.
Can you trust God to do something that may even appear humiliating to you? He will never leave you nor forsake you. Fix your eyes on His promises and praise Him in faith. Rejoice always. “Never allow yourself to talk in a hopeless, discouraged way. If you do, you will lose much. By looking at appearances and complaining when difficulties and pressure come, you give evidence of a sickly, enfeebled faith. Talk and act as if your faith was invincible. The Lord is rich in resources; He owns the world. Look heavenward in faith. Look to Him who has light and power and efficiency.”2
There are persons under your leadership who are looking up to you. The level of your trust in God is measured by your willingness to step out in faith, with no visible safety net. Unless you trust in God, it will be difficult to inspire them to trust; unless you follow God’s plan, it will be challenging to ask them to follow. Only by fixing your eyes on God in every situation can you inspire them to do the same. And a praying leader brings the whole group to prayer.
Embrace the challenge, humble yourself, reverence God, go forward—no matter how absurd it may sound—and claim victory from the One whom you walk with moment by moment. By modelling leadership—in season and out of season—you’ll be preparing Joshua to fill your shoes.
- Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1900), 146.
- White, 147.