STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Lord, we will follow our leaders as they follow You.
Read JOSHUA 1:10–18
10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”
12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
16 Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”
‘But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be’ (1 Cor 12:18). Be submissive to Him this day and beyond.
Having received his marching orders from God, Joshua is ready for action. When we clearly hear that initial call from God, get fired up and ready to face all obstacles! Yet are we battling for land, or claiming it as heirs? Joshua’s close relationship with God has empowered him. In him we see the fulfillment of years of nurturing and teaching under Moses. Joshua calls the people to act, stating God’s plan and purpose: to inherit the land as heirs, not occupiers. The Reubenites, Gadites, and Manasseh’s tribe would see their promises fulfilled. God has spoken through Moses regarding provision for the nation as well as for specifics. This group will receive because God’s leaders in Moses and Joshua follow God’s instruction.
There is great unity in this passage, both in leadership and also in the people’s relationship to their leaders. Joshua is quick to assume command but also to delegate (10) – no man can lead alone. Furthermore, no one can lead without followers, and the Israelites are prepared to follow Joshua as they did Moses. However, this appears to be conditional – Joshua must walk with God, affirming that God remains sovereign. The people and their leaders have confidence in God’s ability and therefore in God’s anointed one. ‘All Israel will bear its burdens, suffer its losses and share in its victories’ (Robert Hubbard, The NIV Application Commentary, Joshua, Zondervan, 2009, p86). Are we united behind the vision of our God-appointed leaders, or are we prone to empty criticism? Are we prepared to be in the battle ahead of the pack (14), ready to help the people of God move forward? We all have different roles within the body, but the unity that comes from all having one purpose (despite their differences) enables them to go forward, not trying to win the land, but to take possession of that which is already theirs (11, 15).
What was the last thing God laid before you? Have you acted on it, or dismissed it as an impossible dream?
Lord, thank You for placing gifts of leadership in the Body of Christ. Grant to us a posture of submission so that Your kingdom may advance.