Joshua 1 What God looks for in His Leaders

Leadership books and seminars  are a big deal and people are always trying to be a leader or a better leader. There is much written about leadership but what does God say about being a leader?  God shows us in Joshua what a real leader looks like.

Read Joshua 1:1-18

What Happened to Moses ?

Moses leads the Children back into the wilderness and as they were wandering around they began to get thirsty and complained again to  Moses.

Numbers 20:10-13 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”13 These are the waters of Meribah,[a] where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.

Moses was only supposed to lift up his staff to the rock not strike it and because of that  Moses became disqualified to lead God’s people. Moses sacrificed a lot for these people and even went to God on their behalf when God was going to strike them down. With all the good that Moses had done we see that even a man of Moses stature can be disqualified to lead when they ignore Gods commands.

This does not have to do with personal salvation just we disqualify ourselves from the blessings of God when we do not do what God ask. Moses dies and now we see that Joshua is going to be the leader.

Godly Leaders:

1)   Serve Others

“Moses my servant is dead”

God did not say Moses my Leader is dead. God did not say, Moses my Judge is dead, althought he was a Judge. God did not say, Moses my spokesman is dead although he went to God on behalf of the people. God specifically says that Moses was His servant.

At the end of your life what will God say about you? Serving seems to almost be the opposite of being a leader but nothing can be further from the truth. Would you say that Jesus was a leader? Jesus came to serve (Matthew 20:28)

Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[a] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

When we get to Heaven we will be given responsibilities for eternity based on how we served here. Leadership is about serving and serving God.

God starts by saying that His servant Moses is dead and now He is looking for the next leader to lead His people. Joshua already knew he was going to be the next one in line because Moses laid hands on him anointing him as the next leader. (Deuteronomy 34:9)

1 Timothy 3 tells us that in the last days people will be lovers of self. Serving is the opposite of selfishness. Many leaders only care about others if they can benefit from the person some how. To be a servant is to always put others above yourself.

Whenever a leader dies in Gods kingdom we have the responsibility to finish the work that was already started.  We are called to be on a mission that needs to be completed and we need to be the ones to carry on the work.

God is looking for leaders who can carry out His assignments and the top quality of that position is to be a servant. If you are not willing to serve then you are not ready to lead.

2)   Obey those in authority

Joshua was one of the two good spies (Numbes13:8) and he learned to obey before he could lead.  He was faithful to God even when the rest of the congregation turned against Moses.  Being faithful when no one else is takes courage. He had his mind made up what he was going to do ahead of time.

Joshua would later say in 24:15 As for me and my house we will serve the Lord .

Exodus 17:8-13  Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim.So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.”10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.12 But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.13 And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

Joshua was entrusted by God to lead 3 million people across the Jordan because he first learned to listen to those God put in his life. (Romans 13)

What assignments have you been given already that you are not following?Many people want to be in leadership but they are not doing the things they have been entrusted with already.

“Those are fittest to rule that have learnt to obey” Matthew Henry

If you want to be a great leader then be a great follower until God places you in a position of authority.

3)   Take steps of faith

Go Over this Jordan

Faith is in the person and work of Jesus not just some word when you do not know how things are going to work out. God makes it sound as if crossing the Jordan river is easy because with God all things are easy.

Sometimes we ask God “How are we supposed to cross the Jordan? Are we going to build an Ark? Is there a bridge somewhere ? Trusting in God means trusting He has a plan and a purpose for what He is doing. He needs us to walk by faith as we trust Him to carry out the details.  Courage means trusting in Gods plan even when you have no clue how it is going to happen.

Joshua 3:14-17 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people,15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest),16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho.17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

So God sent the priest ahead with the Ark of the Covenant and when they started going forward God parted the waters on dry ground. Do not miss that it was on dry ground. God can do anything He wants because He is God.

God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible- what a pity that we plan only the things we can do by ourselves.” A.W. Tozer

Courage is faith in Action and Faith is saying that God has no limits

4)   Bring others with them

Vs 14-15

Our Military is a prime example of a group of people who have to rely on each other to accomplish a job. One day we will be in the promise Land but until then we must fight together to defeat the enemy. Joshua needed others to accomplish the will of God and he asked for their help. God does not call us to be lone rangers but put the church together to be the body of Christ, serving together to accomplish His will.

Not Following Blindly

The People did not follow blindly but said they would follow Joshua as long as the Lord is with Him. You can follow a leader but if they have left the way of God then you should not follow them. Our Allegiance is to God and God alone and any leader who is not doing the will of God is not worth following.

The church is losing battles in our world simply because we have too many Christians not willing to get involved. Joshua needed mighty men of Valor to help fight the enemy and every church needs people that will step up and serve to reach the land that is entrapped by the enemy.

5)   Led by the Spirit

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth

1 Corinthians 2:1-4 And I, when I came to you, brothers,[a] did not come proclaiming to you the testimony[b] of God with lofty speech or wisdom.For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

It is said that the spirit of God could leave many of our churches in America and they would function as normal. Is our church explainable other than the Spirit of God?

God was preparing Joshua when he became a spy and God prepared Joshua when he fought in battle, but with all his experience and faithfulness nothing could  be more crucial than staying in the word of God. Not to look to the left or the right at the other so called wisdom that comes from the world. He was to search the word of God and meditate on it.

We have churches that want to come up with systems of doing church work instead of praying and seeing what assignments God has for them. There is nothing wrong with systems but if God has not led your church to be like the church you are trying to duplicate then you are not going to see victory in your city.

Churches want to have business meetings instead of prayer meetings. Churches want to read church growth books instead of reading Gods word. Our job is to be humble servants to do what God is calling us to do and when He says go we go and when He says stay we stay.

As Christians we rely way too much on our own thinking.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

If Joshua leaned on his own understanding then he would not have led 3 million people through the Jordan River. Maybe one of the reasons you do not have courage is because you are relying on your own wisdom and strength. Some of the most courageous people are those who simply were doing the will of God. Many of them did not know they were even making an impact


What is your Jordan River? The Obstacle that if you looked at it humanly you could never do it. How has God called you to be a part of the  conquest of the Land? What areas are you to be obedient in?

“Is Prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”  Corrie Ten Boom

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