Summary: This sermon is designed to encourage any leader who has assumed a new leadership role.
A New Leader for a New Time (Joshua 1:1-6)
It’s never easy following anyone who has established him or herself as a proven leader. Whether this has taken place in the workplace, in athletics, or even the church, the same remains true. While it is a given that no two people are alike and no one should
expect another person following a former leader to act in the same way, it is a human tendency for humanity to compare and contrast.
Think back to a time when a transition took place and you had the opportunity to be a part of this transition. Do you ever recall saying to yourself or someone else, “He or she is all right, but they still don’t compare to the former leader.” Or, what about, “I really wish our old leader was around because he or she would know how to deal with this
Such could have been the case with Joshua, Moses’ successor. Here he was a newcomer on the scene and now was being challenged to assume a significant
leadership role for God. Obviously Joshua had some knowledge of what his predecessor had done because he actually served with him prior to his death. He knew of his great accomplishments and was well aware of the things that had transpired under his leadership.
Now, here he was faced with carrying out a God sanctioned vision. God in God’s infinite wisdom sought to bring to pass what God desired under Joshua’s
leadership. I am sure he had some misgivings about this new role he was about to assume.
I would not be surprised if he did not have some reluctance or misgivings about taking on such a great responsibility. Even if that was the case, who could really blame him? He really had some big shoes to fill. Following Moses, how in the world could he even fathom such a great responsibility? Like it or not, he had to assume this role.
So, with his predecessor now deceased, Joshua is tasked with a heavy responsibility. God whose fully aware of all of our thoughts and actions, is shown here acting as a cheerleader or encourager for Joshua. Reminding Joshua that Moses was no longer on the scene, he is now being tasked with carrying out the responsibilities that God has in mind for God’s people.
Although God could see beyond all of the things that came up for Joshua while this proposition was being made to him, God also knew it would take
more than just a directive to convince Joshua that he would be able to complete the assigned tasks.
Given the fact that these were not easy tasks but necessary things that had to take place, God is being very specific when it comes to letting Joshua know what needs to happen. God lets Joshua know that he and the people he will lead must cross the Jordan
River before they will be able to inhabit the land they are being promised. It required some
action on their part in order to get to where God wanted them to be.
How many of us today are willing to take action and do something challenging or even unsettling if God directs you to do it today? Just as Joshua had a task to complete, all persons of faith also have a task to complete and we can be assured that the same
God that was with Joshua, still exists to assist us today.
Not only did Joshua and those he were to lead tasked with crossing the Jordan River, but they also had to enter some uncharted territory.
Have you ever started out on a new job and were not really familiar with what you were doing but knew that if you were to remain at that job you would have to step out on faith and give your all to the task or tasks that you were assigned? This had to be the case with Joshua. Even if he felt uneasy about this proposition that God had placed before him, he would have to rely on his faith to carry him through.
Not only did he have faith to venture out on this endeavor but he also had some solid assurances behind him. God told him that just as God was with Moses his predecessor, God would be with him. God even stated something that had to be reassuring to him. God told Joshua that he would be there for him. Notice verse 5 of Joshua 1, “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
And then God gives him something else that we as people of faith need from time to time. God simply says to him, “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.” (Joshua 1:6).