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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Leadership (Not So) Secret

Years ago I memorized Joshua 1:8.  It was part of the Navigator TMS.  I have reviewed the verse and used it in conversation with believers multiple times.  Joshua 1 was in my reading project a couple of days ago and I saw something there that I had never seen before.  Read the first chapter; look for repetition.
A Leadership (Not So) Secret
Here is what I saw:
Verse Phrase
6 Be strong and courageous
7 be strong and very courageous
7 be careful to do according to all the law…
8 be careful to do according to all that is written in it…
9 Be strong and courageous
18 be strong and courageous
Four times Joshua is exhorted to be strong and courageous.  The first three by the Lord, the last by the people of Israel.

Between the second and third exhortations the Lord commands Joshua to be careful to obey the Word of God, twice.  In Hebrew – well actually, in the Bible – repetition is emphasis.  Here it is strong.

In the midst of four exhortations to be strong and courageous Joshua is commanded to be careful to obey the Word of God.  Think of the context.  Joshua is taking over the leadership of Israel from Moses.  He is about to lead the nation in battle to take the land that God has promised Israel.

The advice, the key for Joshua is to obey the Word of God.  Immediate application, if we are going to lead as a believer, we have to be continually – the book not departing from our mouth continually – in the Word of God.

It is instructive to me that this command is surrounded by the exhortation to be strong and courageous.  It is my experience in the past 40 years of being engaged in ministries of various types, that a leader’s being in the Word is continually under attack.  It takes dogged determination in the face of multiple assaults for one to remain in and obey the Word of God.

There are pressures, many pressures not to do so.  Pressures of time, pressures of others expectations, pressures of the culture telling you that the Word is no longer relevant, pressures of “Christians” telling you that the Word is no longer relevant, pressures to cut corners in your study in order to do “your job.”

This is not a trivial exhortation that God is giving Joshua.  We do well to take note.  If it is the case that we are to lead and we are not doggedly determined to be in and obey the Word, then what may I ask are we doing that is more important?  What is it that one could share from their own thoughts that would be better than the Word of God?  If I am engaged in ministry with or to someone and the Bible is not central in that interaction, what in the heck am I talking about?

Sadly, I know and have observed those who are in ministry who perhaps have not read this passage lately.  Pray for your leaders.  Pray that they would take this command to heart.

1 comment:

  1. Such a relevant and wise exhortation, Mike. I think of the men who have had an impact in my life, and they were (and most still are) saturated with the Word of God. Skip, his wife Buzzie and oldest son Ken talked to a group of us older staff who were either care givers or had significant loss in our lives. Skip has advanced Parkinson's Disease and is limited in many ways - but not in his ability to quote from memory and give the reference of an appropriate passage to the conversation. In fact they were talking about promises they had prayed for their children through the years, and Ken was there to give authenticity to what they said. Any of us who knew the family through the through the years knew this.

    There are others I have known who impacted my life who are no longer walking with God. They stepped away from the Word of God through disobedience in tragic ways.

    I've said it before, Mike. From the time I met you I saw an unusual passion in you to know God through His word. I'm so thankful you have not slackened but only pressed harder into that passion and are living it out. Hang in there and don't let up!

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