My devotional reading this week took me from Deuteronomy to Joshua. In Deuteronomy, the Lord’s national leader was Moses. He was a great man by any measurement (unless one uses evil as the measuring stick!), but he was a man who chaffed on occasion at people because of their continued resistance to the Lord’s way. Of course, not all of the people of Israel were guilty of such, but those relatively few that were guilty….they made life difficult.
Leadership is tough.
Joshua was Moses’ personal assistant, and it was Joshua the Lord called to follow the path of Moses in leadership. Think for a moment the daunting challenge Joshua had in following Moses. Leadership is tough, but following a great leader like Moses makes that “tough” a double dose!
Joshua learned a great deal from Moses, but no amount of observant learning gained is going to be as beneficial to a person as the amount of learning gained while in position! This is just the way it is. Learning by observation is great, but learning by personal experience is greater. Any leader who takes seriously the idea of leadership will say as much.
For Joshua, the key to a successful leadership work was the standard applied in the exercise of that leadership. He learned this from Moses, and he gained this from a firsthand account with the Lord. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8, ESV).
In a New Testament context, the elders of the local church must be men of sound spiritual characteristics, for without that the effectiveness of their leadership, from the Lord’s perspective is lost. In addition to this, they must be men of the book, that is, they must know the holy will of God, allowing no other teaching but His. RT