HGC is in a time of change and we are stepping out in faith to reach the next level—working to grow our team, to shift our operations from a “Do” model to an “Equip” model, and to reach out into new areas and organizations. As the leader of HGC, I have been seeking God’s wisdom and direction. There have been few times in my life where I have so diligently sought His heart on an issue. In this time, the story of Joshua and the people of God has been speaking to my heart.
As a leader bringing an organization through change, I wanted to share some of what I learned from Joshua 4 & 5.
The setting for this chapter is the nation of Israel has just had their faith stretched and answered in the crossing of the River Jordan (Joshua 4). Notice ironically the water doesn’t “pile up” or stop until they put their feet in the water. How many people want God to demonstrate his strength and provision without getting wet? After they initiatlly stepped out by faith, in the next chapter Joshua does three things with the nation to ensure they are ready to fulfill their destiny:
Joshua spiritually prepared his team
The first thing Joshua does is circumcise the men who had been born since leaving Egypt. In forty years, there were a lot as they had not kept current with the practice since leaving Egypt. Joshua was careful to ensure they were right with God. He wanted to ensure they continued to seek God first in their lives and ongoing be obedient.
Joshua and the Nation of Israel demonstrated faith in their calling beyond their immediate needs
Next, I find it interesting that the forty years of providing manna comes to an end just before they are to take their land. God had met their immediate needs for food for forty years because their faith was small. Now that they have crossed the river Jordan, they can eat from the Promised Land. They do and the manna stops. They were maturing and didn’t need God to care for them in the same way. It wasn’t that they had less faith, but actually their faith was growing. God didn’t need to “spoon feed” them through manna as He had done for the last almost forty years in the wilderness. Their faith was deeper than just the daily living (manna) kinds of things. Good thing, because their faith needed to be much stronger to fight greater battles, like Jericho which was about to come in the next chapter
Joshua led with courage and humility
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” Joshua 5.13-14
Lastly, when Joshua faced an intimidating Angel with a sword, Joshua stood tall and asked whether he was a friend or foe. That was courageous! The moment the Angel identifies himself as the commander of the Lord’s Army, Joshua falls on his face and submits. He was clearly humble before the Lord and His chosen. Then the Lord gave directions for the destruction of their first enemy in the Promised Land, Jericho. Joshua was courageous before the unknown, not knowing if it would result in an obstacle or an opportunity. Joshua was humble before God, immediately seeking His plan for Joshua and the people of Israel. I often find these two qualities are difficult to maintain together, humble before God and courageous before threats.
Is your team in a time of change too? Do you need to prepare your team? Is there manna you need to give up? Are you a humble leader? Do you have courage to face the opposition?