Joshua has just assumed the presidency of Israel and is now their commander-in-chief. Political leadership is not easy and God tells Joshua four things he must remember to govern well.
As Joshua enters the gateway of great power and great responsibility, God tells Joshua, “I am with you. I will not abandon you. I will not leave you alone” (Joshua 1:5). God lovingly reminds Joshua repeatedly that He is with Joshua. Now, Joshua needs to remember God is with him and lean on God at every step. If Joshua does not recognize God’s presence and depend on God, he will rely on his strength, and his fears and human value systems will govern his decisions.
Secondly, God tells Joshua to be “strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:6). The Hebrew meaning for these words is to hold firm and to be strengthened by trusting God. Joshua will lead with godly conviction and moral courage only when he holds on to the Lord. If he is not holding on to the Lord, he will soon hold on to moral and ethical values that are not godly.
Thirdly, God tells Joshua, “Follow me. Listen to me. Don’t go away from me even if it feels like a small digression” (Joshua 1:7). Joshua will be able to follow God only by knowing the word of God (Joshua 1:8). Joshua has to choose to memorize, study, and apply God’s word.
Finally, God tells Joshua not to be afraid and not to panic. The Hebrew word used for panic is chathath. It means to be shattered and broken into pieces. Joshua as a leader, will face numerous difficulties, including life and death situations. He needs to take care of his emotional and spiritual health. If he is emotionally and spiritually weak, he will be shattered or broken into pieces when he leads the people through challenging national crises.
If our political leaders and church pastors who follow Jesus Christ will listen to these four leadership lessons Joshua received from the Lord, then our world will be a better place, and the church will be the light that draws people to Jesus Christ.