Joshua had big shoes to fill. Taking over after the death of Moses was a daunting task. In addition to the many roles Moses had filled, Joshua would have the added responsibility of leading the army of Israel against its many foes as they entered Canaan.
No wonder God told Joshua to be strong and courageous many times. As Joshua attempted to lead the Israeli people (which Moses learned was no small task), he would need strength and courage. As he faced countless enemies on the battlefield, Joshua would also need to be strong and courageous. Yet there was one more area in which Joshua would need the strength and courage provided by the Lord if he was to succeed. In fact, it was the most important area.
Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. (Joshua 1:7, HCSB)
The Lord’s message to Joshua was pretty clear – above all else – have the courage and strength to obey my instructions. Joshua’s top priority – even ahead of leading the people or fighting the enemy – was to follow God.
You see, the best leaders are also the best followers. They realize that to effectively lead others they need the Lord to lead them. “Lord, lead me so that I can lead others.” Sounds easy on paper, but sometimes following the Lord’s instruction is anything but easy. And that is why God told Joshua he must have the strength and courage to do so. It takes strength to say “no” to ourselves and “yes” to God. It takes courage to follow God when the rest of the world is going its own way. Yet God says “above all” obey Me.
Have you made it your “Above All” priority to carefully follow God’s instructions? Ask Him today for the strength and courage you need to do so. –Dave
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