The Initiative of Joshua

“Joshua arose early in the morning and mustered the people and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.” Joshua 8:10

One of the themes in the book of Joshua is how much Israel’s victory in taking the land over the Jordan was dependent upon Joshua’s actions. I’m not saying that God suddenly took a step back and became a side character in Joshua. As is the case with every other book in the Bible, whether implicitly or explicitly, God is the main character who is driving all things. The observation is more in that the narrative of Joshua, from a syntactical perspective, hinges around actions Joshua takes. Frequently, the paragraph begins with Joshua did this, or Joshua stayed here, or Joshua got up early and then the rest of the story would follow. What I take from this is how great of a leader Joshua was and a significant element of his leadership. Joshua was a man who took initiative. Like his mentor Moses, Joshua didn’t wait for the people to do things and then follow along. The story never goes, “And the people got up early to prepare to fight the city of Ai, and Joshua was with them.” Joshua got up early, he drove the actions of the story by his own initiative. Although the point is subtle and the application is not some deep theological truth, it is very practical for those of us who are in ministry or leadership. It is often times easier to let things be, allow things to run their course, and stick around long enough to do our things and then move on. I know I fall into this trap often. But if we are wanting to exemplify strong biblical leadership, we can’t afford to be idle. We can’t afford to just sit back and let things happen all the time. We have to take initiative and take action. Even though it was God ultimately driving the Israelites into the land of Canaan and giving them victory, he accomplished his purposes through the strong leadership qualities of Joshua their leader. If God has given us the gift of leadership, or placed us in a position of significant influence, then we need to proactively lead.
Lord Jesus, remind us to be strong and courageous for you are with us. Help us to take initiative in leadership!
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One thought on “The Initiative of Joshua

  1. Tom Skinner once said, "He who thinks he leads and turns around to notice that no one is following is merely taking a walk." Joshua took the initiative to lead and his uncompromising devotion to God gave the children of Israel the inclination to follow.

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