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Loyal Leaders And Faithful Followers

Joshua 1:10-18

There was this guy name George. He was 28 years old, single, and still living with his parents. One Sunday morning, George told his mother he wasn’t going to church. "First," he said, "I’m tired. Second, the people there don’t like me. And third, the sermons are dull." But George’s mother wouldn’t take no for an answer. "George," she said, "you have to go. First, we always worship on Sunday. Second, it doesn’t matter whether they like us or not. And third, you are the pastor!" God has always had some rather reluctant leaders. Moses didn’t want the job and flat out told God to "find somebody else." Jeremiah thought he was too young. Jonah didn’t like being a prophet to Nineveh and went to great lengths and depths to avoid being a leader. David was willing to wait on God to remove Saul before he took the place of leadership in Israel.

Reluctant leaders are often the best leaders. It’s those who are power hungry and eager to assert their authority that often do more harm than good. What I have observed is that there are more reluctant leaders in the church than there are those who are hungry for power and authority. In fact, some of you may be sitting here this morning thinking, "If he’s going to be talking about leadership, then I may as well take a nap, because he’s not talking to me. I’m certainly not a leader."

How many of you here are shepherds?

How many of you are Bible class teachers?

How many of you are ministry leaders?

How many are small group leaders?

How many of you have positions of leadership where you work?

How many fathers? How many mothers? How many husbands?

How many of you have a leadership position at school?

How many of you have younger brothers or sisters?

How many of you have ever invited someone to worship?

How many of you have ever prayed with someone?

How many of you try to let your light shine by being a good influence to others?

There is a very good likelihood that you will someday be in one of those positions. We are all leaders in one arena or another, whether CEOs of corporations or parents of small families. We all need to know the biblical principles of leadership and authority. Joshua offers us a model of Godly, biblical leadership.


This is the major difference between worldly leadership styles and Godly leadership. Godly leadership requires a growing, developing, daily relationship with God. The world only knows how to lead and manage from a worldly perspective. The godly leader is able to see beyond the physical world of spreadsheets, statistics and management theories, to the spiritual world that influences everything around us. God had made it clear to Joshua that to be successful Joshua had to stay in touch with his leader. Verses 7 & 8 emphasizes that every leader needs to know God’s word and obey God’s will. The key is understanding that, even though you lead others, God is leading you. Just as others submit to your authority, you submit to God's authority. After Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount the people were astonished because he taught as one who had authority. Yet about himself Jesus said, "…the son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does" (John 5:19). It doesn’t matter how large or small the leadership role may be we cannot overlook our relationship with God. Why is it so important that a leader stays in touch with God? Whether a man likes it or not; if he’s in a place of leadership he will be influencing others.

He has no right just to consider himself.

He must think in terms of his influence.

This is part of the price of leadership!

Not just the man himself but what happens to those who follow in his footsteps is the serious responsibility of the leader…." This kind of responsibility demands that the leader stay in touch with his leader. THE SECOND QUALITY OF A SUCCESSFUL LEADER IS THAT HE IS WILLING TO TAKE TOUGH STANDS.

(Read Joshua 1:10-11)

Because Joshua had been with God he knew what the people needed to do, and he didn’t hesitate to give the commands. Under Moses’ leadership the people had delayed and hesitated about entering the Promised Land because of their fear and unbelief. Joshua knew that for his generation it was now or never. "But wait a minute, Joshua. Don’t you need to think this over? Surely you’re not going to make such a crucial decision so quickly?" Israel had spent 40 years preparing for this moment. There was no time to waste. It was now or never. Every leader must face the time when he must make a decision that will be unpopular.

A man who was with Eisenhower in the days prior to the Normandy invasion, while Eisenhower was deliberating what to do, paints a dramatic picture. England’s General Montgomery was urging Eisenhower not to invade; other generals were advising the opposite. Eisenhower never said a word. He paced back-and-forth in the room while all eyes were upon him. The fate of the whole war was in his hands; perhaps the fate of the entire world. Finally Eisenhower stopped his pacing, turned to the Generals and spoke: "All right," he said, "I have made a decision. Here is what we will do." He could not have been entirely sure that he was right, but he certainly could not convey any sense of doubt either. He gave an impressive example of a leader who is willing to take a tough stand.

To be completely candid I must be honest and tell you that being a leader isn’t as glamorous as we may think. There are some painful aspects of leadership. Criticism, Fatigue, Loneliness, Rejection and more. Every normal, well-adjusted person wants to be liked, but a leader will not always be liked. And behind any worthwhile accomplishment there is a price to be paid. Any successful leader must be willing to take the tough stands and pay the price.


Joshua did this by working through his chain of command.

Notice vs. 10


This is more than a slogan. Joshua had a three-point plan of action. Listen to vs. 11 (read).

He commands them to do three things: prepare, cross over, and possess. What was it that made Joshua successful as leader while Moses struggled in the same position? Does successful leadership require successful followership? Do the attitudes of the followers have an influence on the success or failure of their leader? I believe the reasons for Joshua’s success as Israel’s leader is seen in these verses from Joshua 1. Just as we need to examine our leadership skills, we also need to examine our followership skills, too.


Look at vs. 12-15 (read)

This bit of Israel’s history is a testimony against selfishness. It’s a statement of what it means to be the family of God. There’s no room for selfishness in the kingdom of God. We are a family. Within the family those who are rich share with those who are poor. We’re called to provide for the needs of the widows and orphans. Our responsibility to each other and to each other’s needs is never fulfilled. As Paul put it, "Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another."


Listen to how the people respond to Joshua in vs. 16-18. (read)

The unity of the church is the most powerful force against Satan’s army. The disunity of the church is Satan’s most precious ally. One man described the effect of a united church with these words: "Such organization would present the most formidable front to the enemy. Every man in his place, every man moving at the same word of command, every man living for the common good; let that program be carried out, and no power can withstand the united influence of Christ’s believers." Every church that’s torn apart by disunity and disorder, by pride and selfishness, Satan stands and laughs at their fruitless efforts. Every family where there is division between husband and wife, between parents and children, Satan dances with joy. But every church that stands united in love by the power of God’s Spirit, who are made one by their selfless concern for each other’s needs, Satan is unable to stop them from marching on to victory. Every family where each member is respected and cherished, where love is freely given and freely received, Satan stands silent. Successful followers listen to their God-given leaders plan of action. They trust them because they know that they’re in touch with God. Then they become united in the pursuit of a common goal.

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