In the book of Numbers, we read that the Lord spoke to Moses and asked him to send spies to search the land of Canaan. Joshua and Caleb were the only two spies that believed God would help them take the promised land. We see early on, these two displayed leadership that was driven by faith in God. They were not intimidated by the giants, but rather, all the more motivated to conquer this land and possess the abundance it produced. Instead of focusing on the enemy, they focused on the promise of God, and wanted Israel to one day partake of the milk and honey that so richly flowed.
As we fast forward many years, we find that Joshua leads the nation of Israel across the Jordan, conquering, then dividing, the promised land. Throughout the conquest and division of this land, Joshua urged the Israelites to continue to follow the Lord, and worship Him only. By chapters 23-24 in the book of Joshua, we find him near the end of his life, gathering all the tribes together, to tell them what the Lord had said.
The most important thing that Joshua did over the course of his life, was to make up his mind. It was about the decisions he made! Even though he was a concerned leader for Israel, he knew first and foremost that he and his family must live for God, and keep their faith in Him alone. He challenged Israel to make this decision… but regardless of their choice, his mind was made up on what he and his family would do!
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” — Joshua 24:15
As fathers, leaders, friends and family, often times we want to help others, but we can’t due to fear of the situation, or what if I offend them with my advice or personal beliefs. Joshua was a great father, and leader for Israel because he didn’t let that kind of thinking distract him. Just as the Israelites were on again, off again, when it came to serving the Lord, so do we get caught up in the ebb and flow of life and our convictions go with it. We can’t base our decisions, or the future of our family, on what society now deems acceptable. We must lead under the direction of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is he who has reconciled us to the Father… God, our Creator.
Whether you’re a father, guardian, or just a concerned family member or friend reading this today, please know, you can be a great help to those around you! In taking a definite stand for the Lord, Joshua displayed spiritual leadership. We too can be an example of living by that decision. It’s starts with making up our minds! We have to make the decision to follow Jesus!
Your job, financial situation, family name, or education, is not the deciding factor in whether or not you are a good father or family leader, but it is what you do with these things… the decisions you make, and the commitment to see it through. It’s about who you follow, and the choices others see you make, that has the greatest impact on our loved ones. Do they see someone determined to follow Jesus?
I leave you with a quote from Jim Wideman… “Be someone worth following!”
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.