Joshua had been through extensive preparation to become Moses’ successor. He was a recognized leader in his tribe, the general of the army, and an aide-de-camp to Moses for a number of years. But his most important leadership qualification: He was called by God.
As the story of his leadership opens in the first chapter of the Book of Joshua, God gives four requirements for Joshua (and you and me) to be effective in our leadership roles.
1. Be yourself. God didn’t say, “Be like Moses.” In fact, the only time God talks about Moses to Joshua is to reassure him, “I will be with you like I was with Moses.” But never once does God uses a “Moses Grading Scale” for Joshua. God simply says, “You will lead these people.”
2. Have an objective measuring stick. Feelings may change, but God’s Word never does. So God counsels Joshua to always rely on the Book of the Law.
3. Guard your thoughts. Leaders have so many people “in their ear” wanting to lobby for their way. So God tells Joshua to not only read the Bible but meditate on it as well. One definition of meditation is to hum God’s Word. In other words, humming God’s Word will help a leader know which lobbying voice is in harmony with God’s Voice, and which lobbying voice is off-key.
4. Guard your attitude. God repeats this to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Even doing everything they are supposed to be doing, leaders can become afraid to make a change, or discouraged because people aren’t following along. These feelings must be driven out with one firm declaration: “I know the Lord has called to this leadership position, so I know the Lord is with me. He will enable me to complete what He has called me to do.”
God’s direction to Joshua is still great counsel for leaders today.