We have the high and mighty in the areas that we live in that one would say that they practically own everything. When one looks at their portfolio, they will be amazed. We have people that own entities that would be equaled to a government establishment and yet they will still be seen to be looking for more. This is the world that we live in and the challenge is to get it before someone else does. This scenario would fit so well with the sixth chapter of the book of Joshua. The children of Israel are now ready to get in and conquer.
It was now “their time to eat”.
Having been prepared and celebrated a Passover meal for the first time, they felt that they truly belonged to a mighty God, I would imagine, and that all is well. This notwithstanding, they had some property to inherit and it was just a matter of time. God gives Joshua instructions (verses 2-5) and he relays the same to the children of Israel but in an interesting manner. He saw the finished results following the instructions but he gives the instructions in smidgens to the Israelites. But why?
Notwithstanding the fact that when God gives us freedom to do what we want, it would be important for it to be within the boundaries that have been set by God as it were. This is a good example of free will (for another discussion) in that God doesn’t have to muzzle us to do what He wants otherwise He becomes a dictator or in other words, He will have taken away our freedom to serve Him. In addition, on the other hand, Joshua knew his people and he was aware of the challenges that he would face if he were to tell them the whole itinerary beforehand. In other words, they had to trust him and obey his instructions because he was walking with God.
This trust of the man of God is something that has been challenged albeit unfairly from some quarters though in some cases it is necessary. When one walks as a leader and deviates from the written word of God while introducing “the other gospel” then such a challenge is definitely warranted. When the leader exalts himself above the others to a level that they cannot be dared then that is a problem. This trust of the people to the servant of God should be revered by the leader in that, the leader sits “in-trust” in the office of the servant of God. Therefore, all the decisions that he makes must be congruent to the will of God in all aspects of his leadership.
So, when Joshua chooses not to tell the whole program to the Israelites it is all in order as long as he walks with Yahweh. We see him working well with the priests and the congregation to see to it that the promise of God is fulfilled. Scriptures reveal something that is very important to us today. Joshua spoke to the priests and the people before hand and when the time came to move, they instructions were obeyed without murmuring! There were no complaints or diverse opinions because the people involved were “looped in” the plan of God. They were involved from the beginning and the expectations were made clear even though not much detail was given.
In his quest to keep to the instructions of God, we see Joshua focusing on the main agenda of the mission. The idea was to get in, finish the task all the while not touching the things that were to be devoted to God (verse 18-19). The things that were for God were not to be coveted or taken in as personal trophies from the war front. They were to be honored. This is a big thing for all leaders as they seek to lead the people of God. This is because, wherever there are people of God, there are God’s things. This includes and involves everything that comes in and with God’s name. There is a danger of the leader to believe that they can indulge in God’s affairs just because they are “called” or the titles that they have been offered by religious institution. Many times, the general populace may not be aware of the things confided in confidence but God does and a mortal can never lower His bar. The leader fears God so much so that he cannot purport to talk on His behalf when He hasn’t instructed.
Joshua demonstrates his love to God’s people and the trust that he had on them, which includes those he gave responsibility, never changed. He held them with utmost respect and honored their work as well. When the spies came back, they informed him of the Canaanite woman and Joshua never ignored the promise that they made to her. He knew what kind of a woman she was, a prostitute. He kept their word just as if it was his word. This is a gesture that leaders would want to take home. If those that serve under a leader are faithful to the course, or vision, then there should be some respect and honor to cover them as his own representatives. This does not only maintain them but also encourages the rest of the people to accept and follow the leader. If one would know that their leader will not despise them, they will remain faithful and would seek to protect the mission of the entire team. This principle God honors as well.
When they had finished their work and were about to leave the rubbles of Jericho, Joshua pronounces a curse! This we see in verse 26, “Cursed is anyone before Yahweh who gets up and builds Jericho, this city. At the cost of his firstborn he will lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.” God Himself honored this simple pronouncement!
Now, how’s that?
God remains faithful to His chosen servants/leaders when they remain faithful to Him. Many times, they fall but His grace carries them forward to His will only if the leaders learns to repent and to seek Him. The words spoken under His authority will not be in vain. Now, can this be abused? Yes. But the most important thing here is that God honors His servants and His presence always remains with them.
May we walk in His presence being ever faithful.