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Joshua | Leading through Courage and Obedience

The best aren’t the best because they are perfect; the best are the best because they are consistent. The best of the best consistently do the things they have to do to be successful. They are consistent in doing the small things, they are consistent in overcoming fear, they are consistent in seeking guidance, and they are consistent in taking what they have learned and applying it.

If you want to be the best you can be, figure out the small things that you need to do consistently and find people who can help you learn how to execute those things. Put yourself in environments that will both push you and support you, and work every day to get better and better.

Joshua, the man who took over for Moses when he passed away, embodied many of these characteristics.

Generations earlier, God promised Abraham to bless him and all his descendants. God promised to Abraham and his descendants a specific land often called Canaan or the Promised Land, and this land would be their everlasting possession (Genesis 17:8)

Moses led Abraham’s people - the Hebrew Israelites - out of Egyptian slavery and to freedom, but because of a poor decision he made on their journey, God did not let Moses lead the people into the Promised Land.

Joshua was the one to do this.

Joshua was born as a slave in Egypt, but he became a personal assistant of Moses, a military commander, and eventually the leader of the Israelites. There are two specific lessons about Joshua’s life that I think we can all learn from.


In Numbers 13, God told Moses to send 12 spies to Canaan, the land God promised to Moses and the Israelites. The Israelites had just crossed the Red Sea and they had to take the land from the people who were already there. Moses told the spies to see how many people lived in the land and to see if they were strong or weak. He told them to see if the land was good or bad, if their cities had protective walls around them, if their soil was rich or poor if the land had trees, and to try to bring back some fruit from the land.

40 days later, the spies brought back good fruit and told him the land was flowing with milk and honey. Caleb, one of the spies, said, “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it,” but the other spies were afraid and didn’t think they could defeat the people in the land, so they started spreading lies about it, saying, “The land we explored is one that devours those who live there. All the people we saw there were very tall. We saw Nephilim there. (The descendants of Anak are Nephilim.) We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that’s how we must have looked to them.”

The only two spies who weren’t afraid were Caleb and Joshua. They said to everyone, “The land we explored is one that devours those who live there. All the people we saw there were very tall. We saw Nephilim there. (The descendants of Anak are Nephilim.) We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that’s how we must have looked to them.”

Because of this fear and non-belief, God said in Numbers 14, “None of the people who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I did in Egypt and in the desert will see the land which I promised their ancestors. They have tested me now ten times and refused to obey me. None of those who treat me with contempt will see it! But because my servant Caleb has a different attitude and has wholeheartedly followed me, I’ll bring him to the land he already explored. His descendants will possess it.”

Because of his courage, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones from this generation who were able to go into the Promised Land.

No matter what is going on around us, we have to have faith and courage in God. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to do what we need to do afraid. When we have faith and courage in God, we know that He will give us what we need to be successful and defeat our enemies.

When Moses died, God said to Joshua:

“My servant Moses is dead. Now you and all these people must cross the Jordan River into the land that I am going to give the people of Israel. I will give you every place on which you set foot, as I promised Moses. Your borders will be the desert on the south, nearby Lebanon to the Euphrates River (the country of the Hittites) on the north, and the Mediterranean Sea on the west. No one will be able to oppose you successfully as long as you live. I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will never neglect you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, because you will help these people take possession of the land I swore to give their ancestors.

Only be strong and very courageous, faithfully doing everything in the teachings that my servant Moses commanded you. Don’t turn away from them. Then you will succeed wherever you go. Never stop reciting these teachings. You must think about them night and day so that you will faithfully do everything written in them. Only then will you prosper and succeed.

I have commanded you, ‘Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’”

Three times, God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. For us to live the lives we want to live, we have to be strong and courageous.


Like all of us, throughout his journey, Joshua had to face many challenges, and each one was a test of his faith. Our second lesson was Joshua did not rely on his own strength or knowledge, but he sought God’s guidance and listened intently to God’s instructions, even when they didn’t make a lot of sense. Two examples are when God told the Israelites to walk to across the Jordan River during a flood in Joshua 3, and when He told them to march around Jericho for 7 days (Joshua 6). Before entering the Promised Land in Joshua 5, after being defeated at Ai in Joshua 7, and before the Battle of Gibeon in Joshua 10, Joshua also petitioned to God for direction.

Joshua’s life and leadership teach us that it is not about our capabilities, but about our willingness and ability to seek and surrender to God’s leadership.

The beauty of God’s leadership is that we can seek it for the big things and small things. I pray to God every morning before I get out of bed. I ask God to bless me so that I can be a blessing to others, I pray that each day will be a great day and that I can bring positive energy and enthusiasm, and I pray that God helps me make the world around me a better place.

When I face things throughout the day, I talk to God about them and I listen for His guidance. I might ask for peace when I feel anxious, confidence when I need fear, direction when I need guidance, or positive energy when I feel negative.

When I make mistakes, I pray to God for understanding or for guidance on what I could have done better.

Despite being born a slave, Joshua was able to lead an entire nation. He was able to do so with God’s blessing because he sought after it in everything he did, and he lived with courage.


1 - How do you have courage when nobody around you does? How do you have courage when you have to face a tough opponent, you have a big project due, or you have to present or speak publicly?

2 - What is an area in which you wish you had more courage?

3 - What can you ask God for that could give you more courage? Should you ask Him for more courage, more guidance, or more peace?

For a printable PDF of this post, click here: Joshua | Leading through Courage and Obedience

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