The Israelites weren’t an easy people to lead. They had a reputation for complaining, thanklessness, and insubordination. As Moses’ right hand man, Joshua saw first hand the struggles Moses had trying to lead this stubborn group of people. Those struggles couldn’t have been far from his mind on the day he took Moses’ place as leader.
In Joshua 1, God commissions Joshua as the new leader. Joshua was probably feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of leading this huge group of temperamental people into an unknown land. God, ever aware of our insecurities, told Joshua, “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” (v. 5)
God not only encouraged Joshua that He would be with Him, but He also gave Joshua a formula for success: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (v. 8)
Sounds pretty simple, right? Be faithful to God’s Word; meditate on it morning and night; learn everything it says; do everything it says. Okay, maybe not so simple, but it is at least straightforward.
God encouraged Joshua as a leader and equipped him for success as a leader. He didn’t just say, “Okay, I’m giving you this important job. I’m rooting for you. Good luck!” He gave Joshua the means to be successful at his task: devotion to God’s Word, frequent meditation on it, and obedience to it.
The same formula God gave Joshua is still effective for us today. God doesn’t call you to His work and turn you loose without any direction. He equips you through His Word. If you’re struggling with how to be more tuned in to what God wants you to do, get in His Word! That’s where the answers are.
Joshua accomplished great things during his time as leader. He defeated 31 kings during Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land. He allotted portions of the land to each of the tribes (something they had been waiting for for years). But most importantly, he was obedient to the Lord. Joshua 24:31 recounts his most meaningful legacy: “Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the LORD did for Israel.”
God does not give direction in vain. He gave Joshua a strategy for success, and Joshua’s life is a testimony to his obedience to that strategy. If you desire success that pleases the Lord, follow His directions. They work.