Would we exhibit the faith of Joshua?

By REV. JAN CAMPBELL Peace Lutheran Church

Joshua 6:1-7

Now Jericho was shut up inside and out because of the Israelites; no one came out and no one went in.

The Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have handed Jericho over to you, along with its king and soldiers. You shall march around the city, all the warriors circling the city once. Thus you shall do for six days, with seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, the priests blowing the trumpets. When they make a long blast with the ram's horn, as soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and all the people shall charge straight ahead."

So Joshua, son of Nun, summoned the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant, and have seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark of the Lord."

To the people he said, "Go forward and march around the city; have the armed men pass on before the ark of the Lord."

Let's look at Joshua's style of leadership. It's very direct, isn't it? He gets his plan of action from the Lord. The Lord does not consult with Joshua to get his opinion about how the battle ought to be waged. Likewise, Joshua does not confer with those under him to get their opinions. No negotiation takes place.

Joshua might well have questioned the Lord's battle plan. After all, no one had ever heard of bringing down a city in this way before. But he trusted that the Lord knew what he was doing. Evidently, the soldiers under Joshua trusted him, as their commander, to know what he was doing, as well.

There are good points and bad points about a leadership style like this. On the positive side, no one would have had any question about what they were to do. The instructions were clear. Joshua's decisiveness and authority helped everyone to believe in the plan and to act as one. On the down side, there was no room for dissent, no room for "personal opinions." There was no negotiating to be done. There was no concern for personal feelings.

Ordinarily we might balk at such direct leadership. We certainly do not use it under all circumstances. But when the task at hand is a matter of life and death, this is likely the desired leadership style.

Are you prepared to speak authoritatively when you know that is what God would have you do?

I pray that you are, and that you would.

Grace and peace.

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2009-07-02 digital edition

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