They say it’s lonely at the top. And with the battles that Joshua had to fight – including, as we saw this week with Achan, within his own people – having to carry out God’s judgment, it would be easy to think that Joshua must have been a lonely leader.
It’s early days, being as we’re only 10 chapters in, but I honestly don’t think he would have been as lonely and perhaps isolated as Moses was (remember when Moses’ father-in-law counselled him to appoint assistants because he was spreading himself out too thin?). Joshua was a good apprentice; he learned well, and he learned to trust God in everything – even in what seemed like ridiculous orders (“March around the city… seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets”, for example, and “Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand”) and hard orders (“…totally destroyed…just as the Lord had commanded”). He did make mistakes – he was cocky and forgot to consult the Lord when he made a treaty with the Gibeonites – but he humbled himself, and was obedient. And he publicly testified about God’s power and faithfulness, and led his people in the reading of God’s Law.
Obviously I’m crushing on Joshua. But that’s not the real reason I’m recounting his character as a leader. Juxtapose Joshua with some of the world’s leaders today – the pompous and racist wannabe-President, the crass and murderous actual President, the world bully who refuses to respect borders – and my heart just breaks for the broken world we live in. “Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel” – I can only trust this for His people, that where there are leaders who are the opposite of Joshua, God is sovereign, and He says to us, too: “Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
On a much less serious note, here’s a world leader who won’t fill your heart with dread:
Photo courtesy Justin Trudeau/Twitter. And you must read this from The New Yorker 🙂