Lead Men by the Book

Issue: What does it take to be a leader?

Challenge: Remember that God wants to be the leader of your men’s ministry, but He wants to do it through you.

As a leader, you must have a dynamic relationship with the Lord. You also need to be aware of your spiritual gifts, your strengths and your weaknesses. The first chapter of Joshua provides guidelines for and the qualities of God’s leaders.


As the Israelites were preparing to enter the Promised Land, the Lord gave Joshua some very specific instructions:

  • “I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses” (v2-4). The Lord has a grand plan for you. It may be beyond your comprehension. Nonetheless He has a plan!
  • “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (v5). God promises that He will be there for you. Do you fully understand that the Lord will be with you or do you feel you are fighting the battle alone?
  • “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go“(v7). The Lord lays out the secret to success in leading a ministry – obedience. God’s instructions focus on the heart (spiritual preparation) and not on swords and shields.

 Joshua then called the Reubenites, Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh aside and asked them to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Twice during this dialog Joshua uses the word rest. First, to describe the state of the two and one-half tribes who were being given rest because they had already entered the Promised Land. He uses the word a second time to describe the future state of those who had yet to enter the Promised Land.

Rest is a common theme in the Bible and is defined as a state of inner peace or security. The Hebrew word for rest is noah. It means the guaranteed continuance of eschatological bliss. Noah is an instrument of deliverance; a place to settle down, a home; connotes rest and salvation (TWOT #1323, Vol II, pg 562-3). It is the Lord who gives rest (Joshua 1:15). Note that the giving of rest is a continuing process, not a one time event.

The Rubenites, Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh were already being given rest. Therefore, the dialog between Joshua and these men provides insight into the qualities of those who lead their brothers into rest or the Promised Land.

Be Accountable (v12-13)
But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: ‘The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.”

And Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to. ( 1 Corinthians 7:24)  Those to whom God is giving rest he holds accountable.

Be a Guide (Go Ahead) (v14)
Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers.

Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:25-26). Those to whom God is giving rest he commands to lead.

Be Team Players (v14)
Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:16). Those to whom God is giving rest he commands to be a part of the team.

Be Persistent (v15)
… until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:7) 

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have (2 Corin-thians 8:11-12). Those to whom God is giving rest he commands to be persistent.

Be Willing (v16)
Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have (2 Corin-thians 8:11-12). Those to whom God is giving rest need to be willing.

Be Obedient (v18)
Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses.

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else (2 Corinthians 9:13). Those to whom God is giving rest are to obey their leaders.

Be Encouragers (v17-18)
Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). Those to whom God is giving rest he calls to be encouragers.

Be Guards (v18)
Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!

Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! (Acts 20:30-31). Those to whom God is giving rest are to be guardians of truth.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
(1 Corinthians 16:13)

Being on guard as the leaders of men means continually going deeper in your walk with the Lord!

 

Go to top