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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Essentials of a Godly Leader

Joshua 1:5-9 (ESV) 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The Hebrew people were about to take their Promised Land. Moses had just died. Joshua was the new Commander in Chief. He knew that he wasn't Moses. He must have thought that he might not be able to do what God wanted him to do. But he was appointed to do what God had given him. God gives us tasks bigger than our abilities so that we will do them in His strength. So, God reassures Joshua with the qualities which will make a godly leader successful.

1. The Presence of God. A godly leader should know he or she has the presence of God. This comes from seeking Him. This comes from His grace. This comes because the leader is obedient. All the other qualities depend upon God's presence and God's presence depends upon all the other qualities. You can't separate these qualities.

2. Strength and Courage. Naturally our first tendency is to claim that we do not have strength and courage but these are decisions that must be made. It takes more than knowing what God wants. His grace to do what He wants comes as we have taken the step to do it. We come to know Christ because we make a decision to identify fully with Jesus. The grace to do so comes as we make this commitment. The grace for Peter to speak at Pentecost came as Peter opened his mouth. The grace for Gideon to lead his people against oppression came as he tore down his own family's altars to false gods. Strength and courage are needed to start the step. This is why so many leaders fail. They want the grace to do something before they take the action to do it.

3. Complete Obedience to God. This seems like a given but many leaders do not give complete obedience. They disobey what God has already given to them. They fail in God's commandments. they fail in their full commitment to God with their money. They fail in fulfilling God's vision for themselves in selfishness. They think that the things unseen by others are just as if they have never been committed. They believe that people will assume they are doing what God wants if they have no other evidence.

4. Living in God's Word. Most leaders think this is the foremost of characteristics of a godly leader but God places it further down the list when He speaks to Joshua. There are so many leaders in churches who have advanced degrees from respected institutions who can parse ever verb and know ever nuance of meaning in the scriptures but are not godly leaders. They write books and sell out stadiums but their Christianity is no more than a marketing tool. They turn phrases but they have really done very little for the cause of Christ. Living in His Word is more than knowing it. It does not depart in all your decisions. It defines the day. It brings the believer in a closer walk with His Lord. It makes the believer.

5. Prosperity. That cannot be defined by mankind. I thought it interesting that it said, "you will make your way prosperous." It didn't say that God would do it. Many seem to think they can fail in all these other areas and still be prosperous but God indicates that this will not happen. While I would never want to take the credit for what God is doing I know that I must participate with Him or I will never be prosperous in what I do.

God says that by doing these things you will have success. Isn't that what the godly leader seeks?


Anonymous said...

I like everything you said.  Very well put, from the text concerning essentials of a godly leader. Especially, I agree with you about what the "prosperity" there, in the text, was saying; it is as you said, it is referencing an undertaking, and one be successful, or to finish well.  It is not talking about as a godly leader, God would bless you with material prosperity in the likes of money, and properties, fame or worldly reputation.  It got nothing to do with, if you are a godly leader, you will definitely be rich, materially or financially.

I also like the part you said about we are to work hand-in-hand with God; and so there is a part from us, even as there is the God's part. We have to commit and do, and God comes with His grace and aids, when the undertaking is bigger than what our natural endowment can handle.

The only change, I will make, is that I would delete the first line of the point 4.  As you have said in point 1, all the qualities are important, and cannot be separated; this living in His Word, is equally important.  The rest of the exposition for the point is fine, pointing out that it is not enough just to be with head knowledge.  In fact, as you have pointed out, as an on-going godly leader to be with the presence of God,  this living in His Word, is paramount.  Why would God be alongside you, if you are not living according to His prescription; one is not living according to God's prescription when he is not living in His Word; when it is not according to God's Word, then it is contrary to His Word.  When one does not live righteous and holy, he is living unrighteous or wickedly; would God's presence be expected with him in his evil or wicked living? No.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Prentis McGoldrick said...

I was not trying to make "living in the word" less. I was pointing out the place in God's list of challenges to Joshua. He did not place it first. I thought that this was significant even though it was not intended as a hierarchy. For example: gluing the legs on as you build a table is just as important as cutting the table top if you are building a table. However, the cutting the top must be done before gluing on the legs. Each is equally important but cannot be done in just any order.