“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night.” —Joshua 1:8a, emphasis added
Joshua’s hectic schedule and constant life on the road, heading to and from battles, never stopped him from spending time with the Lord twice daily. How did General Joshua Ben-Nun keep this up when he became a career military and political leader?
Joshua started a lifelong habit when he was a young man: … [Moses’] … servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle (Exodus 33:11). What was that habit? He loved to spend time at the Tent of Meeting (similar to church and Sunday school), which was the representation of God’s presence. In today’s vernacular, you could say that Joshua formed a habit in his youth of hanging around church and the fellowship of God’s saints. He was different from the typical young person of today. He did not hang around with the crowd; he preferred to hang around with his Creator, the Lord God of the universe. When he was older, the habit of investing time for God to the exclusion of other activities never left him.
Joshua obeyed God’s command: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it …” (Joshua 1:8a). Having made a habit as a young man to love God’s presence, he immediately followed the Lord’s command when He said, “I want you to let My Word be in you so full that it overflows!” In other words, Joshua obediently cultivated the Word-filled life by meditating upon and loving God’s Word.
Joshua stayed with it to the end: “… Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve …. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, emphasis added). Do you know why Joshua could make such a majestic statement—one that we love to hang on our walls? Because, in his youth, he purposed that he would always love God and linger in His presence, even to the neglect of the crowd. He continually kept God’s Word in his heart and mind, and that is why he could stay with it to the end. Thus, no matter what any other family did, Joshua and his family determined to stay faithful to the Lord.
Whom do you serve? Ask yourself these questions: Am I lingering in God’s presence? Am I writing His Word on my heart so that I don’t fear? Am I committed to saying, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”?
The most powerful form of leadership is not the leadership of position: I am the manager. It is not the leadership of expertise: I know more than everybody else. It is the leadership that is impossible to be challenged: the leadership of character, living a life that people want to follow. That is what Joshua had.
Are God’s words stuck to your heart, your mind, your mouth? That is what the Lord wants. Then you can lead your family God’s way. Fearful times are coming, but don’t get swept up by the spirit of fear all around us because fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7)! So remember to meditate upon the promises the Lord has made!
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