Daily Devotional (6/27/2012) – “Judges”: ‘The Courage To Lead… From Joshua to Gideon’

June 28, 2012

“Judges” Devotional #6

‘The Courage To Lead… From Joshua to Gideon’

Scriptures:   Deuteronomy 31: 1-8, 23, Joshua 1: 5-9, 16-18

Judges 6: 12-17, 23-27, 34

In these devotionals, I’ve made multiple mentions of the time Israel spent under the command of Joshua, who led them into the Promised Land.  Today is another one of those days. 🙂

As we continue to look at the life of Gideon in Judges during the next few weeks, I was struck between the many similarities that Gideon and Joshua shared when they were called to lead Israel.  At first glance, these two individuals couldn’t seem LESS alike!  Joshua was intentionally mentored by Moses since he was a youth, learning how to lead from one of Israel’s best leaders ever.  Gideon was a farmer, raised and influenced by his idol-worshiping father.  As a young man, Joshua stood with Caleb in courageously wanting to attack Jericho and claim God’s Promised Land.  Prior to God’s Call; Gideon is fearfully threshing his wheat in a winepress, so as to hopefully avoid Midianite raiders.

Yet, BOTH of these men were fearful when God asked them to step up into the position as Israel’s leader.

Despite the courageous acts we see from Joshua before and after he succeeds Moses as Israel’s new leader, the Scripture accounts clearly indicate that fear was brewing deep inside of him.  Long before people used CAPITALIZED WORDS, or Bold-face type, or Underlining; the Hebrew method for stressing an important point was Repetition.  When you read the Old Testament, if you notice that certain words or phrases are being repeated a lot in a section….. God is trying to drive home a point!  In the two accounts of Joshua being asked by God and the Israelites to step us as the new leader (Deuteronomy 31 and Joshua 1); the terms fear, courageous, strong, terrified, discouraged are used repeatedly by Moses, God, and the people.  Here’s some examples:

Deuteronomy 31:

Verse 6:   “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified”

Verse 7:   “Be strong and courageous”

Verse 8:   “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”

Joshua 1:

Verse 6:   “Be strong and courageous”

Verse 7:   “Be strong and very courageous”

Verse 9:   “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged”

The primary target of all of these comments is Joshua, himself.  This man has been a mighty warrior for Israel for years, why should he need all of these reminders to “be strong and courageous?”  Because he’s afraid….. that’s why.

Anytime there’s a change in life where we’re faced with new challenges and roles that we’re not sure that we are ready for; we can become discouraged, disheartened, and fearful fairly easily.  Even a “brave” person like Joshua was fearful and uncertain as he transitioned from “1st Mate” to “Captain.”  This can encourage us when we have Gideon-like moments of fear and uncertainty.  We will need to be strong and courageous to lead in the avenues of life God has placed us in:  whether in our families, work, ministries, or community.  The source of the strength and the fountain of this confidence is the same in both Joshua and Gideon’s story… God, Himself.  Here’s a closer look at some of the passages from above:

Deuteronomy 31:

Verse 6:   “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified… for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.””

Verse 8:   “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Joshua 1:

Verses 5-7:  5 “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous”

Verse 9:   “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

And… from Gideon’s story in Judges 6: 12 & 16

12  When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”

The source of Joshua and Gideon’s strength wasn’t themselves.

The source of their confidence wasn’t a flawless military strategy.

The source of their courage wasn’t from the removal of problems.

The source wasn’t a “how”…. But a WHO!

May we take courage and confidence in the fact that God is with us all, just as He was with these heroes of old!


Pastor Josh Mackenstein

Published in: on June 28, 2012 at 2:47 PM  Leave a Comment  

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