I’m no military strategist, but I have a sneaking suspicion that when generals are preparing for battle there are certain processes and checklists that they employ. They probably send out intelligence agents to study the enemy. They count the troops to determine their strength on land, sea, and air. They study strategies of great generals before them to determine the most effective tactic to defeat the foe. This kind of planning just makes sense.
Let’s broaden our perspective on this discussion and see how the same principles apply in many areas of life. When a person is making a career change, she will do her homework, strategize, leverage her resume, outsmart the competition, etc. In something as simple as planning a vacation, we tend to look at the task at hand and map out the best approach to the project.
Joshua was a man who was facing a very daunting task. He was supposed to lead a group of second-generation freed slaves, who have been living a nomadic existence for 40 years, into the land of Canaan to fight against well-trained, well-fortified “giants.” The wisest general, as we have already suggested, would have spent this preparation time in strategy sessions. Yet, God pulls a reversal on Joshua. God tells Joshua that, if he wants to be successful, (and who wouldn’t) he is to not spend his time on strategizing, but to spend his time on Prayer and Meditation. God did not tell Joshua what he was to do, he told him how to be.
How could Joshua be strong and courageous in these circumstances? His strength and courage came from the knowledge that God had ordained this attack. Joshua was not being called upon to be a great leader. He was being called upon to be a great follower. God was leading this army. God was going ahead of them to drive out the Canaanites. All Israel had to do was to believe, obey, and follow.
The key to Joshua’s strength and courage was in his obedience. If Joshua would focus his energy on the Law of God, meditate on it daily, keep it in the forefront of his mind and speech (not letting it depart from his mouth), then He would be in tune with the will, heart, and mind of God and would have the strength and courage to do the things that God asked him to do.
Once again, we run right into the overflow principle. If Joshua would detach himself from the task of leading an army and graft himself into authentic fellowship with God through the disciplines of study, prayer, and meditation, then the fruit (or the overflow) of Joshua’s life would be a “success” because it would be orchestrated by God Himself.
Too many times we rush into a venture that we have planned, using our own strength and “wisdom.” After noodling it out in our own steam, we then offer it up to God and say, “bless this.” Let’s shift our focus. Let’s join with Joshua in his formula for success. Let’s remember that we are called to follow God’s agenda for His Kingdom. Even if we are “leaders” in the church, we are called to simply follow. Let’s let our strength and courage be the result of knowing the mind and heart of God so well that He is naturally flowing through our lives.