I’m glad you have taken an interest in this short series of reflections on the life and development of Moses’ sidekick – Joshua. As you know, Joshua was the leader who took Israel into their promised land sometime around 1250BCE, over 3,000 years ago. That he was a great leader, there is little doubt, but how he was trained/developed as a leader is spoken of less. This is partly because we don’t have a lot of information about his formative years. But it could equally be because his training doesn’t quite fit the corporate, military, or sports paradigm from which a lot of church leadership teaching is derived today. Joshua just doesn’t fit the profile.
Joshua, some guess, may have had some military training in Egypt. It was, after all, a formidable military power. But a large gap then exists between him leaving Egypt and victoriously leading the nation into Canaan. He certainly wasn’t doing nothing for these forty years. What then can we learn from scripture about these years? What did he do? Who was he connected to?
About this, the scriptures do have something to say. The first three reflections will look at three specific elements in the growth and development of Joshua. Then the following three will look at some of the lessons he learned when leading the nation to possess the land.
There may have been other elements, but these are the three that are important to us, being recorded in the Pentateuch. First, is the lesson of faith. Second, the lesson of service. And the last is the lesson of word and presence. Joshua became a servant of Moses. Joshua learnt the value of faith, when it was unpopular, and he became a devotee of the presence and word of God. It was these three that stood him in good stead for his future. It is these things that will stand us in good stead for our future, and our present for that matter.
You might ask – what do these have to do with leadership development? That's a fair question. How God develops a leader and how the academy, military, or corporate world trains a leader may have some intersections, but two entirely different spheres (kingdoms) are in contention here - more is different than the same. It is to these differences we turn our attention.