Servant of the Lord - The Warrior's Journey®

Servant of the Lord

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

Rock Shock Two. Photo by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC By 2.0

After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten … Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel. Joshua 24:29,31 (NIV)

Character remains foundational for effective leadership.

Definitions for character abound, but I (Scott) like to think that character is who you are. It includes your values, beliefs, and behavior. Followers see your character by what you say and what you do. Both matter.

During Old Testament times, Joshua was a great military leader whose character serves as an example for us to follow. In the verses above, let’s focus on two important aspects that reflect the character of Joshua:

God’s Word calls Joshua a servant of the LORD

He was a great military leader for the Israelites during a crucial time in history. As the successor of Moses, God named Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Under Joshua’s leadership his people fought, conquered nations, and took possession of the land that the Lord had promised to them.

But note the description. It refers to Joshua as the “servant of the LORD,” not just an outstanding military leader. Joshua’s priority was first and foremost to listen to God and do what He directed.

Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him.

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment and the 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade participate in a combined arms live fire exercise at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, August 16, 2019.<br /> The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, capable of projecting ready forces anywhere in the U.S. European, Africa or Central Commands' areas of responsibility.

Joshua’s influence as a leader lasted many years after his death. This is legacy. This speaks directly to the lasting impact of Joshua’s godly leadership and character.

The real test of a leader is measured not only by what happens while he is present, but even more so by what happens when the leader is gone. During his tenure, Joshua placed strong emphasis on developing leaders who could carry on with the mission after he departed.

Some leaders today concern themselves only with what happens under their watch. They don’t think about the future of the organization or individual followers once they depart.

Let’s look at two examples that reflect a few of Joshua’s godly character traits, one while he was young and the other very late in his life. Note that these traits are evident through not only what he said, but also by what he did. With each example I encourage you to read the surrounding verses in order to understand the full context.

His Faith Demonstrated by Both Words and Actions (Numbers 13-14)

“Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them”  (Numbers 14:9, NIV).

The reconnaissance party that Moses had sent to check out the promised land had returned and rendered a report. Though the land itself looked awesome, the men reported that they had seen giants and feared that the Israelites could never defeat such a strong foe. Their fear impacted all tribes and collectively they began to revolt against Moses and his leadership.

But Joshua and Caleb stepped up and expressed their strong faith in God. They did this at their own peril because the crowds talked about stoning them after taking their strong stand for the Lord.

Joshua’s faith in God was the foundational underpinning for who he was and everything he did. He trusted God and proved it through courageous obedience. Also important to note here is that Joshua was still relatively young and not the leader at this point. His example, however, set the pattern for how he would lead in the future.

Are you prepared to trust and obey God in order to do the next right thing?

His Genuine Concern for the Next Generation (Joshua 23-24)

Lt. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commander of Marine Corps Forces Command, delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the historic deployment of the Republic of Georgia’s 31st Light Infantry Battalion to support Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan. The 31st Battalion has been training with Marines from Marine Forces Europe and Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group for the past six months as the first of four Georgian battalions participating in the Georgia Deployment Program. The deployment marks the first time a foreign military force will deploy as part of a Marine Regimental Combat Team.

“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14-15, NIV).

This excerpt comes from one of the most powerful and impactful speeches given by a leader in the history of the world. Please read it closely and hear what Joshua was saying.

You’ll quickly note that Joshua’s farewell address was not laced with great accolades or flattery. He was focused on one thing: that the Israelites would continue to trust and obey God. Nothing else. Though Joshua knew his death was fast approaching, His love and concern for their welfare motivated him to speak from his heart.

God used Joshua to lead His chosen people into the Promised Land, but there is still much to be accomplished prior to Jesus’ return. He continues to call leaders who will trust and obey Him.

Are you willing to become one of those leaders?

Photos: (By U.S. Army, Licensed under CC by 2.0) (By U.S. Army, Licensed under CC by 2.0) (By U.S. Army, Licensed under CC by 2.0) (By Marines, Licensed under US Govt Work)

The content of this Devotional comes from “Daily Strength for the Battle (You, God’s Word, 5 Minutes): Volume 6 Developing the Leader in You” (2020) and is copyrighted by Scott and Judy McChrystal. Used with permission.

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