God has representatives in all generations; the ambassadors to save, deliver and bring people to the Promised Land. The times are indeed challenging and there have been changes in people s beliefs, values, socio-economic and political patterns; immorality and ungodliness are on the increase. Today, we live in a world where many things seem to have changed and are still changing from the ideals, spiritual truths and moral values which were once delivered to us. Individualism, modernism, extremist ideologies and so on are on the rise. The “God-factor” is now gradually being played down in all spheres of our society. The rate at which the church of God now readily conforms to the dictates and the mandate of the world is indeed alarming and worrisome. Today people plan and scheme their way to the “top”. People now think it is unnecessary to attend congregational church services; the church has been taken to the virtual world. An average member of your parish has other churches and places he goes to. Many parishioners now always want to be compensated and paid for what they do in and for the church. All these and many more pose challenges to the ministry of an average Priest who must respond adequately to the challenges and must, as much as possible, be pragmatic in his approach. The world doesn’t really change until people change. Our world is changing right now and many of us are unconsciously trying to adapt the new into the old (Luke 5:36-39). God has new things to pour out but the problem is the container. Having an exceptional Joshua generation that will reach out to the society is critical. We live in a day when we must act in faith for the miraculous, not to wait for the miraculous before believing, and the miraculous is coming like never before.
Joshua, the son of Nun, whose name means “Yahweh saves” was appointed successor to Moses and commissioned to take the children of Israel to the Promised Land in spite of the enormous giants who opposed them (Deuteronomy 31:1–8; 34:9; Joshua 1:1-19; Numbers 13), a charismatic warrior, led Israel in the conquest of Canaan after the exodus from Egypt. He had a humiliated beginning as he was born in Egypt. So he experienced hardship. He was a child of destiny as he would have been killed like others. In Exodus 17:8-15, he assisted Moses in defeating the Amalekites, the enemies of the God s people. After sending spies into Canaan to report on the enemy s morale, Joshua led the Israelites in an invasion across the Jordan River. He took the important city of Jericho and then captured other towns in the north and south until most of Palestine was brought under Israelite control. He divided the conquered lands among the 12 tribes of Israel and then bade farewell to his people (Joshua 23), admonishing them to be loyal to the God of the covenant.
Just as Joshua s life speaks to a generation of bold conquerors empowered by the fullness of the Holy Spirit, God is seeking for the people that will not be afraid to stand even when all deny His miracle and invisible support; the generation that will depend wholly on the hands that holds the universe; the generation that will trust God and His power always even when science and modernism tries to disapprove His existence. The generation that believes their challenges are surmountable and that can say in the presence of their mountains and giants “we shall overcome”. Only true and Godly values can guide a generation. Several life lessons led to Joshua s success, which, if applied, will help us succeed in every area of life.
The Characteristics and Expectations of the Joshua Generation: A Challenge for the Present Generation of Leaders
1. The Joshua generation honours the previous generation of leaders. In spite of the previous generation wandering in the wilderness for forty years, Joshua still remained as a faithful servant of his leader, Moses (Exodus 33:11). Joshua abided his time and served faithfully until Moses transitioned out, and God commissioned him as the new leader. And indeed, the people honoured Joshua the same way they honoured Moses (Joshua 4:14). When we keep the right perspective, God will make a way for us just as He did for Joshua.
a. Young leaders that are impatient and want their mantle prematurely will find out the hard way that their gifts and abilities are not enough to take them into the Promised Land. While serving Moses, Joshua was an attentive student, learning much from the great leader; he was loyal and humble. When you manifest before God s appointed time, you will soon fizzle out. Do not elevate yourself, let God raise you up. Do not get caught up in title seeking or self-promotion. This will only delay your effectiveness as a leader. (1 Peter 5:6). Ensure you don’t just have the title without the mantle.
b. God has positioned good mentors around you to minimize your mistakes and maximize your potential for success, learn from them. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”. The Lord may have chosen Moses and Joshua, but Moses did a good job of obeying and working as an excellent teacher for Joshua. He displayed several key characteristics of a good mentor:
i. He knew when to step aside and let Joshua take the role of leader.
ii. He invited Joshua to key events and led by example.
iii. He began assigning important tasks to Joshua.
iv. He used the performance of Joshua as a reason to continue building on trust.
v. He affirmed the achievements of Joshua in front of others.
By acting in this way, Moses exhibited how a mentor should act and how those actions can have dramatic impacts on the person being mentored.
c. We are wise when we admit that there are people who know better than we do, and we learn from them. Ask God to connect you with people who will bring out the best in you and whose wisdom brings divine acceleration to your destiny. Joshua was a good successor to Moses; remember that success without a good successor is failure. God is refining us and preparing us for what He has next. You must equally learn to bring others up.
d. Young leaders who are critical and dishonoring of the previous generations of leaders will not be trusted by God to lead the next generation. Even though God has an assignment for you in this generation, you are not expected to discredit past generations of God s servants as you go about fulfilling God s mandate for your life and ministry.
e. Wherever Moses went, Joshua followed and so Joshua was continually exposed to Moses’ example in leadership. We tend to become like the people we move with. We need to be careful in the example we model for the young among us. Before Joshua stepped up to be Israel s leader, he first served as Moses’ assistant (Exodus 24:13). That was part of Joshua s critical training.
2. Joshua did not fight his battles alone. Joshua was not a lone ranger. He did not march around the city of Jericho alone and neither did he win his battles all alone. He was a courageous leader who enlisted the respect of his troops and had thousands of men who were faithfully fighting alongside him. The people did as he commanded because of his character. We need the family of God and the family of God needs us.
a. Joshua reminds the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh to help their brothers win their battles across the Jordan before settling in their own land (Joshua 1:12-15). This is a key lesson in leadership. Without unity there will be no victory. Spend the time necessary as a leader to gain unity in your team.
3. Real authority in leadership only comes in submission to God. Joshua 5:13-15 clearly shows Joshua s submission to God. God here confirms to Joshua who was in the lead for the way forward. It was most important for Joshua to understand that God is allied with himself and his purposes. The taking of the Promised Land was God s battle. Joshua had a choice to fall behind his leader. This reminds leaders that real authority only comes in complete submission to God. The leader does not have to make up a battle plan and accomplish victory. He only needs to follow well.
4. The Joshua generation leads others to enter the Promised Land and they are people of great faith. God had always looked for people who will step out in faith for Him. Remember that those who look to the past and fear the present are certain to miss the future. Joshua and Caleb were among the twelve spies sent by Moses to spy the Promised Land before entering. The men saw the land and the promises, rich in honey, milk, grapes and the giants. When they came back, their reports were contradictory. Ten men had evil reports, Joshua and Caleb had good reports. Ten had faith in the giants and were giant-conscious while Joshua and Caleb had faith in God and were God-conscious. The two men chose to major on the opportunities and not on the obstacles.
a. In our time, the generation that will possess the Promised Land must also be courageous and fearless. It means they will have to fight some giants but they should know that they are not alone (Matt. 28:19, 20).
b. Whatever Godly leaders are charged to do, eventually their responsibility is to be faith-driven leaders. That is where the group of ten spies failed. Instead of reporting faith, ten of these leaders would eventually report the fear they felt. Only two gave the challenge of moving forward in faith. When the people sided with fear instead of faith, their opportunity to live inside the Promised Land vanished. While the majority of the people questioned the command of God to conquer the land of Canaan, Joshua and Caleb stood out as the only ones who said that God was well able to conquer the giants and give them the land (Numbers 13, 14). All believers will be tested regarding their faith in God.
c. Service to God and success in life require determination, focus and dwelling in the word of God.
d. God is calling believers in this present time and season to stop circling the mountain (Deut.1: 6) and to begin stepping into the land of their promise. God says that wherever the Joshua generation puts the soles of their feet, He would give it unto them (Joshua 1:3). This means, we need to show up and participate in the life of our community. God is calling for His people to arise, shine and let the nations see the glory of the Lord in the midst of gross darkness (Isaiah 60). A place of leadership is a place of tremendous responsibility, for a leader s faith is on public display.
e. Godly leaders in this generation must stand for what is right even when everyone else wants to do wrong. They must not be intimidated or allow fear to control them. We must be courageous to do right even if it means standing against the majority.
f. Always look for the positive angle of difficult situations; certainly there will be one, if you look hard enough and if you ask the Holy Spirit to show you. Our biggest hindrances today may be our greatest opportunities tomorrow.
5. The Joshua generation has a servant heart. Joshua had a call and yet he was Moses’ servant (Exod. 24:13; 32:17). He was constantly around, learning, watching, growing, and maturing. Joshua learned a lesson about humility from Moses (Numbers 11:24-30).
a. It is important for us to note that good mentors are secure in their calling and do not feel threatened by the gifts and blessings of others; they are not envious when they see God using someone else.
b. Most preparations for leadership are often behind the scenes. However, more than just leadership abilities, humility, service, a knowledge of and love for God are essential in our growth and preparation.
c. Work on your character, be teachable and be humble in the place of your assignment. Equally make conscious efforts to develop yourself.
d. There is a sure reward for faithful stewardship. We need to be faithful servants where God has placed us now and watch to see where God leads next. “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10). God will honor our faithfulness as we serve Christ humbly day by day. Even with the success Joshua recorded, he did not ever have an inflated ego. And he always gave God the credit (Joshua 3:5, 4:23, 23:3-4, 24:17-18). Even at the end of his life, he only took his land allotment after he had handed out all the rest to the other tribes (Joshua 19).
6. The Joshua generation are victorious warriors and men of vision (Numbers 14:28-32).
a. When the world is falling apart, we must be overcomers in the midst of the troubled world.
b. The Joshua generations are men of vision. Because of their vision, they can inspire life and change the atmosphere from worse to best. They are originators and can discern the future. They seek to succeed in God s way. Vision is a vital link to success. It is a tool for finding direction (Prov. 29:18). Your vision determines how far you can go. A visionless mind is a confused one and lacks direction. Joshua got the heavens picture and likings and pursued it. He stood for God and was rewarded. When we have vision, we see everything in the proper perspective. Only the vision of Christ sustains in crisis.
7. The Joshua generation must stay in God s presence (Exod. 33:11). Joshua stayed in God s presence and that will be characteristic of the Joshua generation.
a. Joshua generation will be hungry and thirsty for the intimacy of God s presence.
b. When people give up, when they seem to have had enough, the Joshua generation will press on. They will not be satisfied with just an experience, being in God s presence for empowerment and strength will become a lifestyle.
8. The Joshua generation does not tolerate ungodliness. When Israel lost the battle against Ai, immediately Joshua sought the Lord and found out that a man named Achan brought sin into the camp, which compromised the whole nation (Joshua 7), see also Joshua 3:5; 24:15.
a. This present-day Joshua generation must have a renewed call to holiness along with a passion to walk in His presence. This renewed call to seek the Lord will result in more believers repudiating the ethical compromises that have weakened many in the church today.
b. Assumption leads to disaster (Joshua 7:3-4; 8:1). After the resounding victory at Jericho, Joshua and the people assumed that they would only need part of the army to defeat the small city of Ai. Purity in the camp was assumed. The battle strategy was also assumed. Once the sin in the camp was dealt with, God instructed Joshua to take the whole army to defeat Ai. It is important that we never assume to know the battle plan. We might want to rely on previous experiences of victory. But, that was then. Always seek the current battle strategy from God.
9. The Joshua generation adheres to divine instructions.
God desires our obedience to His instructions more than anything else. This is proven when we move forward without fear or doubt. Joshua 11:15 says “As the Lord had commanded Moses His servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses”. Even though Joshua was not perfect, he proved that a life of obedience to God bears great rewards. The Joshua generations are those who are willing to obey God perfectly.
a. Men who trust in God and submit themselves to Him are the ones He delights in; and they receive heavens back-up. God is looking for men that will love and obey Him completely; men like Noah (Genesis 6:22), Abraham (Genesis 22) and Joshua.
b. Obedience is not a very popular word or discipline these days but learning to follow instructions is essential for any man or woman of God.
10. The Joshua generation is a generation of great accomplishments.
a. The present move of God is about action and accomplishments, not mere talk and fantasizing. People are tired of the politicians and leaders who speak forth platitudes and promises they never intend to fulfill. Similar to the Joshua generation that followed the death of Moses, God is raising up in our midst, those who will be outcome based and results-orientated.
b. This generation, who allows the move of God, will not be satisfied with keeping the presence, power and activities of God within the four walls of a church building. They will only be satisfied when the transforming glory of God is manifest everyday and in every sphere of the society. They will only be satisfied when biblical principles are applied with success in the marketplace. They will only be satisfied when the fire of revival is kept burning. Finally, they will only be satisfied when they see biblical principles ascend again as the cultural ethos of the land in which they live.
11. The Joshua generation prepares the next generation for the future. In Judges 2:7, the bible says that the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.
a. The “Joshua generation” must set an example for the next generation. The goal must be to develop our young men and young ladies for the future, while increasing the faith, leadership and teaching skills of our more mature men and women.
b. Every congregation of God s people need well trained and willing teachers, personal evangelists and leaders. Some congregations find these people in short supply.
c. From a biblical perspective, we must increase our motivation and improve the training of Christians. One of the greatest strengths of the Joshua generation is its focus on developing the next generation. It is imperative that we strengthen the faith of our present generation if we wish to save the next.
d. Our children will learn more from what we show them, through our actions, than they will through what we tell them with our words.
12. Joshua taught the people to fear and serve the Lord. Joshua 24:14, 15 says “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD”. As a leader, Joshua could stand before his people and proclaim the word of the Lord and talk of all that He had done for the people. He made it clear what decision he had made and how his house would be devoted to the Lord. Is it possible the next generation saw the Lord as something for the older ones?
a. The solid faith and leadership from the Joshua generation was gone. How would the next generation find their way? Can the next generation depend on us for direction? The next generation didn’t like the God that Joshua s generation worshipped. They decided to pursue the gods of their making. Instead of a God that struck fear in their hearts because of His holiness, they wanted a god that they could control, one they understood. Are things any different today? Do you feel the passing of a Godly generation? There is a generation of people growing up today that have no concept or knowledge of the Lord. People celebrate Christmas and Easter holidays but have no understanding whatsoever of what these holidays are. Instead of it being explained, the names have been changed and the holidays redefined. The next generation is going after other gods, smaller gods they understand and can control. In their mind, the God of the bible is old fashioned and outdated. He was someone that their parents worshipped. They believe they have found a better way. Today, our children are exposed to more indecent behaviours than any generation ever before through the TV and internet. This is just a more modern day version of worship of Ashtoreth. In the book of Judges, the anger of the Lord burned against that generation for their abandonment of their dedication to Him. He turned them over to their enemies who conquered and plundered the Israelites and made them subservient to them. Then the people cried out to the Lord and He raised up Judges for them. God raised up men and women to lead the people back to God. God will raise up Godly men and women to proclaim His word and lead the people back. God has called each of us to a ministry. Your ministry starts with proclaiming God to your children and family. b. If we don’t teach the next generation, our future is already written. It can start today. Tell someone about Jesus then take a stand. Let them know, as for you and your house, you will serve the Lord.
Cultivate positive attitudes; your attitudes determine your altitude. Your habits determine your future. 2 Peter 1:5-9 says, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins”.
If you want to experience a positive season and you are ready to be part of God s move in this generation, you must work towards it. Hard work is a positive discipline in order to enjoy a new season and to be relevant in the next dispensation. There are both seedtime and harvest time. If you are not hardworking during planting season, when harvest season comes, you will miss out while others who are hardworking will enjoy a bountiful harvest. Proverbs 20:4, says, “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing”. Make the best use of your current season. Whether the current season is favourable or unfavourable, make the most use of it. Don’t be fantasizing about a better tomorrow that has not come while you do nothing about today that is here. Ephesians 5:15-20 says, “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The needs of God s people are very many and varied. Therefore, only a variety of ministries working together can hope to respond to them adequately. For instance, there are needs which are emotional, professional, cultural, ecumenical/inter-religious, health-related, national, international, global or cosmic in nature. All of these call for professional expertise which can never be supplied by one single minister but rather by well coordinated teams of ministers. There is now a great number of very highly educated and committed laity. Their expertise should be properly harnessed to meet the needs of the church. We also see the great need to train and prepare men to serve as leaders among God s people.
Be faithful in your current season, and a new season, a better season will come upon you. The converse is also true. The unfaithful will continue to experience a downward slide. Follow divine leading, not what is trending. If you follow the trend, you may get lost and you will miss God s direction for your life. Follow the Word, not the world! The form of this world is passing away (1 John 2:17). Joshua generation will charge the next generation to never stop waging war against darkness until the Kingdom of God fills the earth, the glory of God fills the earth and Jesus returns. Joshua generation will set a clear choice before the next generation.
God is still looking for people that can represent Him in this polluting and decaying world; people that will help in establishing the righteousness of God in the land and nation. Romans 8:19 says, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God”. Because God reigns, there should be no territory for the devil to dominate. There are lands presently waiting to be taken for Christ. As we are in the final hour, dare to be in the winning, faithful and courageous company. God has placed eternal responsibilities in your hands. God has given us the cities. So let us arise and possess them in power, might, righteousness and strength for His grace is sufficient for us (2Cor. 12:9). For this winning generation, they will reach their promised land, no matter the oppositions, afflictions and adversaries. Proverbs 24:10 says “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small”. I believe that God is doing something very significant with this generation. He is challenging this generation like no generation before. He is looking for a generation that will respond to His demands in total commitment. He is raising the bar. His expectations of you are higher and His demands greater. We must not live in the past, but in the present, looking to a great future with our great God leading the way. I invite you to be part of God s move in this generation. Remember, some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns. Be courageous like Joshua for God has already established you to possess the gates of your enemies. Be a winner like Joshua today.
Thank you for listening.
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