leadership-influenceLeadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. When Joshua was sent to spy out the Promised Land, he was already a leader within his tribe (Ephraim). In the account of the book of Numbers, we see that Moses sent only the heads of each tribe to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:3). However, Joshua didn’t have much of a significant influence. Perhaps just as Joshua you are also a leader today without much recognition. Let’s analyze Joshua’s case.

Joshua’s leadership in the beginning (Numbers 13:25-33; 14:1-12)

He had no influence – Joshua and Caleb rose up and tried to show the people that they could conquer the land, but nobody believed in them. Maybe you have risen up and have said that it is possible to conquer certain things and that it is possible to multiply your group, but the members of your group choose not to believe in you. Do not be discouraged if your influence is still small.

No one believed in him – Joshua’s report concerning the land was positive, but the people did not believe his words. It is frustrating when the members of a group simply do not believe in the possibility of victory through God’s power.

No one followed him – The other 10 spies were able to convince all the people to follow them, but Joshua was unable to gain even one follower. He didn’t appear to be a very promising leader.

No one respected him – Besides the fact that the people did not recognize him, Joshua didn’t even have their respect, since after hearing him they wanted to stone him (Numbers 14:10). Many leaders feel disrespected, if this is your case, don’t try to defend yourself, let the glory of God raise you up and defend you (verse 10).

How Joshua grew in influence

Recognition comes from consistence. Influence is the result of anointing and character. Joshua was not discouraged by having to walk for 40 years in the desert because of the people’s sin. He could have entered into the land quickly, but he waited and walked with the people for all of those years.

Joshua’s recognition and influence grew because of his relationship with Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1-8; 23) – only an existing leader can constitute another leader. No one can become a leader merely by studying in the classroom; there must be a mentor or discipleship figure that eventually constitutes the new leader.

Recognition grows with time (Joshua 18:1-10) – the words of Joshua in verse three were the same as those in numbers 14, but now his influence and the generation to which he spoke was different. Now he had recognition to lead them ahead. Nothing can substitute time. Joshua and Caleb were the oldest men of the nation when they entered into Canaan (Numbers 26:65).

Recognition comes through character and seeking the Lord (Exodus 33:11) – while Moses would pray, Joshua would not leave the door of his tent. Whoever desires to grow seeks to walk with his discipler. Observe that Joshua is called the servant of Moses. Service reveals character.

So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.
And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:11)

Recognition comes from the transferring of anointing (Deuteronomy 34:9; Numbers 27:18) – after Moses laid his hands on Joshua, he grew in influence and recognition before the congregation.

Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. (Deuteronomy 34:9)

And the LORD said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; (Numbers 27:18)

The power of a recognized leader (Joshua 1:16-18)

So they answered Joshua, saying, “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses. (Joshua 1:16, 17)

In verse 16, we see three declarations that reveal that the people learned to recognize Joshua’s leadership:

  • All you command us we will do
  • Wherever you send us we will go
  • In all things we will heed your word