The compelling question is: Why does God use some people for His purposes and not others? Does God not want His kingdom to expand in every place and in every age? Does He not intend for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven? With so many people worldwide claiming to be Christ’s followers, why does God not work mightily through each one? Would not such an overwhelming outpouring of God’s power cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess Jesus as Lord? Yet God does not work that way. He is selective in those He uses. When God places His hand upon a life, the effect is unmistakable. But many Christians today show little evidence of God’s presence in their lives; consequently they fail to make a significant difference for God’s kingdom. They live their lives without impacting their world. Tragically, this seems to be the norm for our generation. When God does work mightily through someone’s life, it is the exception, and they become a celebrity.
It is fascinating to study the life of someone through whom God was pleased to work powerfully. Joshua lived thousands of years ago, yet the work God did through him continues to impact millions of people today. Everything changed once Joshua entered the scene.
In some ways, Joshua’s life mirrors those of great secular leaders. Like Joshua, Julius Caesar’s defining moment came after he crossed a river with his army. Both Caesar and Joshua had their Rubicon. And, like Caesar, Joshua could also conclude: “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
There are also striking parallels between Joshua and Winston Churchill. Churchill spent most of his life waiting in the wings of history for his moment to enter the world stage. He spent agonizing years in a political wilderness while others mismanaged his nation. When Churchill’s countrymen finally called upon him in their greatest hour of need, he observed: “At last I had the authority to give direction over the whole scene as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but preparation for this hour and for this trial.” Likewise, Joshua spent the greater part of his adulthood waiting. Yet, when finally called upon to lead, he accomplished the seemingly impossible and left his nation forever changed.
There are many similarities between Joshua and illustrious secular leaders, and we will make some comparisons throughout the book. We hasten to add that just because we draw parallels between Joshua and secular leaders such as Napoleon, Wellington, Nelson, and Elizabeth I, it does not mean we endorse or condone the spiritual or moral lifestyles of those people.
The crux of this book is that there was more to Joshua’s success than personal giftedness, perseverance, or luck. His life was clearly directed by God. God’s hand was powerfully upon him. God’s wisdom skillfully guided him. His was a divinely lived life.
God still uses people today for His purposes and for His glory. God is no less capable of transforming our lives into His powerful instruments than He was with Joshua’s life. The question is not about God’s capability; it is about our availability. Are our lives as available to God as Joshua’s was? Are we prepared for Him to make the necessary adjustments in us so His power is manifested through us?
God is no less capable of transforming our lives into His powerful instruments than He was with Joshua’s life.
Henry Blackaby, Called to Be God’s Leader: How God Prepares His Servants for Spiritual Leadership (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006).
I have recently written a 6-week study of Called to Be God’s Leader–a Study of the life of Joshua.
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