Joshua was an audacious leader because he had audacious expectations of those who followed him.
As the new generation of Israelites stood on the Eastern bank of the Jordan, eager to follow their leader, Joshua addressed two and a half tribes with a specific challenge:
Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them…”Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here…on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them until the LORD gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the LORD your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the LORD, assigned to you.” Joshua 1:12-15
Joshua was telling these God-followers that they needed to look way beyond themselves to live for the sake of their brothers and sisters. This was not an easy call.
- It required danger and sacrifice.
- It meant they could not relax and enjoy the good life while their fellow followers were still unsettled.
- It demanded sacrifice, not only the warriors, but also from the families that needed to let them go.
- It did cost some of them their very lives.
In the New Testament, we see liberal generosity and cutting edge sacrifice demonstrated by the first church as “they sold whatever they had and distributed to any who had need.” In the Old Testament, we have the new generation of Israelites who are called to audacious action on behalf of their fellow God-followers.
How often we overlook the higher calling of God. How natural it is to settle in when we have what we want. How normal the Christian life can be when we have a me-orientation. But the audacious Joshua called his followers to audacious action. It cost the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh a lot…and honored God tremendously.
Audacious followers live for the wellfare of their brothers and sisters in Christ.