Seven Lessons From Israel Crossing The Jordan

Last week I preached on Joshua 1-4 where Israel after 40 years wandering through the wilderness finally crosses the Jordan River into the Promised Land. It was the first big act of leadership for Joshua. Reading through this wonderful event I see seven great leadership transition principles that we can draw from this which we can learn from and apply within our own context.

  1. Trust your leaders. Why did Israel follow Joshua across the Jordan? They followed Joshua just as they followed Moses, because Moses had laid his hands on him. The text doesn’t say whether or not they trusted Joshua, but they trusted Moses, and that was enough for them. In any leadership transition it is vitally important to trust the current leaders in the decisions they make.
  2. Leaders trust in God. Right from the start we see Joshua going to God for all his instructions, listening to His every word, and obeying them without delay. As leaders especially, we need to stay in tune with God, and seek His will not only for our own lives, but also for that of the church.
  3. Be strong and courageous.  The book of Joshua starts off with God telling Joshua twice to be strong and courageous (Jos. 1:6-9), but then we read at the end of the first chapter that the people told Joshua that they will follow him, but that he needs to be strong and courageous. Pray for them for sure, but encourage them as well.
  4. Unity is essential.  All throughout this story, but also the rest of Joshua, we see that Israel as a nation is united. As one they follow Joshua. As one they follow God. As one they cross the Jordan. As one they remember what God has done. Unity is essential.
  5. Keep our eyes on God.  The priests, representing God, were walking up front, leading the way. The nation was to keep their eyes on God, have Him lead the way (even when it seems impossible or crazy, like crossing the Jordan when it overflows most with over a million people). Focusing your eyes on God will keep our focus off of your own circumstances.
  6. Big challenges will come. Even with keeping your eyes on God, big challenges will come. When Israel crossed the Jordan they were faced with many enemies and much bigger challenges than the crossing itself. Big challenges will come, and these challenges can be hard and difficult work, but keeping your eyes on God will make all the difference.
  7. Remember what God has done. When Israel crossed the Jordan, they set up these twelve stones, these foundational stones, as a remembrance for themselves and generations to come. Remembering what God has done is a great way of keeping your focus on Him and to recognize and realize these big milestones in your past and how God has come through on His promises. This builds faith for what’s to come.