The Law of Influence Part 2
Joshua’s Growing Influence
Many individuals who at first seem ineffective as leaders give up. Fortunately for the nation of Israel, Joshua did not fit that mold. He determined to become a better leader. Despite his setback, Joshua continued to be faithful to God and to learn as much as he could from Moses.
- Joshua’s influence grew because of his relationship with Moses (Deut. 31:1-8, 23).
Through Moses’ mentorship, Joshua not only polished his skills, but the people accepted him as their leader. The Bible says that as Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, “Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it'” (Deut. 31:7). In such a way Moses imparted authority to Joshua.
- Joshua’s influence grew with time and maturity (Num. 14:1-10; Josh. 18:1-10).
Joshua gave basically the same speech in Numbers 14 that he delivered in Joshua 18. The difference? The second time, a mature Joshua spoke to a new generation. The people had seen his leadership skills in action, and his track record as a leader gave them the confidence to follow his directions.
- Joshua’s influence grew because of timing (Josh. 1:16-18).
Sometimes a leader wields little influence until his followers want to go somewhere. Only when the Jews tired of wandering in the desert did they heed the words of Joshua. In Numbers 14, the people responded to Joshua’s first exhortation to go in and take the land by loudly suggesting that he be stoned. In Joshua 1, they responded by saying, “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go” (v. 16).
- Joshua’s influence grew because he possessed patience and integrity (Josh. 1:5-9).
Joshua continued to grow patiently even after the people rejected his words in Numbers 14. While neither he nor Caleb died in the wilderness, as did all those who rebelled against God, nevertheless they both were forced to wander in the desert for 40 years through no fault of their own. Such an “unfair” turn of events could have turned Joshua into an angry, melancholy, disgruntled, and cynical man. Yet he became none of those things. Throughout the long wilderness journey, he continued to display great consistency and credibility—until at last the people were finally ready to follow.
- Joshua’s influence grew because he was right (Josh. 23:1-11).
From the beginning, Joshua tried to do the right thing. He attempted to lead the people in the right direction. After the exodus from Egypt, most of Israel considered his words foolhardy and rash—yet Joshua’s words stood the test of time. His message never changed, and eventually everyone saw that he was right.
Leadership is all about influence, and Joshua demonstrates that influence comes down to character and conviction.
God Uses Rahab – Joshua 2:1-21
The story of Rahab proves that God will use anybody. This woman worked as a prostitute in Jericho as the Israelites approached the city. Although the Hebrews spies needed someone to help them scope out the best approach to conquering the city, there seemed little logical reason why Rahab should have been considered for the role:
- She occupied no position and held no official title in the city.
- The Israelites looked upon women as lower class citizens.
- As a prostitute, she held an even lower social rank than the average woman.
But because leadership depends less on titles than it does on influence, God chose Rahab. She helped the spies by her quick wisdom, gutsy style, and clever plan. By doing so she saved not only her own life, but aided in accomplishing the purposes of God in Jericho. The name “Rahab” even occupies an honored place in the Hall of Faith (Heb. 11:31).
Tola and Jair’s Influence – Judges 10:1-6
Tola and Jair did a fair job of leading the Hebrew people, but Israel immediately did evil upon their deaths, serving the gods of Baal. So what kind of leadership did this pair really exert?
If our leadership leaves no legacy, is it complete? If the people revert to sinful patterns after we depart the scene, have we not failed to practice the Law of Legacy? Remember . . .
- The acid test of our leadership takes place after we are gone.
- Success without a successor is a failure.
- The issue isn’t, Can I change them while I’m here? but, Can I do it after I’m gone?
- Reputation is what people think of us now; legacy is what they think of us long after we are gone.
Join me next time for The Law of Influence Part 3.