When I was growing up, as a boy, I remember trying to herd cattle into a place that they weren’t used to going.
It didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t coerce them to do something they didn’t want to do. They would even break through a known obstacle to avoid the possibility of something new.
However, as soon as one cow “took the plunge” to step out, the rest of the herd soon followed behind. All that was needed was for one to lead the way.
There’s a time in Israel’s history that stands out in my mind regarding a similar situation. The Israelites needed someone to lead the way to occupy Canaan. In the book of Joshua, chapter 24, it says that Joshua, the new leader of the Israelites, made a declaration of change. It was time to clarify the direction the people were going to take.
He makes this proclamation in verses 14 and 15: “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’’ (NKJV)
Joshua stood in the place that we need people, especially men, to stand today. There is so much around us swaying our priorities and commitments from side-to-side.
I’ve heard the saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything!” We need to be willing to take a stand for what is right and lead the way for others to follow.
Joshua was willing not only to commit himself to the Lord, but also those he was given responsibility for. Leading the way may not always be popular, but it opens the opportunity for others to see what the Lord has to offer them, as well.
While there is much about God we do not understand, there is one thing I am convinced of He knows the very best for me in every step my life takes. God calls us all as Christians to lead the way, “making disciples of all nations” and “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
When we lead the way for the Lord, we don’t go alone. Joshua knew that God would never leave him, and Jesus promised that He would never leave us. It’s up to us to take a stand and lead the way.