Leadership Lessons from Joshua: Look Backward to Go Forward

(This is Part 5 of a 10-part series exploring leadership lessons from the book of Joshua in the Bible. I wrote this with men in mind, but the leadership principles discussed are, of course, transferrable to women, as well.)

“So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:4-7)

After crossing the Jordan River on dry ground, God told the leaders to go back into the middle of the dry riverbed and pick 12 stones to build a memorial to testify to what God had done. The stone memorial was to stand as a reminder to them and their children that God can do the impossible when we put Him first.

If you know Jesus, you likely have several instances in your life where God showed up BIG. You may have had a powerful conversion, bondage-breaking deliverance, miraculous protection, and/or seemingly impossible provision when you needed it most. These events are our testimony. Like a witness in court, we testify to God’s goodness and faithfulness to us.

But remember: God doesn’t want to just deliver us from something. He wants to deliver us to somewhere. Our memorial (testimony) isn’t just meant for us to look back upon and reminisce. Our testimony is meant to propel us forward. We look backward to God’s faithfulness so that we can go forward in faith.

As leaders, we need to continuously remind our people of God’s faithfulness in the past to give them courage to trust Him with their future.

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