The Joshua Leader: God’s Blessing of Favor

The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” Joshua 3:7-8 ESV

This verse leapt out and grabbed me, and I’ve been mulling over it, unsure how to address it. This morning I will give it a try.

I’ve noticed a mysterious element in certain people, particularly certain leaders, that attracts favor from other people. It’s not exactly clear what it is, but I have a few thoughts.

First of all, I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not people-pleasing. In the world’s system, the leader carries a tremendous responsibility to make sure people like him. That’s his way of ensuring that his crowd will follow him, and it’s a major underpinning of modern-day politics. However, that’s an incredibly shaky foundation upon which to build your leadership because people’s opinions are quite fickle. Like many things in life, it seems that when you start pursuing favor for its own sake, you lose it.

The second thing that is clear is that it’s a gift from God. God clearly told Joshua that He would exalt him in the eyes of the people. I have often quoted Proverbs 21:1 to my friends, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” However, there’s an equivalent statement that’s also true, which is that the people’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, and he turns it wherever he will.

You see, God never intended that people-pleasing fall on our shoulders. Every leader, in small or big ways, can relate stories of people’s displeasure. It’s true that sometimes this is caused by the immaturity of the leader, but sometimes it’s the immaturity of those following.

So if we are not to please people, what are we to do? If favor is a gift from God, do we just sit around and wait for it to fall?


Scripture has made a very clear path for us in Proverbs 3:3-4, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”

I believe that one of the characteristics of the Joshua Leader is that he walks in this favor, not only in the sight of man but also in the sight of God. If it feels like it’s not happening for you as a leader, your job is simply to hang onto steadfast love and faithfulness, then let God fulfill His promise in His time. Similarly, if God is calling you into leadership, pursue this steadfast love and faithfulness, because this favor is not something you want to live without.

And in case you think I’m crazy (which you probably don’t), the concept of favor was significant enough for Luke to mention that Jesus grew in favor in Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” And if Jesus grew in it, why don’t we?

All for Christ and His bride.

One comment

  1. God bless you, Matthias!…. We need to remember these things…

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