“So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of God” (Exodus 24:13).
Always referred to as the servant of Moses, Joshua was used to taking orders.
That’s why, when the day arrived for Moses to announce that his work was done and God was recalling him and that Joshua would have to carry on (“Get these people into the Promised Land!”), he, Joshua, must have panicked.
For four decades Joshua has been warming the bench; now, he’s being sent into the game as the clock ticks down and everything is on the line.
What would he do without a boss over him, someone telling him what to do and how to do it, someone to whom he could report, who would grade him and pat him on the head when he did good or chew him out when his work fell short?
Throughout his life, Joshua had never taken the initiative in anything, but had followed orders. In Exodus 17:9, the first mention of Joshua in Scripture, he leads a rag-tag army of ex-slaves against the Amalekites. However, on a distant hill, Moses was overseeing everything and giving guidance.
No one wants to follow a non-leader. Readers will want to check out the final chapters of Deuteronomy and the early chapters of Joshua and count the number of times Moses, God, and the Israelites urged this surprised newly chosen leader to “be strong and of good courage.”
A leader must be strong to forge a path and take the heat and must be of good courage to endure the problems, headaches, and backstabbings.
It goes with the territory. As the saying goes, it’s why they pay the leader the big bucks.