Lessons from the book of Joshua
Joshua 15:13-17 – Shifting Confrontation
Caleb conquered Hebron, chasing out the giants (the sons of Anak) there. The giants ran away from Hebron and settled in Debir. Then he put forth a challenge for someone to conquer Debir and Othniel, his nephew did.
I see a few lessons in this portion of scripture:
- The giants have always been a major issue for Israel. Forty five years before this account, Israel cowered before the giants and failed to lay claim to the Promised Land. And now they are back and the giants are still there. Kicking out the giants must have been a major morale booster and Caleb provided it. And he did it so well that Othniel, who probably had never seen a giant before this time, was convinced that he too could sack the giants were he ever to face them. And when the chance came, he rose to the challenge and defeated the giants in Debir and possessed the place.
Many times, those of us who lead others make edicts, decrees, laws, rules, guidelines or policies, whatever we call them, for our followers to abide by but we do not submit ourselves to the same. Our examples become a source of difficulty in ensuring compliance amongst those who are looking up to us.
Let us precede motivational speeches with motivational actions. That’s what Jesus did (Acts 1:1). His words were powerful but so were his actions.
It is interesting to me that, after the death of Joshua, the first person to rise up to deliver Israel from oppression of their enemies was Othniel, as recorded in the book of Judges.
You never can tell how far your example would go. The value of inspiring people to greatness by the examples we set with our own lives can, therefore, never be truly quantified.
- Israel saw the giants forty-five years before and ran away. Then Caleb came and drove them away but the giants simply moved to another part of the land and resettled until Othniel faced them again. The bible doesn’t say he killed them so I doubt he did, he too must have driven them out to claim the land.
Many times we face some difficulty or other in our lives, some we tackle, others we ignore or avoid. Most times, we deal with problems that relate to our jobs or businesses but we avoid the ones that arise in our relationships with people. Rather than resolve the issue that’s creating tension between us, we avoid the person. Even amongst us Christians, we resort to discussing the other person with someone else with no intention of resolving the situation, and so the tension spreads and in a matter of time, we have two factions in church fighting each other over a personal problem that has “gone viral” (Proverbs 26:20, James 3:16). The situation is the same amongst friends and spouses. Jesus told us how to resolve brotherly conflicts, we should take to his instructions just as much as we take to his promises.
Matthew 18:15 – 17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Problems don’t go away until they are solved, they simply relocate.
- For those of us who are young and upcoming leaders, the next time your boss gives you a “giant” assignment, do it, even if all it does is make him look good, because one day soon the experience will come in handy when you’re set for your next phase of leadership. Othniel rose to the challenge that Caleb set before him and that was just it, he kept rising.
- Caleb drove out the giants from Hebron and didn’t go after them himself when they resurfaced somewhere else. He asked someone else to go. He had shown them that the giants could be subdued and how they can be subdued, it was an opportunity for them to practice what they had learnt and this was necessary because “Caleb, the giant slayer” would not be around forever.
Being a good role model is one good way to raise future leaders; delegation is another.