“Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.”
Joshua had the unenviable task of leading Israel after the death of Moses, who is arguably the greatest leader Israel had ever seen. Joshua could not help that Moses was now gone, but somebody had to lead Israel into the Promised Land. It just so happened that Joshua was the man whom God chose to lead Israel, and he did a wonderful job in leading them through the conquering of the Promised Land.
However, the verse above is likely the biggest reason that Joshua was able to be successful in leading Israel to conquer the land promised to them by God. The people of Israel chose to be loyal to Joshua, and they would have never been able to conquer the Promised Land had they not chosen to be loyal to Joshua’s leadership.
Loyalty has sadly become a “bad” word in many Christian circles because of people who only want to be loyal to one person, and that one person is themselves. These people who are so against loyalty cloak their rebellion by saying that nobody is supposed to be loyal to a man. My friend, if that were true, the verse above should be taken out of the Scriptures. Loyalty is a needed decision if the work of the LORD is to go forward. Let me share several observations about the need for loyalty.
First, somebody has to lead, and God has chosen to lead through man. The book of Joshua is a prime example of people being willing to be loyal and follow a man, and that resulted in them conquering their enemies. On the other hand, the book of Judges is the result of people not following a leader, which led to sin because every man did right in their own eyes. You may not like it, but God has chosen to lead His people through a man.
Second, it is a choice to be loyal. The people in the verse above made a decision to be loyal to Joshua, and you must decide to be loyal or disloyal to your leader. It is a choice to be loyal, but it is also a choice to be rebellious, and when you choose not to be loyal, you are being rebellious.
Third, loyalty is not believing that a leader is sinless. This devotional is not attempting to get you to blindly follow a leader into sin, but it is reminding you of the importance of being loyal to your leader so they don’t have to spend their energies on dealing with disloyal and rebellious people. A leader’s energies should be placed into doing positive things for the LORD, but that will only happen when his followers choose to follow him instead of constantly challenging him.
Fourth, loyalty is overlooking the weaknesses of a leader and choosing to follow them as they follow Christ. The key to being loyal is to follow them as they follow Christ. Yes, your leader will have weaknesses, and they know they have weaknesses, but you will never find a leader without flaws. Don’t let the discovery of your leader’s weaknesses cause you to be disloyal and miss the opportunity to do great things for God together.
Fifth, a church is only as strong as the followers are willing to be loyal to their leader. If you want your church to do great things for the LORD, you would be wise not to let pride and selfishness keep you from following your pastor.