“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[ have for his servant?” (Joshua 5:14 NIV)
As Joshua faced the man in this story, most commentators believe none other than the Son of God–Joshua showed he had learned to trust and obey.
Joshua had spent many years serving Moses, who was gone now. Many a Christian leader has chafed at being second in command. They are annoyed or impatient because of being restricted or inconvenienced. When the commander of the Lord’s army told Joshua to take off his shoes (v.15), he obeyed. Where did Joshua learn this radical obedience? He acquired this during the many years when he felt restricted or inconvenienced by Moses’ orders. Joshua had discovered the secret of Moses’ leadership—trust and demonstrated obedience to God’s commands.
The commentator Matthew Henry once wrote, “for it is those know how to obey who best know how to command.” There are many natural-born leaders, but there are never inherited leadership traits; the most important are trust and obedience. You may be in a position where you are chafing at the bit. It appears you are spinning your wheels. God never misses an opportunity to teach you no matter what your situation. If you are where God has placed you, he is always at work.
All Christians, whether leaders or not, must take to heart the words of the old song. “Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.” Obedience is always the proof of our trust in Christ.