When you think of great leaders of the Bible, you would most likely put Joshua in the ranks of such noted rulers and fighting men as David, Moses, Solomon, and so on. But I think Joshua may outdo all other leaders of the Bible for one thing. An act of service, leadership and sacrifice unparalleled in scope and scale from any time before or since. And I’ll bet you pass right over it every time you read the scripture.
Do you remember the place called Gibeath Haaraloth?
The story comes from the book of Joshua, chapter five, right before the Israelites march to defeat Jericho.
I’ll give you a hint . . .
Gibeath Haaraloth means the “Hill of Foreskins”.
Yeah, those foreskins.
Joshua 5:2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” 3 So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth. 4 Now this is why he did so: All those who came out of Egypt—all the men of military age—died in the desert on the way after leaving Egypt. 5 All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the desert during the journey from Egypt had not. 6 The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8 And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed. (NLT)
Yeah, I’ll bet. Ouch!
Now there’s a leader!
Can you imagine? Here comes your commanding officer, flint knife in his hand and a certain mischievous yet determined gleam in his eye, and he says, “Son, the Lord has called me to . . .”
Hold on there, Cap’n! You’re gonna do what? To my where??
But, no! The men of Israel apparently didn’t ask at all. (You’d think it would be in there if they did, right?)
Joshua 5:2.5 ~ “And Shalemorlah, the leader of a hundred, whose name means “the one who wisheth to keep himself intact”, did stepeth forward and spake, “Say what??“
Not a one. They just went, “Umm, okay.”
I’ll say it again. Now there’s a leader!
So you can have your David’s, your Solomon’s and your Moses-es(?) all you want. For one of the greatest leaders of the Bible, give me Joshua! A man of undeniable respect and influence. A man who held the fate of his soldiers in the palm of his hand (not to mention any hope of future generations.) A man who grabbed hold of his responsibilities, and cut to the quick the task at hand. Whose soldiers said nothing of letting it all hang out for their commander, leaving it all on the battlefield, even at the risk of becoming less of a man as a result.
Joshua, I salute you. Just stay away from me with that flint knife or the next time a rock is struck by a staff somethin’ stronger than water better be coming out!