Strange Tactics

Today’s reading:  Joshua 6

On Monday I started a new job.  From the very beginning, my previous position hadn’t really been a good fit.  While the teams I led delivered great results over the course of my tenure, my leadership style didn’t really mesh.  After giving it two and one-half years, I left with a feeling of failure, frustration and hurt.

As you’d expect, B.J. wasn’t interested in listening to my pity party.  He questioned me on how I was measuring success, and specifically challenged me to consider whether I was measuring the right things.  Last Wednesday, after spending time with each of my Managers to let them know I was leaving, I concluded B.J. was right.  (That is very painful to admit, believe me!).  For two plus years, I drove significant results and left that department in a better place than it was when I got there.  More importantly, I positively impacted the lives of the more than eighty people I led and those with whom I worked side by side.  How do I know this?  They stopped by, they called, and a week later they are still sending me emails to tell me this.  By these measures, my tenure in that job was actually a huge success.

See when I arrived at the office last Wednesday morning, I had put my car in park and called my Dad.  That shouldn’t surprise most of you.  He is a wise man who is always ready to give me godly advice.  This time, however, I didn’t call for advice.  I called for a specific request.  I told my Dad the day was going to be hard for me.  I asked him if he would please pray me through the day. 

When I left to go home on Wednesday, I was feeling at peace.  I made it through the day because of the prayers my parents said on my behalf.  As I was driving, Casting Crowns song Only Jesus came on the radio and convicted me yet again.  I was feeling pretty good that my work associates were sad to see me leave, and hoped they would remember me as a great leader who cared about them.  But my focus was still on me when it should have been pointing to Jesus.  During my time in that position, I can name specific times I pointed people to Jesus.  But did I take every opportunity?  Did I do enough?

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
Only Jesus
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
Only Jesus
(Casting Crowns, 2018)

Why do I tell you this story?  Our scripture today in Joshua 6 has a parallel message.  God gave Joshua some strange, specific instructions for fighting the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6:3-5) – March around Jericho one time a day for six days, then march around seven times on day seven, sound the trumpets, shout, and the wall protecting the city will fall down.  This sounds like a ludicrous plan for fighting a battle, so why was it the plan God chose?   By executing such a crazy battle plan, it would be absolutely clear God was responsible for the victory, not Israel’s weaponry or fighting skill.  There is no way Joshua’s army could have won this battle on their own.  It was only by the power of God.

My challenge for you today is this – What battle are you fighting that you need to turn over to God?  Will you trust him to get you through it?  He may use strange tactics, but he will be glorified in the end.