Devotional: Facing Risk Then and Now – Joshua Goes Off Grid

Old Testament Characters and Their Strengths: Joshua

If you’re facing a significant transition, you want a person like Joshua on your side to help navigate risk.


Image: Christ for All Nations

Here is a guy who had survived four decades in the wilderness and then went on to lead a years-long, successful military invasion. Afterwards, he negotiated territory settlements for 12 claimants. Joshua knew more than a little about facing risk resourcefully and confidently.

What Joshua Did

Joshua became Moses’s right hand man during Israel’s forty years in the wilderness. At Moses’ death, Joshua was chosen as his successor to lead the Hebrews into the Promised Land and conquer it.

Once the Conquest of Canaan was complete, Joshua supervised the division of territory among Israel’s 12 tribes and led the people to renew their covenant with God. His life demonstrates challenge after challenge, each faced creatively.

Two Approaches to Facing Risk: Pioneering and Structured

When it comes to facing risk, a person’s natural approach lines up on one side or another: Pioneering or Structured. Both are strengths.

While Structured risk takers take on challenges with cautiousness, Pioneering risk takers challenge the usual rules and procedures. Pioneers embrace this unconventional approach with determination and confidence.

Take Joshua, for instance. As a Pioneering risk taker, he faced the Conquest of Canaan with conviction and creativity. It is easy to understand why an entire nation was willing to follow him in a series of military coups with women, children, camels, and tents in tow.

Facing Risk: How God Used Joshua

Joshua was entrusted with no small task: lead an estimated 2.5 – 3.5 million people into enemy territory and occupy it. Yet while camped on the outskirts of Canaan, his first step was resourceful. He secretly sent two spies to scout out the land and the people. The resulting intelligence allowed Joshua to plan his next moves. As he prepared the Hebrews for the invasion, his confidence was contagious. “Tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5, NIV), he told them.

But would you have your troops invade a country across a river at flood stage? In a classic Pioneering move, Joshua went off-grid with an unconventional approach to normal procedures. As priests carried the ark of the covenant across the Jordan, the waters parted and the entire nation of Israel passed across the river (Joshua 3).

Over and over Joshua demonstrated originality in his decisions, from conquering Jericho after encircling the city with trumpet sounds (Joshua 6)  to asking God to the lengthen a day to finish a battle at Gibeon (Joshua 10)  to conquering 6 kings and 31 nations (Joshua 11) throughout Canaan, always seeking God’s guidance as he faced the seemingly insurmountable.

Which is why you want someone like him on your team – both then and now.

Growth Point

God uses Pioneering risk takers to lead resourcefully.


“Tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” (Joshua 3:5, NIV)

Prayer Points

  • Name a Pioneering risk taker you know. What strengths does that person offer when a team faces a challenge?
  • Consider a Pioneering risk taker and a Structured risk taker that work together. Why might God have put them on the same team or in the same family?
  • What have you learned from observing Joshua’s strengths?

Old Testament Characters and Their Strengths

Solving Problems Then and Now: Nehemiah Gets It Done

Processing Information Then and Now: Moses Gets the Facts

Managing Change Then and Now: Abigail’s Steady Diplomacy

Strengths In the Christmas Story

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 1: Solving Problems Together

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 2: Two Ways to Process Information

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 3: Two Ways to Manage Change

Strengths in the Christmas Story, Part 4: Two Ways to Face Risk

Ways the Disciples Used Their Strengths

Part 1: Managing Change – Let’s Go or Let’s Make a Plan

Part 2: Processing Information: That’s Wonderful or Give Me Proof

Part 3: Problem Solving: Fix It Now or One Step at a Time?

Part 4: Facing Risk: Outside the Box or Work the System