Moshe appoints Yehoshua to take his place after he is gone. In his instructions to Yehoshua we are told he said: לְעֵינֵי כָל יִשְׂרָאֵל חֲזַק וֶאֱמָץ,
“…before the eyes of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous’ ”. What did he imply with this advice to him?
Yehoshua was Moshe’s assistant throughout the wanderings in the Wilderness. Yehoshua understood the personality of Moshe. He knew Moshe was a modest individual. In fact, the Torah tells us about Moshe, וְהָאִישׁ מֹשֶׁה עָנָיו מְאֹד מִכֹּל הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר עַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה, “Now the man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any person on the face of the earth.” (Num. 12,3)
This is a wonderful trait for a leader but there are times when strength and forcefulness are required. On many occasions Moshe admonished the people and even scolded them. This is what Moshe was saying to Yehoshua.
“You can be modest. That is fine, but if you want to be a true and successful leader, there are times when you will have to act forcefully and resort to means that may not find favor in the eyes of the people. That is why he said to him, חֲזַק וֶאֱמָץ, “Be strong and courageous’ ”.
We see around us many leaders who try to be loveable to all and they get nothing accomplished. Leaders must have the courage to take a stand, even if it seems unfavorable to their people. They must be prepared to make decisions even if some people will disagree and may even be hurt by the action. To be a true leader one must act according to his understanding when a principle is involved.