“Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.”
– Exodus 33:11
For the month of June I’ve been focusing on the study and practice of prayer, investing significantly more time than I have in the past in the Lord’s presence. I can honestly say that it’s been the most spiritually refreshing and empowering couple weeks I’ve had in quite some time. It’s inspired and encouraged me for the work that I have before me each day. I am convinced that the thing the young man or woman who aspires to follow Christ and make disciples needs more than anything else is to spend significant, intentional time before the Lord in the Word and in prayer.
Learn from your elders
Joshua understood this. Exodus 33:11 records that this young man, Moses’ assistant, made sure to be present when Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord. He joined the person who God has placed over him and observed, learning the ways that Moses interacted with the Lord and growing in knowledge, faith, and love. Rather than presuming to go on his own, Joshua entered the tent with Moses and thereby honored the authority placed over him.
Young leaders (I include myself in that category) need to be keenly aware of the authority that is over them. Jesus tells a parable warning against taking the best seat at the table lest the host tell you that it was reserved for someone else. Instead, we should take the low seats, joyfully do the menial tasks, quietly observe the discussions, and realize that we have much to learn.
Linger after your elders
Joshua doesn’t stop there, however. Even after Moses left to return to the Israelite camp and the day-to-day work he “would not depart from the tent.” Joshua lingers after his elder has left in the presence of God, developing in himself a steadfastness and faithfulness that lasts him even to old age. This extra time in the presence of God, I believe, is part of why Joshua is faithful to the end of his life where Moses eventually sins and is called out of leadership because of disobeying God’s command. (Numbers 20) He understood his desperate need for the Lord because of his youth and his inexperience and acted accordingly.
I want to be, and I want the men and women of Threshingfloor to be, a generation that lingers long in the tent of meeting. If we build significant space for prayer, worship, and study of the scriptures into our lives while we are in college, single, and free from many of the commitments that come later in life those habits will carry us for years to come. We need to remember that it is there in the presence of our Lord and King that the battle is decided. All of our preparation and strategy is worthless if we are not following His call in our lives.
Observe Joshua well. Learn from the men and women of God that have gone before you. Be humble enough to acknowledge your inexperience and need for leadership. Then invest more in your own growth by reading, praying, studying, observing, and practicing. By doing so you will prepare yourself to conquer nations for Christ.