When Joshua wouldn’t leave…

Exodus 33:11

Joshua is such a great Bible character that the Holy Spirit thought it worthy to dedicate an entire book in the Bible to Him. The first time he comes up in the Bible was in Exodus 17:9 and it happens to have been when Moses instructed him to go fight the Amalekites. The introduction is no different from what characterized most of Joshua’s life – war. He was a great man of war. He was also Moses’ assistant. The Bible record says he was filled with the spirit, even from a young age. He was also one of the twelve that Moses sent to spy on the land and one of the two that gave a faithful report. He was a type of Christ: like Jesus who completed the salvation work after John the Baptist had prepared the way, Joshua took the Israelites into the promised land after Moses had prepared the way.

But one little detail about Joshua’s life we find only in Exodus 33:11 – that when Moses left the tabernacle, Joshua would stay back and not depart. In the preceding verses, we see that the other people would stay in the door of their tents and worship but Joshua, perhaps being Moses’ servant, did his worship in the tabernacle also, likely not in the most holy place where Moses would have been. But why didn’t he leave? 🤔

  • While the Bible doesn’t say exactly why he did not depart even after Moses had left, we can infer that just like Elisha, perhaps Joshua desired a portion of the blessing that was upon his master. The cloud of God’s presence was visible to all and was present. Joshua perhaps stayed there worshipping continuously, in the hope that God would look upon Him favorably. It’s not clear if at this stage he had any inclination that God had a great plan for his life but whatever the case, his dedication to seeking God’s face is the lesson for us all today. Similar to how Jesus was often in prayer, Joshua was there alone! 
  • Examples of others we know sought God’s face include: Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, David, Hezekiah, Elijah, Elisha, Esther, Deborah, Mary who sat at Jesus feet etc.
  • What does seeking God’s face look like nowadays? It indeed would include spending time being present and serving in His house. It would also very much include spending time studying His word for yourself, comparing scripture with scripture, so you can show yourself aproved by rightfully dividing the word of truth, able to teach others gently and in love. We are also called to enter into the courts of God with thanksgiving and praise (Psalms 100:4). We have the lesson from the lives of the prophets, apostles and Christ on the why, when and how of prayer. Think about it – if Jesus could do nothing of his own will but had to seek the will of the father by constantly praying, how much more important for we fallen human beings? 🤷🏾‍♂️
  • Study, praise, pray, confess the word, obey and practice what you study…the blessings are in the doing and not in the knowing. 🙌🏾

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