Joshua had some great learning opportunities while he was being mentored by Moses. In Exodus 17 he defeated the Amalekites while Moses pleaded for him with upraised hands. After-ward, the Lord told Moses to “write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it” (17:14 NIV). God wanted Joshua to know that his victory came as a result of Moses’ “steady” upraised hands of prayer, not his skill as a military commander: “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning” (17:11-13).
In Exodus 24:13, Moses took Joshua up Mt. Sinai to receive the stone tablets. For 40 days Joshua observed what it was like for Moses to commune with the Lord, and learn from Him. But when they came down from this mountaintop experience with the tablets, Joshua learned that observing another in communion with God does not develop your discernment: “When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, ‘There is the sound of war in the camp.’ Moses replied, ‘It is not … It is the sound of singing’” (32:17-19). And then he saw Moses break the tablets and burn their false-god golden calf.
In Exodus 33 we discover that when Moses set up the “tent of meeting” outside the camp because of the sin in the camp, “Joshua … did not leave the tent.” Why? Because he saw that in the tent “the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (33:11). Here Joshua learned that nearness to God was essential for a strong relationship with God.
If we learn these three lessons from Joshua’s life – that supplication wins more battles than the sword, that discernment is developed in consistent communion with God, and that when we are close to God we’ll hear Him more clearly – we’re off to a good start. This month’s Features have more important lessons to teach us.
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org