If it is understood that God is the foremost Servant, then things will be understood as they ought to be understood. The servant must possess the skills that are needed in service. Such skills must be acquired. There are skills to be learnt. There are dispositions to put on, in addition to the right heart.
Moses needed a most able person to serve him and, in that way, advance the purposes of God. Joshua fitted in and God’s purposes were advanced, and the needs of Moses met. Can you imagine the disaster that Joshua would have caused to the interests of God, to Moses and to himself had he said, “l want to be a leader in my own right. I want to start my own thing. I, too, want to be the boss. I, too, want to have the last say in all matters”? He would have gone away. He would have started his own thing. To some extent, he would have been successful. However, the loss to God, to Moses and to himself would have been great beyond telling. He would have walked away from God’s perfect will and God’s perfect placement, into the will of Joshua and the placement of Joshua. How sad the end would have been!
Someone appointed by the Lord to be a very good second in command will receive God’s fullest blessings as he serves from that position. He will manifest great potential as long as he stays there. If he moves away, out of selfish ambition, he will suffer severe loss.
There are different positions of leadership. There is the position of commander or leader, and there is the position of manager. Provided the manager remains in the managerial position, all will be alright. If, however, he moves away from that position, he will soon get into difficulty.
Moses was a great leader. He had an unusual relationship with God. He spoke face to face with God. However, when it came to warfare, he fought the battle before God in prayer, whereas Joshua fought the battle before man. This was alright while there were few battles to fight, and there was abundant need for revelation. Thus Moses, with his unusual spirituality and unusual relationship to God, was the right leader. God ordained it so and each fitted in with joy.
In the land of Canaan, things were to be different. It was to be war, war and war.
In that situation, the number one person needed had to be a man of war, and Joshua became the number one person. He did not possess Moses’ relationship with God and, to help him to find out things from God, he was told to use the Urim. The Bible says,
“So the Lord said to Moses, `Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so that the whole Israelite community will obey him. He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by enquiring of the Urim before the Lord’” (Numbers 27:18-21).
Moses obtained things directly from the Lord. Joshua had to obtain them through Eleazar, who would enquire things of the Urim before the Lord!
Do you see the difference between the two men? Do you see the roles they were framed for? Do you see that Joshua could not have come before Moses?
Have you moved away from the Lord’s will for your life, because you want to be independent? Have you calculated what it will cost you? You may complain about your leader, but are you sure that you are not motivated by some selfish ambition to have your own
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Have you ever really served the person from whom you want to tear yourself, or from whom you have torn yourself? Be careful. Pride goes before a fall. You may be gazing at his faults, but have you thought about how obvious your faults will be when you take his position or occupy a position like his? Had you not better give up your rebellion and love of independence, and get back to being the servant that you were meant to be?