by Bill Johnson
One of the best-known stories in the Bible is about the Lord and His uniquely chosen servant, Moses, who was invited into the presence of the Lord in a greater measure than any man had ever seen.
It came to pass when Moses entered the tabernacle that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle and the Lord talked with Moses (Exodus 33:9).
Moses came into the actual presence of God. But it's important to remember that he wasn't even born again. If dwelling in the glory of God was available to him, how much more has the blood of Jesus made this available for us!
While this chapter is primarily about Moses and the glory he encountered, I'd like to focus on Joshua.
And all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshipped, each man in his tent door. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
Joshua did not depart from the dwelling place of God's glory! Joshua became known as a great warrior because He led Israel into the land of promises. Moses wasn't allowed to take them in because of his disobedience at a very critical point in Israel's journey. Joshua was Moses' right hand man, his assistant, the one he was training and mentoring on life. Moses would go outside the camp when the Lord summoned him. (Intimacy with God is always outside the religious camp. Even if you go with a crowd of a thousand people, it is still a one-on-one issue.) When Moses went to meet with the Lord, Joshua would go to the tent door and wait. He was aware of God talking with Moses inside. Lying facedown at the door while God was talking with Moses must have been the highlight of Joshua's life. All of Israel saw it. They would likewise fall on their faces and stay there until Moses would emerge with a fresh message from God. Israel heard the thunderings and saw the lightnings and heard the voice of the Lord in the tent.
If anyone was positioned for fame and popularity, it was Joshua. Because he was Moses' right hand man, he easily could have let everyone know, “I work with this man. He just met with God face to face, and I'm his friend.” But if you look at this passage, Joshua doesn't even show up in the story until Moses left the presence to carry out his God-given assignment. I would like to suggest the reason the Lord chose Joshua is that he remained in the glory when it would have been easy to seek the glory of man. Not all the “assistants” in Scripture were chosen to succeed their master. Some of the prophets found that those they poured their lives into were not the kind of people that God wanted to take their mantle of anointing. As a result, those associates never stepped into their destiny.
I would like to suggest that Joshua's value for the presence of God is what made him stand out head and shoulders above everybody else around him. He wasn't in leadership for the recognition of man. He wasn't in it even for the thrill of the outcome of Moses' encounters with God. Joshua stayed at the tent because of his love for God's presence, his love for His glory.