The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. Exodus 33:11 (NIV)
In this passage we see a common occurrence of "wilderness living." Moses, the Israelite leader would take a certain tent and pitch it some distance away from the regular camping area. That tent was labeled the "Tabernacle." The word tabernacle simply means tent or temporary dwelling. Many translations use the term "Tent of Meeting." I love this moniker because it indicates to me that even when I am between promise and manifestation, God still desires to commune with me. The Bible lets us know that everyone that inquired of the Lord went to the Tent.
The entire text for this lesson is found in verses 7-11. We see that Moses went to the Tent to meet with God. God did not disappoint. Jehovah God's presecence is seen by the leading, cloudy pillar descending to cover the entrance. All the people saw this great sight. They worshipped from their respective tent doors. While inside, God and Moses speak as two friends talking. When the conversation concludes, Moses leaves and goes back to his household tent. This is not a really fascinating story until you read the last line of verse 11. Joshua did not depart from the Tent.
No one even mentioned that Joshua was there. In all of Moses' writings he does not say that he asked Joshua to accompany him. The Bible does not say that either Moses or God ever acknowledged Joshua's presence during their dialogue. But, I find it prophetic when Moses says that Joshua remained.
We never hear of God speaking to Joshua until after Moses is dead. (Joshua 1:2) It is at that time that he receives his call as the leader of the Israelites. What qualifies him to be Moses' successor? Moses was raised as a prince. He was the grandson of Pharaoh. He was highly educated and privileged. On the contrary, Joshua was born a slave. All he knew was hard work and fighting. I surmise that his qualification is found in the time he spent in the Tent.
In the Tent, Joshua learned to sit in the presence of God. He experienced what God's voice sounded like even though He was not speaking to him. In the Tent, Joshua learned that although your leader goes home, God is there.
This article is meant to encourage young people. Things will not always be as they are now. One day the Moses in your life will pass on. They may not die but they may retire or move away. Who is to say that God cannot use you to be the next leader? Your response may be, "but I don't know…", or "I can't do….." If you learn now to stay in the place of prayer, you will be able to answer the call as Joshua did. God told him not be afraid because He would not fail him. (Joshua 1:5-6)
Where is this illustrious place of prayer? Should we set up tents in our backyards to fellowship with God? I say," not." Ironically, the Tallit that we use in prayer comes to mind. The word tallit means "little tent." Within that shawl one has a portable place to meet God. Our pastor always says that, "the place of prayer is the place of power." Of course I agree. I now see that it is also a place of promotion.
Do not depart from the Tent!