Imagine keeping your Bible in a gold chest the size of a foot-locker. The lid of the chest is solid gold and there is an elaborate golden angel at each end, with a space big enough to sit between them. Every time you open the lid and get your Bible out to read it, God himself joins you and takes a seat on the chest between the golden angels. Whatever you read, He is there to explain it.
That’s how God set things up for Moses. He promised to meet Moses there, over the written word engraved by His own fingers. In Exodus 25:22 God says, “There, above the cover between the two cherubs that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you…”
So whenever Moses wanted to speak with God, he entered the tabernacle or the tent of meeting and “he heard the Voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the Testimony.”
I think not.
God speaks to us over, under, around, and through His Word, our Bible. When we read He gives us special insight that we probably wouldn’t get just walking in the park. I believe His Holy Spirit hovers closely when we open and read the Bible expectantly.
Early in the morning, I like to sit and read my well-worn Bible in my favorite purple chair. I look out my window at a beautiful God-created landscape, and sense his leading, his teaching me how to obey and follow Jesus. And in worship, I love to listen to the Word sung in praise songs and proclaimed in powerful preaching. But God wants His Word in my life all the time, 24/7.
So these days, I keep the Bible on my phone, at my fingertips all day. I use the YouVersion app, with its numerous translations in countless languages. And God meets me there, too. I might be waiting in line at the store, the doctor’s office, or the post office, and an encounter with God’s living Word is only a click away. The Upper Room and Jesus Calling devotional apps quench my daily thirst for life-giving water.
God meets us in the Bible. Don’t keep it on the shelf or in a golden box. Take it out and meet Him there.
There are many biblical examples of great leaders – Moses, David, Peter, Paul – but let’s just take a look at Joshua. Born a slave in Egypt, Joshua rose slowly over many years into the primary leadership role for the entire nation of Israel. An impressive transition on many levels. The life of Joshua spans more than the book bearing his name. He is mentioned in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, too. From his story we can see five basic elements of great leadership.
1. Watch a real leader at work. When Moses finally led the people out of Egypt, Joshua watched as he gave credit solely to God (Exodus 15:1-21) He witnessed at close range the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. (Exodus 24:13-14) He listened as Moses interceded for the people after they worshiped the Golden Calf. (Exodus 32:11-14) Joshua waited outside the “tent of meeting” when Moses met with the Lord (Exodus 33:11) He witnessed the construction of the ark in which Moses was commanded to carry the law, some manna, and evidence of a miracle. (Exodus 25:10-22)
In short, Joshua learned some of the keys to great leadership by watching Moses, one of the greatest leaders of all time.
2. Be patient. Moses had to be very patient with complainers in the midst of the large assembly. People did not readily trust Moses or God to bring them into the Promised Land. Remember they had been slaves for 400 years. When Joshua, Caleb, and ten others were sent to spy out the land God had promised, the people overwhelmingly voted to live in fear. (Numbers 13 and 14) This resulted in 40 more years of wilderness wandering. Ouch. Patience, when you know what to do, is hard. Sometimes it takes way more time than it should for the people to see what the leader can see at once.
3. Be courageous. When Moses’ work is done, Joshua is commissioned. He is told over and over to “be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:6,7,9) With his 40 + year internship under Moses, Joshua had the courage that comes from faith and the strength that comes from discipline. He would need all of that when facing the native peoples of the land of Canaan.
4. Stay grounded. The greatest mistake made by leaders throughout history is forsaking the principles and character qualities that helped them rise to power. Moses left both a fine example and specific instructions on how Joshua and all the people were to remember and follow the laws handed down on Mt. Sinai. To his credit, Joshua made certain to keep these laws close by. He rooted out problems as soon as they cropped up, and acted honorably in every decision he was called upon to make. Integrity must be intentional for a leader. Joshua demonstrated this throughout his career.
5. Learn from history. Joshua understood that people have short memories. They quickly forget what God has done, and wander into dangerous territory with nothing but their foolish pride. As soon as the people crossed into the Promised Land, Joshua supervised construction of a stone monument so that all would remember what God had done in getting them from Egypt to the Jordan River. (Joshua 4) Later, he built an altar at Mt. Ebal (Joshua 8) with giant stone billboards containing God’s laws, so that everyone could see them. And finally, in Joshua 24, he set up a “stone of remembrance” at Shechem. If leaders keep in mind what has led to success in the past, they are better able to apply those practices for success in the future. Joshua exemplified this type of leadership.
Teens today need good role models for leadership. A study of Joshua teaches how young people can learn much from mentors and from history while they are waiting for their chance to shine. An excellent in-depth study is Joshua: Strong and Courageous.
What Joshua learned most of all from his mentor, Moses, was this:
The key to great leadership is a close relationship with God.