How to Go Further
by Jeremy Miller
For a lot of you reading this today, you aren’t yet where you want to be. Maybe you feel worthy of a promotion at work, like you deserve the starting slot on a sports team at school, or like you should be the one to lead a certain ministry at church – but it just hasn’t happened yet. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing that you’re yearning for more. As long as it isn’t totally self-focused, ambition can be really good and necessary, and it’s great to reach beyond ourselves and push for a greater role. And yet in the waiting, we can grow frustrated.
Today, I want to share with you what to do in the meantime.
Moses and Joshua
Joshua was destined to succeed Moses, but I don’t know if he always knew that or not. When Moses was first leading the tribes of Israel, Joshua was his servant. That probably meant some washing and running errands, mundane tasks that he must have been tempted to feel above from time to time. Nevertheless, for decades, Joshua served Moses. Joshua stood at the ready, listening to Moses’ wisdom, watching his mistakes and his triumphs.
Additionally, Moses, as the leader of God’s people, had unique access to God that others did not have. As Moses’ servant, some of that blessing trickled down to Joshua. Take a look at what God says when the Israelites arrive at Mt. Sinai:
Then [the Lord] said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and seventy of the elders of Israel, and you shall worship at a distance. Moses alone, however, shall come near to the Lord, but they shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him.”
- Exodus 24:1-2
God spoke to Moses before handing down the law and the covenant. The leaders of Israel were to assemble and worship at a distance, but only Moses was to approach the holy mountain.
But then we read this:
So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. But to the elders he said, “Wait here for us until we return to you.”
Exodus 24:13-14a, emphasis added
Not only do we get this information here, but in later chapters when Moses has to go back down the mountain, it’s clear in that text as well that Moses took Joshua part of the way with him.
We don’t know how far up the mountain he went, but what we do know is that Joshua was able to go farther than all of his peers – and even farther than leaders that probably outranked him – due to his relationship with Moses.
The Moral of the Story
This is really what I want us to think about. Joshua would go on to become the leader of Israel, but it would take quite some time – literally decades. But all of this service was preparation for him, and by the honor that he showed Moses, he was able to grow closer to God and to go further than he would have otherwise been able. Honoring Moses opened opportunities to Joshua that were not open to others.
The leaders in our lives are not perfect. There are some renowned Christian leaders who have trouble being kind, or are impulsive, or don’t always make the right call. If we show our God-ordained leaders honor, however, I believe that we will be the beneficiaries of God’s grace, sort of like Joshua. When we humble ourselves to learn from the wisdom and anointing of our leaders/bosses/coaches – and we humble ourselves to be patient in our roles of service – God prepares us for whatever’s coming next.
To learn more about this principle of honor and how it can invite God’s blessings into your life, I strongly encourage you to watch Pastor Mark’s sermon, The Power of Honor, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDo752Pp3NI