Saturday, February 2, 2013
Better Caught than Taught
Better Caught than Taught
Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then he would return to the camp; but his young assistant, Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the tent.
Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight. ’
Moses often felt alone in his leadership of the Israelites. He felt inadequate for the job and wanted help but he was also, at times, a micromanager. There weren't many that he felt he could trust. That's also understandable because even his own brother and sister had not always been faithful to the calling of God. Yet, Moses did put trust in Aaron because God had assigned Aaron to be his mouthpiece.
Moses' father-in-law, Jethro came to visit and had to help Moses establish a system of management of the people. Moses was, again, trying to micromanage the system and had trouble seeing that there were capable leaders within the camp. Now we find Moses again feeling like he is all alone.
Moses met regularly with God in the tent of meeting. Here he had personal, one on one conversations with God. Somewhere along the line Moses had invited a young man to come and assist him in the tent of meeting. It was Joshua. No one else got to stay in that tent and experience God and even when Moses wasn't there, Joshua was. Moses didn't seem to notice what was happening with Joshua. In Moses' prayer to God he cries out for someone to go with him in the journey. Does he not see the young Joshua? Does Joshua somehow not fit the mold of what Moses thinks he needs? Evidently not, and yet young Joshua is experiencing God in a way that no one else in the camp ever will. He learns from watching and experiencing life with Moses what it meets to have a deeply intimate relationship with God, and while Moses is possibly whining about needing a helper...the helper is listening and blossoming right before him.
How often do our preconceived notions get in the way of us seeing God's answer to prayer? Moses didn't seem to notice that he was personally involved in helping to shape the very type of man that he felt he needed to assist him in the work. God is raising up new leadership all the time. Our problem is that sometimes we just fail to see it! Sometimes young leadership fails to match up to our ideal. Joshua went on to be a great leader of the Israelites; much better than Aaron.
Of significance in this story is how Joshua was mentored. We don't know that Moses directly taught him and it could appear that what shaped and informed him was what he experienced. He had caught what it meant to be in a deeply personal relationship with God. That is not something that can be taught...it is something to observe and to experience.
As we mentor the upcoming generations we have to understand that what we do will speak louder than what we say. We must be willing to be vulnerable and transparent about our Christian faith and bring young people into that space and fellowship with us. There is great responsibility in that place because they can see right through us...they can tell if this is real or not. Moses had a genuine and transparent relationship with God. He had his own human and personal weaknesses and yet what Joshua experienced was a man deeply in love with God. A man who spoke directly with God on a daily basis and was obedient to no one but God. This is what he caught!
Lord, may my life be so bathed in you that there will be a new generation that will be able to catch something from you and me. Amen