Joshua: Faith Serves
It has been said that the most difficult instrument to learn to play well is “second fiddle." The art of assuming a subsidiary role to another is a great test of one’s pride, flexibility, strengths, will, and humility.
The 2½ million nomadic tribe is suddenly under assault. The Amalekites, apparently sensing some threat from this large mass of people invading their territory, decide that war is wiser than diplomacy and attack with all their forces. Without introduction we read, “So Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose men for us, and go out, fight against Amalek. I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.’” Exodus 17:9
There you go. “You, young man, go down on the line of battle and put up a good showing. I will go up on the hill for a ring-side seat to the slaughter.” Interesting to read that Moses had full confidence in Joshua’s ability to not only lead the forces but also to execute the drafting of select team-members. In reality, the greatest leader to arrive on the stage of history has declared his confidence in the power of prayer and also in the leadership strength of one young man.
For forty years we catch glimpses of our man, Joshua. He appears sporadically on the pages of the movements of Israel. And each time we read his name, we find this description, “Joshua, the servant of Moses." Playing second fiddle was a vocation for Joshua—and he played it very well! Around the great leader was a team of 70 elders who shared the weight of shepherding the people. And inside that circle of leadership partners stood Miriam and Aaron, the closest of family. (My son says, “Nepotism is a good thing, IF you can keep it in the family!”) So in reality there was no grand reward for carrying all the incidental duties of serving Moses. There was no corporate ladder to climb. There were no palatial corner offices toward which to ascend. There was no potential “presidential” seat or CEO door plaque to be earned. For forty years (40 years!) Joshua simply carried the responsibilities of second fiddle.
But what he could never perceive and what was never promised, God was preparing. There would ultimately be very big sandals to fill! Moses would be marked in Biblical history as the greatest prophet ever—one who spoke to people for God and to God for people. Who could EVER be found to stand in such a position?! Yet we read, “Now Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.” Deuteronomy 34:9
Do you aspire to great things? Do you dream of ultimate impact and leadership privilege? Then take a page from the journal of Joshua. The greatest among you must first be your servant. Be faithful right where you are. And descend into your greatness! Sign up to play “second fiddle.” Serve your way to leadership!
See you Sunday, Church!