5. Joshua: Administration

I spend a lot of time with bosses and with their personal assistants.  The script is pretty predictable.

The PA works hard for weeks to sort out all the gritty little details of my trip.  There are e-mails flying every which way, with variations and confirmations of each facet of what is supposed to transpire.

But when I come, it is the boss who goes out to dinner with me, while the PA settles for the four second introduction to me — if we happen to meet in the hallway!  It’s the boss who gets to explore the God-ordained social DNA of the company, learn how to weave together the redemptive gifts of different players, and ultimately to envision a bold new trajectory for the company as he seeks to erase the line between the secular and the sacred.

Meanwhile, the PA makes coffee, reservations and juggles the phone calls from people who want to talk to the boss.

At the end of my time there, the boss is excited and energized as he joyously informs the PA about the new projects that the tired PA gets to add to his already overflowing To-Do List!  Clearly the boss has an inside track on meeting with God while the PA does all the heavy lifting.

With that grid, I have wondered for years about Joshua.  We all know the story of his boss going out to the tent where God was waiting for him.  He had God-on-demand like no other person in the world ever has had.  Moses could ask Him anything about everything, any time.  The boss had perks, no doubt about it.

But there is a simple verse tucked into the story in Exodus 33:11.  “Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”  NIV

There are layers and layers here.  I checked the Hebrew, and as near as I can tell, Joshua was actually INSIDE the tent with Moses.  So he too saw God and listened to the dialog between the boss and God.  Fascinating.

There is no mention of his face shining like Moses’ face did so being the kind of guy who looks around the edge of everything, I wonder about that.  Why didn’t he get juiced too?

Second, it is very clear that the PA’s union back then had a much better labor contract than most of the personal assistants I have seen lately.  Moses was a busy man.  He had places to go, people to see and things to do, so he was a bit limited in how much time He could spend with God, but Joshua seemed to have nothing pressing in his inbox.  He had the luxury of being able to hang out with God endlessly while the boss pounded out a bruising work load.

But the million dollar question is what it was like for Joshua and God when MISTER Exhorter left the tent with all his emotional energy.

Did God exit out the top of the tent as Moses was leaving through the front flap?  If so, did Joshua hang out in the tent just mulling over what God had explained to Moses about administrative procedures, trying to see the wisdom behind the commands?

Or was he a land guy?  Did he rush over to where God had been and lay on the ground to receive every last vestige of anointing that was left there?  Or would that have been extreme sacrilege?  Did he stay motionless in his corner, worshipping with his spirit without daring to even make a sound?

If God stayed, was Joshua the Mercy content to just hang out with God silently, enjoying His presence without commentary?

Or did their spirits partake in a robust engagement, wrapped in utter silence from soul and body?

OR . . . did Joshua engage in his own verbal dialog with God once Moses had gone back to work?  If so, did he simply ask for clarification on the boss’s issues, or did he open up whole new areas of dialog — Mercy queries that the Exhorter never would have thought of?

I have circled around that verse hundreds of times in the last 50 years and so far have found not a single clue that would answer any of those questions.  The boss left and the PA stayed in the tent.


Yet absolutely loaded with possibilities.

But at the end of the day, it made Joshua a very simple man.  Decades later when he was leading Israel, he had a remarkably distilled world view:  Nothing gets in God’s way!

So, when the command was clear that all the enemy troops were to be destroyed, and the darkness was getting in Gods way, Joshua unhesitatingly commanded the darkness to punch pause, because he needed the light for a while longer.


Moses got a rod that was charged with the power of God and some instructions on what to do with it.

Joshua leveraged the most improbable assignment (PA) into having his life charged with the nature of God.

And the difference between those two rings down through the ages.

Father, there are many people in the world who walk in the shadows of the people who seem to walk with You.  They appear destined to only know You vicariously through the lives of others. 

We invite You to bring them to Balmoral and to free them from the burden of serving Your servants so they can be served by You.  As with Joshua, we invite You to impart to them on this land the reality of who You are, not just Your wisdom for dealing with life’s problems.

Let the faithful people who have served so well behind the scenes, setting the stage for the high profile people, have their own encounter with You, on this land.

Copyright November 2011 by Arthur Burk

Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

This entry was posted in 5. Onramps to Heaven. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 5. Joshua: Administration

  1. Rev. Anna Glover says:

    What if Joshua wasn’t a PA? I believe he was the Mentee. PA’s don’t inherit kingdoms; David, a PA to sheep or mentored by the ardors of a flock? Joseph, a PA to Pharaoh or mentored by the ardors of a prison? Job, a PA or mentored by the ardors of suffering amongst friends? Daniel a PA or mentored by a sadistic king? None were hirelings paid to serve. 12 Disciples placed next to a King, followed around not knowing what was next and not getting what was next, finally sleeping on the job arguing who would be the next greatest leader. PA’s? Jesus reminded them to serve, fast, pray. If PA’s there aren’t too many examples of them serving. All were divinely placed next to leaders for instruction before inheriting greatness or riches. Yes to all your observations of insider privileges status. But Joshua’s very status was not as a hireling’s and by proximity did he enjoy the perks as part of his training as Trainee, Mentee. ‘ Moses Mentor to Joshua Mentee. But yes, your point of the detail person missing the communion meal is a poignant one. Perhaps a question to pose to Leaders and Business Owners is; Is your PA your intended replacement? I’d suppose not. But if their answer is, possibly; the inclusion of the PA might be urged or that the PA at least be given a sabbatical living alone outside in a tent on a mountain, be thrown into a fire, or at least a prison, or be exposed to some skin corrupting disease called scabies or be threatened by an entire town with stoning or prison, to learn the leadership skill of humility.

  2. David McCollum says:

    Whatever may have happened between God and Joshua PA in the Tent, he grew in character and gifts to this point of transition: “As I was with Moses so will I be with you, only be careful to obey all….” Joshua reached full stature as a spiritual son partly because Moses wanted him to. Maybe PAs need to also be sons…whose boss/fathers give as much as they take? Just a thought…

  3. Elisabeth Le Lion says:

    Hello Arthur,

    It’s amazing to think that Joshua was a mercy and he had the boldness and confidence to lead Israel in victory around Jericho.
    He must have been a very mature Mercy.
    How I long to grow up into maturity and walk in dominion as a Mercy. I was appalled at myself two days ago having a difficult time praying out loud and blessing a small group of worshippers and intercessors – people I mostly already knew!! I want to move past this displaced fear of man and walk in blessing of presence, etc with confidence! Any ideas s out how I can grow into dominion in my Mercy gift? Blessings to you at The SLG, Elisabeth

  4. Joyce McLain says:

    thank you for these blogs. I wrote down “Nothing gets in the God’s way” on a post-it note. I had an opportunity to work with someone on a documentary, and it doesn’t look good right now. I will pray this word.

  5. D. J. says:

    How incredibly beautiful ….. and what a blessing!! As the tears of gratitude stream down my face, I feel encouraged and strengthened to keep on keeping on. Thanks for the renewal by taking a moment to value those of us “in the background” (whether with a special conference or in a secular job)! While recognizing our “work is unto the Lord”, I didn’t realize how deeply it sometimes hurts to consistently be brushed aside while making others successful until my spirit sang with the words put forth in this article! Thank you!!

  6. James says:

    As a servant-mercy, who has served as PA for several leaders, I say, “Make it so!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s