Lingering Long – Joshua, The Making of a True Lingerer

A young man named Joshua learned how to linger early in life. But how did this attribute develop? What is the making of a true lingerer — one whose heart is in constant pursuit of God.

Whether it is a good book, pleasant conversation with close friends, or beautiful surroundings, most of us have experienced that same longing to linger, a reluctance to leave. We cling to each moment, not to overstay our welcome, but rather desiring to engage fully in the experience.

Rest in the Lord and wait for His Presence

“The LORD would speak to Moses face to face,
as one speaks to a friend.
Then Moses would return to the camp,
but his young aide Joshua son of Nun
did not leave the tent.”
Exodus 33:11

Here is a perfect example! Duty called Moses to “return to the camp”, while Joshua lingered in the Presence of the LORD.

The Beginnings

Of course, this wasn’t the beginning of Joshua’s God experience. He was among those who witnessed the miraculous intervention of God bringing an entire nation out from the midst of Egypt

“with a mighty hand and outstretched arm
Psalm 136:12

The awesome deeds of God continued in the desert, turning bitter water into sweet, providing daily provision, and defeating Israel’s strong military enemies.

After the desert comes rest

This is where we first meet up with young Joshua.

“Moses said to Joshua,
‘Choose some of our men
and go out to fight the Amalekites.
Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill
with the staff of God in my hands.’ ”
Exodus 17:9

Later on we would get more details about the Amalekites and their guerrilla tactics. At first they picked off the weak and stragglers of the camp; now they form a serious frontal attack on the nation. An impressive foe to be sure! Joshua takes up strategic position on the field, while Moses assumes a safer spot on the hill!

Together, the battle was won! No one lingers on a battlefield! Get in! Do the job! Get out!

Taking a moment to linger over a sunrise

Next Meeting

Our next meeting with Joshua is quite different. God instructs Moses. The camp is directed to stay away from even the foot of Mount Sinai, or they will die.

“Then the LORD said to Moses,
Come up to the LORD,
you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu,
and seventy of the elders of Israel …
but Moses alone is to approach the LORD …”
Exodus 24:1,2

Count them! Out of approximately 2,000,000 people, 74 are invited to meet with God. And they do — face to face! Most people think it was only Moses who saw and talked with God. Actually, this whole group of prestigious leaders received special invitation.

“Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu,
and the seventy elders of Israel went up
and saw the God of Israel
But God did not raise his hand
against these leaders of the Israelites;
they saw God, and they ate and drank.”
Exodus 24:9-11

Linger on the mountain with God

A feast on the mountain! Eating and drinking with God! Who wouldn’t want to be included in this group?  Wouldn’t that change your perspective of God forever? Maybe not! These very leaders would, within days, be involved in mass rebellion, forming a golden calf to worship, then declaring with their own mouths

“These are your gods, Israel,
who brought you up out of Egypt.”
Exodus 32:4

They witnessed God’s miraculous intervention, saw Him in His glory, and tasted of His goodness. Refusing to linger, they left the mountain, and God, quickly following after the delusions of men.

Except for one!

The Uninvited

Have you ever attended an important function uninvited? Honestly, I have been too embarrassed to try. Without an invitation from the host, I have graciously declined several occasions.

What if the host is God — the LORD of all? This invitation was specific, “Moses alone is to approach the LORD”.

“Then Moses set out with Joshua, his aide,
and Moses went up on the mountain of God.
He said to the elders,
Wait here for us until we come back to you…”
Exodus 24:13,14

The leaders were instructed to wait, to linger; they didn’t. Moses was instructed to proceed alone; he didn’t.

Alone but never alone!

Was Moses falling to the old temptation of fear, like he had at the burning bush? Then afraid to approach Israel on his own, he had Aaron join him. Was he again afraid to go alone? There is no preempt to Joshua’s presence.

Uninvited!
Not included in the list of dignitaries!
Not chosen!
A silent, unnoticed witness!
A humble and faithful servant!

Joshua’s humility and servant heart to his master not only gained him access to see the LORD, eat and drink in His Presence, but then to go higher … higher up the mountain.

Lingering Begins

One taste of the Presence of God was not enough. Joshua was never content to boast of his mountain experience, or lounge in yesterday’s glory. What began on the mountain marked Joshua’s life from this point forward.

Waiting and resting!

Every opportunity Joshua had in the Presence of God became one of lingering.

“The LORD would speak to Moses face to face,
as one speaks to a friend.
Then Moses would return to the camp,
but his young aide Joshua son of Nun
did not leave the tent.”
Exodus 33:11

Right here my heart grieves! What draws each of us so easily and quickly away? What duty is so pressing? Why are other pleasures so enthralling? Not just for the young, but also for the mature!

Linger to Lead

It is no surprise that when God summoned Moses to step down from leadership, Joshua was ready as successor.

“The LORD said to Moses,
“Now the day of your death is near.
Call Joshua and present yourselves at the tent of meeting,
where I will commission him.”
So Moses and Joshua came
and presented themselves at the tent of meeting.”
Deuteronomy 31:14

The tent of meeting! The place where Joshua lingered long, refusing to leave God’s Presence, became the very ground of His commissioning into greater service.

How many commissioning moments have been missed because those God would have chosen have failed to linger? How few commissioned are so captivated by the Presence of God they seek nothing else?

It is in His Presence that every promotion, elevation and advancement begins. Here we are transformed, equipped and ordained. Here our hearts remain subtle and wills flexible to the moving of The Spirit and the promptings of God.

Oh that we would all become lingerers, learning from Joshua’s example. That we would inhabit the Presence of God, coming more often and staying longer. What an example to emulate!

Welcome the Presence of God

**********

Further Reading:

A Hero – “If You Need Someone Strong, I’m The One!”

Leadership 101 – Take it from the Eagles

 

 

3 Godly Characteristics – Justice, Mercy and Humility!

Godly Qualities, Justice Mercy & Humility

An awareness of good and evil resides in us all; with that knowledge comes a tendency toward judgmental attitudes. God calls us to three godly principles: justice, mercy and humility. Personally, justice dominates; mercy is lacking, while true humility is a work in progress.

I was chatting with a preschool teacher a little while ago. She was welcoming new students into her class. They are rapidly learning the behavioural expectations of their new environment. The older students are quick to inform her when one of her new charges is going astray.

 Follow the way!

We chuckled at how easy it is to point out someone else’s faults, even though it may be the only moment in the entire day when we ourselves are actually obeying. It isn’t just children that fall into this trap!

He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8

He Has Shown You

What does justice look like where the guilty face the consequences of their actions, while victims are restored their rights and dignity?

God has made the distinction between right and wrong clear in His word and even within our hearts. Before we allow intellectual reasoning unruly access, God’s requirements are obvious, even as these little preschoolers demonstrate.

He has shown you!

Act Justly

Justice is an action! It is something one pursues and does!

“But you must return to your God;
maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.”
Hosea 12:6

I immediately want justice when it is me that has faced offense or some kind of violation, even is minor. Yet, when I have crossed the boundaries of honour into the quick-sand of indifferent regard, I’m not so fast to press for that same justice.

Hypocritical? Yes!

Act justly; love mercy!

 

The only way justice truly works is when it is mixed with a healthy dose of mercy. The two form the right and left hand of godliness.

“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice;
show mercy and compassion to one another.”
Zechariah 7:9

Love Mercy

Righteousness and justice
are the foundation of your throne.”

That is a verse I have quoted many times; perhaps I should say, misquoted in part! Usually this is as far as I would go! I honestly did not know the rest of the verse by memory. How about you?

“…mercy and loving-kindness and truth go before You.”

Often when God talks about justice, He immediately adds mercy! I must remember that mercy is first of all a matter of the heart, “love mercy.”

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!”
Isaiah 30:18

Walk Humbly

I may seem innocent and humble in my own eyes, at least until the Holy Spirit speaks!

Humility and innocence

In reality my heart has a strong bent toward pride – so do we all!|

The more Holy Spirit uncovers the secret thoughts and condition of my heart, the more disgusting I find it is.

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9

Who truly “knows” my heart? The answer is, God does. Yet, He is willing to look inside and show me the contaminated contents as well.

If my heart lies, I will know it; if my heart accuses, I will know that too; but if my heart is deceived, I will not know it unless God reveals it. It is through humility that lies, accusations and even deceptions are revealed for what they truly are.

We can sometimes misinterpret humility as weakness; it is in fact stronger than justice and mercy combined.

Arrogance and Pride

It is humility that keeps my proud nose pointed in the right direction recognizing my own need for transformation, rather than blindly upward. One of the toughest places to demonstrate true humility is in the face of injustice, where the cup of love of mercy appears empty.

Requirements of Humility, Mercy and Justice

Actually, when I reverse the order and put humility first, when I recognize my security in the Father and Christ in me, humility begins to flow rather naturally. Humility, mercy and justice are more than requirements, they are release agents of God’s goodness.

Arrogance has not room in the Presence of God – none! Out of the relationship of love and mercy, love and mercy finds a free flowing channel to influence others. This sweet delicate flow makes wrong things right! Justice begins to naturally invade attitudes and circumstances.

No matter which way you say it – justice, mercy and humility, or humility, mercy and justice – they form a torpedo sandwich catapulting a powerful momentum of strength and dignity into our lives and the lives of those around us.

A requirement is something that is most needed and wanted; it is a necessary condition. God who made us in His own image, says justice, mercy and humility are necessary ingredients for us to re-present Him to our wounded world.

Necessary? Yes!

Wanted? Yes, Lord!

May my life be one that actively pursues justice, generously loves and consistently extends mercy, and gently walks in humility, that I might pattern Christ more fully.

 

Creating a Culture of Honour – Honour God! Honour All!

Culture of Honour

Recognizing the need for honour in a culture of entitlement is not easy. Living a life of honour demonstrates true empowered living.

Today’s society largely focuses on dishonour. Think of how leaders are spoken about in the media, whether their leadership is political, spiritual, or in the marketplace. Dishonour shows up in our driving habits and how we treat those who are in the service industry.  In many ways, we have become too casual in approach to show honour to others.

Honour Authority

Honour is choosing to value others through respect and gratitude. It is a gift we chose to give!

Culture of Entitlement

“I deserve this!”

Entitlement is the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. Neither gratitude nor appreciation surround entitlement. Life is about “me”!

I read that 93 percent of people feel undervalued and unnoticed! The uncomfortable truth is that the more self-focused we become, the less fulfilled we actually are.

93 percent of people feel undervalued and unnoticed! Click To Tweet

As we set our aim to honour entitlement vanishes!

All People

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”
I Peter 2:17

“All” includes people who don’t deserve our honour. We have practiced the feeble philosophy of loving those who love us, respecting those who treat others with respect and honouring those who are worthy of honour.

When we follow this rule, we are allowing the conduct and behaviour of others to dictate how we live. We create judgmental lists of evaluation with headings marked “Worthy!” and “Unworthy!” In so doing, we limit our ability to love Christlike.

Jesus set the bar high as He honoured all!

Honour all

Honour must be intentional and genuinely from the heart! It brilliantly disarms people with what they are not accustomed to seeing.

Simple words like “I’m sorry!”, “Thank you!”,  and “I appreciate you!” are phrases we need to consistently practice creating this renewed culture. They are especially effective when spoken to the undeserving!

A Reward

The first command with promise is connected to honour! In showing value and appreciation to previous generations, we are promised to live a long enough life to influence and impact others.

“Honor your father and your mother,
that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”
Exodus 20:12

Honour Elderly

As we honour, we are granted increased influence and favour.

“If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God,
you will be given the same reward as a prophet.
And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness,
you will be given a reward like theirs.”
Matthew 10:41

Some bible versions use the word “honour” instead of “receive”. To receive someone is, in fact, a demonstration of honour.

Everyone wins in a culture of honour! In preferring others for their position, spiritual gifts, character, or even for no particular reason at all, we are promised reward! 

We get to participate in what we are willing to honour! Click To Tweet

Leaders

Good leaders know how to follow well!

In blessing those in leadership, you yourself have patterned a culture of honour for those who will some day follow you. In following well a person is actually validating their own ability to lead well!

During a military battle, the Israelites were winning as long as Moses held his staff above his head. But his arms grew weary. Every time his arms fell, the enemy began to triumph. Although Aaron was a leader in his own right, he willingly came underneath to hold up his leader.

What a beautiful example of honouring leadership!

“we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you,
and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
… 
to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.
…be at peace among yourselves.”
I Thessalonians 5 :12-13

Honour Leadership

We have no way of knowing how many “hits” our leadership take for us each day. They are in the front lines making decisions that effect many more people than we realize. When Satan’s arrows fly, our leaders get hit first!

Although we have all probably experienced poor or self-seeking leadership, in choosing to value and appreciate leadership we are empowering them to have their greatest impact.

Grace to Honour

We each have opportunity daily to demonstrate this quality in our homes, communities, and workplaces.

I find that when I honour in my heart, my words and actions will follow. The battle for me is to maintain a pure heart and mind.

The hardest person to lead is ourselves; so give yourself patience as you practice the grace of honour. Don’t give up! You may face rejection or fail! With time and effort we can each make a difference in our spheres of influence. Lead the way!

Let’s make honour contagious!

__________

Leave a comment or subscribe here!

The Way Up is Down! Go Low! The Rewards of Humility!

Humility

Willingness to bend, submit, and yield go against the grain of human instinct. Yet, the only way up is down! The rewards to humility are many!

I am the mother of five robust sons; all exceed my height and frame by a country mile. It is only in the last ten years or so that they have given up challenging me in a “tangle”. Out of fear of hurting me I’m sure!

In younger years when they would test my strength, I would first give them a look that questioned their sanity! You know the look a Momma gives her insolent young? The look that says, “You really don’t want to go there!”

If the look didn’t make them back down, my tenacity often would. The never-give-an-inch grit that went low and dug hard was predictably effective.

Go Low

Go Low!

Decide in advance to go low!

Jesus noticed his group of followers patterned themselves all too easily by the cultural norm of jostling for positions of status and favour. Many times through parables or simply talking straight, he illustrated the truth that humility precedes honour.

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke14:10-11

Kingdom principles work in complete opposite to earthly ones. The only way up is to chose to go low! It is far better to have someone else assign you a place of honour than to presume one upon yourself and end up humiliated.

Humility

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves”
Philippians 2:3

Expectation

One of my favorite biblical illustrations of someone going low is the woman with the issue of blood.

“She had suffered a great deal under the care
of many doctors and had spent all she had,
yet instead of getting better she grew worse.”
Mark 5:26

She approached from a low position with high expectation.

“Just then a woman who had been
subject to bleeding for twelve years
came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.”
Matthew 9:20

Expectation

This poor woman risked big! She wasn’t supposed to be in public without crying out, “Unclean! Unclean!” Yet here she was on her hands and knees in the middle of a moving crowd with one intention, touch the hem of his garment. She knew with all her being that is she did, she would be healed!

There is no mention of how many times she trampled or kicked in the process.

Jesus instantly knew something supernatural had happened. The disciples laughed it off. Dozens had touched Jesus that day as the crowd bumped along. Only one was healed!

That one was a woman who purposely went low with high expectation! Healing was hers!

Lift Them Up

Going low is the best position to lift others up. For me, the most exciting part of ministry to see others being propelled forward into excellence. I love being the one who comes underneath and gives others a boost!

Boost

It often doesn’t take much effort. At other times, however, it may require walking beside someone for years to see them advance into their full calling.

None the less it is thrilling!

Only when we position ourselves intentionally beside someone are we close enough to give them momentum to excel.

Humility

The rewards of humility are multiple! Giving our lives for the benefit of Christ and others fills one with a sense of richness.

Humility Honour

The greatest illustration of humility is Christ Himself!

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
 rather, he made himself nothing
 by taking the very nature of a servant,
 being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
 he humbled himself
 by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
 and gave him the name that is above every name,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
 in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”
Philippians 2:5-10

He took the form of humanity created from the dust of the earth! God became dirt! The Sinless and Holy wrapped in flesh! We will not fully comprehend the depth of humility Christ walked until we see Him enthroned in the place of majesty, dominion, and power –

crowned in glory,
exalted in power,
radiant in beauty,
awesome in majesty,
excellent in perfection.

Crowned in glory, exalted in power, radiant in beauty, awesome in majesty, excellent in perfection. Click To Tweet

What little He is asking from us to joyfully assume a low position to honour Him and others!

__________

Further Reading –

Faith or Fear? Which Will We Choose?

Setting the Goal of Love – Hit the Target!