“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua… did not leave the tent.”— Exodus 33:11
I have loved this verse for a long, long time. The extraordinary picture of Moses and God meeting “face to face” is followed by another picture that is very easy to miss. That picture is of Moses’ aide, Joshua, staying behind in the “tent of meeting” where Moses and God had just finished meeting and talking as friends.
We do not have recorded for us in scripture what transpired in the tent between Joshua and God once Moses had left. But what we do have recorded for us later is the extraordinary leadership of Joshua… a leadership style and success that could only come from a man who knew his God.
Joshua did not wait for God to approach him and anoint him. Joshua instead approached God and sought Him, waiting on Him in private. No one really knew the story of him staying behind after Moses would appear from within the tent of meeting. Everyone was too intent on hearing what Moses had to say after meeting with God to notice that Joshua was peculiarly absent.
Being peculiarly absent has its benefits when our hiding place is in the “tent of meeting,” where God meets with those who wait in His Presence.