Daily Thoughts from Numbers: Leadership Succession

The LORD said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the people of Israel. When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold me as holy at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)

Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the LORD may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight. You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey.  And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.” And Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and made him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation, and he laid his hands on him and commissioned him as the LORD directed through Moses.  (Numbers 27:12-23 ESV)

Moses is not allowed to go into Canaan because he struck the rock instead of speaking to it, a violation of Yahweh’s holy symbol of Messiah’s’ two comings.  But Moses is concerned about a transition of authority and requests that Yahweh choose someone, which, of course, He already has.  This shows the humility of Moses.  He is more concerned about the people than about his own leadership reputation.

But besides just being able to report to the people that Yahweh has chosen Joshua, Yahweh tells Moses to also have Joshua appear before the high priest, Eleazar, and use the Urim to demonstrate that Joshua is His choice.  We don’t know exactly how this stone, in conjunction perhaps with the other stone, the Thummim, was used by the high priest to hear from God.  But Yahweh wants the people to be absolutely convinced that Joshua is His choice.

Joshua has been in training all these years as Moses assistant and leader of God’s army.  He has faith and competence and a proven track record, essentials of a good leader.  We need leaders and God is concerned to provide them.  Good leaders know that they are but one in a succession of leaders God wants to use to bless His people.  And so they are also in the business of developing leaders.

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