Sage 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.’ 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… 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


Moses is a stellar example for all who would step aside for another to take up the helm. In his case, he would not personally have chosen this, having faithfully led the Israelites through the wilderness, putting up with incessant grumbling and hardship, only to be denied permission to actually enter the promised land; we can only imagine his deep regret at his impulsive anger, and sadness for what would never be. But he accepted God’s harsh punishment and was concerned that God’s plan continue, whether he led or not. He exalts God and His marvelous Lordship, appeals to His wisdom, tends to the welfare of his sheep and the seeing through of God’s good plans. When Joshua is identified as his successor, Moses immediately obeyed. There was no delay or dishonor with this command; he was wholly His. (1 Peter 5:2-4)

Do I get fixed on the now instead of focusing on the future, limiting my vision with present plans over preparing for perpetuity? Do I care about credit and a glory crown for what I have done more than advancing God’s greater cause? Am I ever tempted to dig in my heels and say it must be this way and my way, or am I willing to step aside when He indicates, to yield to, even embrace, God’s new and different way? What do my prayers reveal about my attitude and will?

God of all, guard me from any bitterness or resistance when You change my plans. Keep me so entwined in You that Your purposes and glory, and the good of Your people, are my end.


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