God tells Moses of the end of his life. He reminds him of why he will not go into the Promised Land but will see it. He also cares for the people at Moses’ urging.
I thought we were nearing the end of Numbers because of the story regarding Moses. I thought Moses’ end would come at the end. We only get a preview of what God has for Moses. We will see the completed story at the end of Deuteronomy. Timewise this is nearing the end of the 40 years in the wilderness but God wants to reiterate some things before closing this book.
Today God reminds Moses of his sin and his inclusion with all the other “first generation exodus” members from Egypt. All but Caleb and Joshua were barred from inheriting the promise. ALL were for excluded on the basis of unbelief. Moses and Aaron’s unbelief happened separately from the rest of the congregation but God still called them out on this sin.
I’m SO glad God doesn’t call me on this sin! I don’t believe I’ve had times to rival Israel’s episode with the spies but I’m certain my doubts were bigger than Moses’. I feel for him. But maybe it was better for Israel that he didn’t go in with them. This was the perfect time for a changing of the guard. I have a feeling God planned it that way.
When God tells Moses that he is not going to get to see the Promised Land personally Moses doesn’t argue or beg for forgiveness. He accepts God’s word as final. He has had some time to get use to the idea as God first made this pronouncement some time ago. But he didn’t argue even then. What he does do though is ask God to put someone in his place to take care of Israel. Even as his death is predicted Moses cares for and about the people.
God knew Israel needed a new leader before Moses asked. He had one in training all along; Joshua. Joshua had been with Moses since the beginning. He served him on the mountain top. He was Moses’ scribe. He helped organize the gifts for the Tabernacle. He was the voice of faith with the spies. He was the leader of the army in the fight against Amalek. Joshua is always there with Moses.
Joshua is not Moses though. God met face to face with Moses. Moses had a special relationship with God that stands unique in its scope. We are told that “There has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10). Moses didn’t consult the priests to know the mind of God, he went directly to Him. The priests took their direction from Moses.
Joshua’s relationship with God would be different. Moses would impart some of the gifting from the Spirit of God to Joshua and God would speak to his heart. But Joshua would also be required to consult with the high priest who would in turn relies on the Urim to direct him regarding God’s judgement.
Joshua’s relationship with the people rose out of the ceremony held before the people with Moses and Eleazar commissioning Joshua as the new leader. Moses publicly passed his authority to Joshua and Eleazar publicly endorsed the choice as coming from God. Joshua’s word would stand. “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” (verse 21b).
Israel is in good hands because Israel in STILL in God’s hands. Passing the torch only applied to the human instrument through whom God was working through. God never turned loose of Israel. God can, and does, work through whomever He chooses to. Even Pharaoh was God’s tool. He is just as in control today as He was thousands of years ago. Don’t look to the man in charge as your hope. Look to the Lord, the one behind the man whether he knows it or not. God has a plan and knows how to work it out even today. He just didn’t promise us that we would have all the details. Trust Him! That was my “Caleb and Joshua moment” in the middle of the Corona virus issue.
Father God, thank You that You still work in our world. I don’t know EXACTLY what my future holds but I know that future is safe in Your hands. You never leave me without guidance or instructions. Sometimes I forget where I put them for a while but Your Spirit brings them back to my mind. Thank You for planting Your word in my heart.
Thank You also Lord for placing people in my life who listen to You and speak Your truth. Thank You for those who have taught me of You and encouraged me to seek You myself. I don’t know where I would have been without their influence. Chief among those people are my parents. Thank You for giving me godly parents. I pray I was/am half the influence in my children’s lives for You that they were/are for me. Again, I leave my children in Your hands. Bring them back to Your ways Lord.