“Moses Chooses His Replacement” Num. 27:12-14
“And the Lord said unto Moses, get thee up into this Mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. And when thou hast seen it, thou shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.” Num. 27: 12-13
Why? Verse 14, because he rebelled against God’s commandment in the desert of Zin at the waters of Meribah (strife, quarrel, provocation) #4809 in Ex. 17:7; Moses struck the rock and water came out to give the children of Israel water, but in Num. 20:7-13 Moses was to speak to the rock and he struck it not once but twice, v.11. He is also taking the glory unto himself v.10, “must we fetch you water out of this rock?” God doesn’t share His glory with anyone, not even Moses! Note also v.9, where I believe, “Moses took the rod from before the Lord;” from the face or the presence of the LORD, out of the ark, the rod that budded, this is no ordinary rod. Paul writes about this ‘Rock as being Christ’ in 1 Cor. 10:4 ff. Forty years in Egypt, forty years in Midian, forty years in the desert and one act of rebellion, one incident of self-glory, one act of yielding to that temper or ‘Tempter’ under the law and he blew it! Almost! Webster says, almost is very nearly but not completely, not quite there; 2,930 characters in the Bible and less the 100 made it to the ribbon and the vast majority fell out in their later life after the age of 60! Talk to David when you see him! Almost, but not quite there, will you finish like Paul, and finish strong? II Tim. 4:7; I am so thankful for the New Covenant, for the blood of Jesus, for grace, for His forgiveness, for eternal life, and for His reconciliation and intercession right now!
Aren’t you glad if you blow it you don’t have to stand on a mountain and see what you missed! Now you may miss some blessings here because of sin but He is waiting for you in heaven with open arms because He paid for your ticket already, in full! What is encouraging to me is the LORD spoke to Moses first in v. 12, “The LORD said to Moses,” is the LORD speaking to you? How would you know if you are Not in His word on a regular basis? He can speak to you through an audible voice but it would probably scare your pajamas off, and nobody would believe you, not your pastor, spouse, psychologist or even me probably. Or He can speak to your heart or mind, or through a vision or dream, Baptists call them ‘D.M.I.’s’ “Dynamic Mental Impressions.” We are a little squeamish on dreams and visions. Or He can speak to you through His creation, or a message or a messenger, that’s why I like His word the best and so does He. Do you have one, then read it; it’s His love letter to you!
So, God speaks to Moses first, He is looking for those to worship Him in spirit and in truth right now, are you ready? Then in v. 15 “Moses spoke unto the LORD saying, ‘Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation.’” Notice, Moses doesn’t plead for another 40 years, he could have, most of us would have. After all, his strength was not diminished, nor his eye-sight, Dt. 34:7, he was as strong as an ox. However, his major concern was for his people, his congregation, v.16. Notice what he asks for in v. 17; is this what your search committee looks for in a shepherd? Someone to ‘go out before them’ to lead them by example; someone to ‘go in before them;’ not just to lead them out but to bring them in!
So, they won’t be as sheep that have no shepherd. Notice there are two words here, ‘go out’ (yatsa) to go forth, before (paniym) their faces, their presence, in front of them, leading them, “follow me!” And to ‘go in’ (bo) come in, bring them in, Jesus talked about the ninety and nine in Matt. 18:12-14 and how the shepherd left the 99 and “went out” and found the one who went astray to “bring him in.” Why don’t we see our shepherds doing this today? Jesus told Peter in John 21: 15-17 twice to feed His sheep and once to tend His lambs, two times feed and one time tend. There is a lesson here for those who are reading between the lines. Feed My Sheep and love them, care for them, nurture them, they belong to Jesus. We are just under-shepherds. Trench and Vine have lessons for those who want to pay attention to the Greek and listen to the masters.
So, the LORD answers Moses’ prayer in v. 18 and tells him to “Take Joshua, the Son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit and lay his hand upon him.” Then set him before Eleazer, and the whole congregation and give him a charge (tsa-vah) #6680, a commission, an appointment, ordain him – a divine act; put some of your honor Moses on him that the congregation may obey him. Eleazer shall ask counsel for him of the ”Urim” (Uwriym) lights, stones kept in a pouch in the high priest’s breastplate, used to determine God’s decision on certain questions and issues. The other stone was a “Thummim” (Tummiym) perfection, these stones were used to achieve a sacred lot (Ex. 28:30; Lev. 8:8; Dt. 33:8; Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65) Possibly a black stone and a white stone, exactly the same size and shape hidden in his pouch. Eleazer would pray and ask God if it was right to go and fight their enemy today, reach inside and if the white one was picked they went out if the black one was picked they stayed home; that is my contention, what’s yours?
Whatever it was they needed a man like Moses to go out before them and to go in before them, to lead them out and to bring them in. In other words they needed a leader they could follow, someone to follow in the heat of the battle, not just someone who stayed by the baggage and told them to go, but someone who said, “Let’s go!” Those were the kind of men we respected in combat, the kind that risked their lives with us. That’s the kind of leader Joshua was and Moses’ commission was to encourage him and strengthen him, Dt. 3:28. I think there is something missing in our commissioning services today. There is no challenge, no importation of power, no (Tsa-vah) no divine act, no importation of power! Many times it is just a ceremony and we end up with too many ordained used car salesman. If God has really called someone, and commissioned them, then they will serve Him with every fiber of their being because they can’t out swim that whale!
The lesson we learn here is that when we ask the Lord for something, “be specific!” God doesn’t like to answer general prayers, He likes to answer specific prayers! Look at his prayer again in Num. 27: 16-17, “Let the LORD – set a Man over the congregation;” and he gets specific in v.17. He didn’t say, “LORD we need a pastor, anyone will do, you keep him humble and we’ll keep him poor; we just need somebody to fill our pulpit, we can run our church, sound familiar?” The average length of time of an Independent Baptist Minister in America is 18 months.
Why is that? My first church was 18 months to the day, my second assignment was nine months, then 2.5 years and four years at my home church and four years at my next church and 13 years with FOI and now 10 years with OMI. Altogether almost 40 years and He has never failed me once!. What have I learned, “Be specific in your prayers,” and wait patiently on the Lord, He is never in a hurry. I wear a watch, God doesn’t. Time waits for no man, but it does wait for God, make sure He sends you the right man, “Be specific and wait on the Lord.” Ps. 27:14, “And he laid his hands on him and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.” Num. 27:23. Till next time, I’ll see you, “…Between the Lines…” and make sure you spend some extra time there.
“Moses Chooses His Replacement” Num. 27:12-14 10/12/16