Clearly, I’ve been out of this for a long time… Too long. I’ll be the first to admit that getting back into the swing of things is hard to do. I wrestle with guilt, and also some fear that the Voice that I was hearing before won’t be here after this long. And then I open to pick up where I left off- and that Voice isn’t instantly there, but more like an open door at friend’s house- letting me know that I was expected and welcome to just walk straight in and pick up where we left off.
The second half of chapter 27 talks about the transfer of leadership from Moses to Joshua. In most seasons of life it’s easy to pass over how big of a transition this was for the Israelites. We’ve all experienced a transition of someone in some kind of leadership role, even if it is simply just the beginning of a new Preisdent. But other transitions, like work- or church!- leadership I think tend to be more difficult because it more instantly impacts your every day. In a sense, Moses represented all of these situations in one. The move of leadership from Moses to Joshua was a transition in many areas of life. And I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been to live through. But there are a couple of things that I want to point out, that I find great comfort in.
1. God won’t leave His sheep shepherdless. We know that our ultimate shepherd is Jesus. And just God provided with the Holy Spirit to come and be with us when Jesus left the disciples, God also provided for His people by giving us leaders to shepherd us in the interim. And at the end of the day, that’s the real job of a spiritual leader like Moses, Joshua, pastors etc- to be an assistant interim shepherd until we are all united again with The Shepherd. God has a heart to provide the right leader for His people at the right time because He is our ultimate leader and knows how much we need one.
2. The successor does not step into the new leadership role with the full authority of his predecessor, but with only a portion. It says in verse 20 that Joshua only received some of Moses’ authority. While it is important to note that he didn’t receive all, he did receive some. Just like in our own experiences, we recognize the authority of our new boss, president, pastor etc from the very beginning. Whatever system put them in place, we recognize their authority to do so, and so we recognize their basic authority from the beginning. But why didn’t God instruct Moses to give Joshua all of his authority? I have a couple of ideas for your consideration.
- Joshua didn’t get Moses’ full authority because it allowed Joshua to grow into his leadership role. We even saw this growth process with Moses. He didn’t end as the same leader that he began. And there were many situations and people that contributed to that. Allowing Joshua to have the space and room to grow as a leader isn’t only for Joshua’s good, but also for the good of one he is leading.
- Joshua didn’t get Moses’ full authority because he wasn’t meant to be just like Moses. If God wanted Moses to be the only leader of the Israelites, He could have worked something out. He’s God. But bringing in a new leader allows for a different leader for a different set of circumstances and needs. However, it also give the Israelites a rounder picture of God’s true leadership and shepherding. Like I said earlier, if spiritual leaders are an assistant or reflection of God’s leadership with us, then allowing us to experience different kind of leaders allows us to have a rounder picture of The Spiritual Leader. God gives us each our own set of gifts, but we don’t have them all. The Church as a collective group of individuals functions as a complete body, but each individual is not a whole by himself. So by allowing Joshua to grow into his own leader, the Israelites will experience pieces and parts of who God is that Joshua was gifted to reflect more than Moses. Likewise, if there was only ever a Joshua and no Moses, then the Israelites would have missed experiencing those other pieces.
i just found this passage encouraging. In the midst of a transition in spiritual leadership myself, it was a timely and encouraging reminder that things will not look the same moving forward, but God will provide the right person, for the right time. And with that will be some new learning for all of us, and experiencing some different pieces of God’s leadership.
Glad to be back 🙂