Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 11 March 20:
Chapter 27 has much to teach us about the heart of a real leader. Below are just a couple of points for consideration:
Numbers 27:14-17 — “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 said to the LORD, ‘May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
– Moses had the heart of a true leader. He had just been told by the Lord that it was his time to die — he would not lead the people into the Promised Land because Moses had failed. Moses doesn’t complain, blame-shift or defend himself before the Lord. Rather, Moses’ immediate concern is for the people and their welfare. Moses asks God to provide the people with a leader who will ‘shepherd’ them because Moses has the heart of a shepherd. As someone once said, “If you can’t stand the smell of sheep, you can’t be a shepherd.” These people were hard to lead, constantly drifting into sinful, destructive practices, often rebelling against Moses himself, even threatening his life more than once. In fact, as today’s verses point out, it was the quarrelling of the congregation that incited Moses to temporarily lose his temper and dishonor God. Yet Moses remains committed to them. There aren’t many leaders like Moses. Of course, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) Despite our infidelity, Jesus remains faithful. It is His leadership we seek to emulate.
Numbers 27:18 — “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.”
– Joshua was God’s choice to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land; Moses didn’t choose Joshua, God did. Joshua was uniquely qualified for the job. First and foremost, he was filled with the Spirit. True leaders are led by the Spirit and lead by the Spirit for God’s glory. So, true leaders are followers, guided by the Spirit. And true leaders are always leading others closer to Jesus as their ministry of reconciliation. Someone once said, “Leaders know the way and show the way.” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)
Of note, Joshua’s name means, “The Lord is Salvation,” and is the Hebrew version of “Jesus.”
Joshua was a man of great experience, character, competence and commitment. For decades Joshua served as Moses’ faithful aide, commanded the Israelites’ victory over Amalek, and was one of the two spies (Caleb the other) that encouraged the Israelites to enter the Promised Land in faith, despite the strength of their enemies. He served the Lord wholeheartedly and was a great example to others.
People and nations need mighty, faithful leaders such as Joshua who are led by the Spirit and equipped with character and competence. Who are the Joshuas of today?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 11 Mar 20: Regardless your leadership role, follow Jesus, be led by the Spirit, and lead others to Christ — “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26)