Daily D – Deuteronomy 3:28
But commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will cross over ahead of the people and enable them to inherit this land that you will see.
DEUTERONOMY 3:28 (CSB)
We recently considered Moses’ prayer in Numbers 27:15-17 for a leader to shepherd Israel after he himself had died. We noted then,
The best leaders understand their best legacy is displayed in the success of their successors. If everything falls apart after The Leader leaves, The Leader was not The Leader he or she should have been. If everything rises and falls on The Leader, failure is inevitable.
We saw the commissioning of Joshua in Numbers 27:1-23. Moses “laid his hands on him, and commissioned him, as the LORD had spoken through Moses,” (verse 23).
Here in Deuteronomy 3:28, God tells Moses to do three things for Joshua:
1. Commission him
2. Encourage him
3. Strengthen him
The commissioning was a formal transfer of authority. It was an event for everyone to see and to know that Joshua was now the leader of the mob who was becoming a nation.
As you read the rest of Deuteronomy, Moses’ famous last words, see if you can count how many times Moses says, “Be strong and courageous.” Why does he repeat this particular command so often? To encourage and strengthen Joshua. Just in case Joshua wavered after the death of Moses, God repeats these same words in Joshua 1. The culmination comes in verse 10:
Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
There are a couple of additional succession planning dance steps we see in God’s directive to Moses (and to us):
- When it comes time to step aside, step aside. Before you exit, transfer authority for all to see. When you are gone, stay gone.
- When it comes time to step aside, make sure every word you speak and every action you take encourages and strengthens your successor.
I will, as far as it depends on me, make my successor successful.
Our Father, teach me now how to handle succession issues for the day when they inevitably come. Give me wisdom for how to commission my successor. Empower me to provide encouragement and strength. Bless me with the grace to step out of the way and to stay out of the way. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)