Daily D – Numbers 27:15-17
So Moses appealed to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God who gives breath to all, appoint a man over the community who will go out before them and come back in before them, and who will bring them out and bring them in, so that the LORD’s community won’t be like sheep without a shepherd.
NUMBERS 27:15-17 (CSB)
Numbers 12:3 tells us, “Moses was a very humble man, more so than anyone on the face of the earth.” This is quite a claim. There is plenty of evidence leading to this conclusion. Perhaps there is none better than what happens here.
Moses is about to die. Unlike us, he knows the place, the day, and the hour right down to the minute. He could have counted down his heartbeats and respirations if he had desired to do so. Instead, he focused on what was next. He did not focus on what was next for him. He would step fully into God’s immediate presence. Whatever veil remained between them would be taken away ultimately and finally.
No, when Moses focused on what was next, he focused on who would lead Israel along those final steps into the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham owned the sum total of one field and one cave where he buried Sarah and where Isaac and Ishmael buried him.
Isaac, the child of the promise, never stepped foot outside the land that was promised to him but which was not yet his own. Jacob left the land to go to his son, Joseph, in Egypt, the boy he thought he had lost forever. That boy was now second only to Pharaoh in power and authority. Then came a Pharaoh “who knew not Joseph” and forced Jacob’s descendants into slavery.
God used Moses to deliver them from slavery into the wilderness where he formed a nation out of a multitude who only knew how to follow the orders of those who subjected them to increasingly difficult labor.
Forty years later, it was time to take their best next step, their last big step into the land promised to them so long ago. The most humble man who ever lived did not on this occasion desire a presidential library. He did not seek a statue in his honor. He wanted a leader who would lead them like a shepherd leads his sheep.
In Deuteronomy 3:26, we see God’s direct answer to Moses’ request:
Joshua’s commission service is recorded in Numbers 27:18-23.
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.
Moses knew this. Moses knew it was not all about him. Moses had been focused on what was next for forty years. Now in his last moments, he was focused on who was next.
Leaders who are truly successful focus on building up successors and preparing for their success.
How are you preparing those who come behind you?
How are you preparing the way for them to succeed beyond anything you were able to accomplish?
I will set up my successor for success.
Our Father, the position I hold is not mine. I am a steward in this place at this time. Someone will step into this role next. I want that leader to be more successful than I ever dreamed possible for myself. Show me how to prepare others for this role. Show me how to prepare the way for my successor to work without hindrance from me or the way I do things. Let me know when it is time to go. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.