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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Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (CSB)
Isaiah 38:2, 3 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (CSB)
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. (CSB)