Scripture reading for February 18th: Numbers 26-30
Moses came to the end of his life strong and healthy but he had sinned against the Lord. He would not be able to enter the promised land, only look at it from a distance. (Numbers 27:12-14) God was going to gather him to his people who had already left this world. Moses had been a man of faith but had dishonored God before the people when he struck the rock a second time instead of speaking to it as God instructed.
When he knew his time was over, Moses uttered a final request to the Lord concerning leadership of His people. This prayer is instructive for us today. “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 that the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”” (Numbers 27:15-17)
Moses had a shepherd’s heart. He had cared for the people for forty years after caring for Jethro’s sheep in the desert for the previous forty years. He knew that these people needed a shepherd who could lead them and care for them. He knew that people wander away like sheep and get lost. He knew that wild animals devoured wandering sheep and they needed protection. He also knew that only God could appoint the shepherd that could truly care for these human sheep!
The immediate answer of God was to appoint Joshua, the son of Nun, a man who had the Spirit in him. Joshua was a noted man of faith who had stuck close to Moses the past forty years. Moses was to lay his hands on him and impart the mantle of leadership. (Numbers 27:18-20) He would lead the Israelites with the guidance of God’s wisdom through Eleazar the high priest.
God answered then with Joshua and now has provided something better for us! Jesus Christ is the true shepherd who truly cares for all of God’s sheep! (John 10:11) He demonstrated his love for the sheep by giving His life for them! He has given us His Spirit to live in us and guide us daily. (John 16:13-15) Listen to your Shepherd Jesus today and follow Him out of sin and into your eternal destiny.