In Numbers 27 God comes to Moses and tells him it is time to go. They aren’t going to Disney World either. Moses would go up on top of mount Abarim and God would allow Moses to first see the promise land and then die. He would not be allowed to enter it, and God would remind him why. It is interesting to note here that Moses has a request. In verse 16 Moses prays that God would raise up a man to take his place. God tells him to take Joshua and lay hands on him before all the congregation and place some of his honor upon Joshua. From then on Joshua would lead the Nation of Israel.
What an amazing story, and there are some valuable lessons for us to learn from it.
- You are going to die. Moses was a great man, the meekest man on earth, but he died. Moses brought the plagues on Egypt and lead Israel across the Red Sea, but he died. Moses stood on Mount Sinai and spoke with God and brought back the ten commandments but he died. All men, great and small, die. You are reading this today; you may die tomorrow. Our death bed is something that we should consider often, not in a morbid way, but in a contemplative way. I heard just the other day that the scriptures teach us not to number our years but to number our days. That is something to consider.
- Are you praying about someone taking your place? If you are a pastor, are you praying that God is preparing someone right now to take your place one day? It interests me that Moses is the one that brings it up. He knew the nation needed someone to look after them and lead them. It showed that he loved them. You may not be a pastor; you may be a regular church goer. But, my friend, you have a part to play in your church’s ministry. When you are gone who will take your place?
- The man God picked is the man who had been there the whole time. God did not choose some random man; He chose Joshua. The Bible calls Joshua “Moses’s minister” in Exodus 24:13 and “his servant” in Exodus 33:11 & Numbers 11:28. Joshua lead the nation when fighting Amalek in Exodus 17, and he went up the mount at least part-way when Moses speaks to God. He has been there helping, serving, and learning from Moses. Who are you helping? Who are you training? You say “I don’t know much,” which may be true, but you do know something. As a young preacher, a dear friend of mine was attending a church in Macon, Georgia. There in that church was an older preacher who would take my friend out soul winning and preaching in jail. My friend told me he learned so much from this old preacher who took him under his wing. Again, who are you helping?
- He charges him. He places on him the duty that is required. He challenges him. Who are you challenging? It is my opinion that many young people fall away out of church because they are not challenged. We live in an affluent society where comfort is the norm, and as parents we have coddled our children into a passive and lethargic state. The same thing is taking place in our churches. We don’t give them anything to do. We don’t challenge them. We don’t charge them. No wonder they are not picking up the baton and running with it. We have failed to give them the baton.
Life is a relay. Moses passed it on to Joshua. Who are you passing it on to?