How could a legend like Moses be replaced? God had a plan for this very important transition, and Moses was obedient to it. On one hand, it may seem as if Moses’ life ended with disappointment. Because of his earlier sin, God did not allow him to enter the promised land (see October 20). He was, however, permitted to see it from a distance (vv. 12–14). Rather than sulking about what he could not do, Moses’ response was a worshipful petition: He asked the Lord to appoint the next leader, so that the people would not be left “like sheep without a shepherd” (vv. 15–17).
The second of Moses’ last two major public actions was to commission his divinely chosen successor. Joshua is described as “a man in whom is the Spirit” [NIV alternate] (vv. 18–23). Joshua was the natural choice: He had accompanied Moses part of the way up Mount Sinai. He had guarded the tent of meeting. And, he’d led the army in victorious battle. Because he’d argued for obedience, he was one of only two men from the previous generation to survive the wilderness wanderings.
In a public ceremony held in the presence of Eleazar the priest— implying God’s approval—Moses laid hands on Joshua, signifying a formal passing on of leadership responsibilities and authority (see Deut. 31:1–8). Though his protégé would enter the promised land and he wouldn’t, there’s no sign that Moses was jealous or bitter. He knew God’s punishment was just. He encouraged Joshua and the people with these words: “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deut. 31:8).
>> Sometimes we may be disappointed at the way God works in our life. Can we, like Moses, accept God’s decisions and humbly and wholly submit to the will of God? How can we imitate the example of Moses by accepting the will of God in our life?
Lord, we pray for new believers who may struggle with inexperience. Give them the spirit of leadership and guide them to the mentors and resources that will equip them to lead well.