Archive for November 14th, 2011

Numbers 27

Numbers 27 is a rather sad chapter.  It begins with the daughters of Zelophehad (say that one fast three times) coming to Moses to request their inheritance.  It seems Zel had no sons, and in that day, the land was handed out based on the sons.  But they come and ask Moses “Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers”.  Pretty bold request to come from some daughters.  But they made their case.  They were descendents of Joseph – by my count 5 generations later.  Their father had died on the journey but not as part of any of God’s punishing plagues for disobedience.

We see the response of a man who has been leading this vast people for years now.  After long enough, you finally figure out it is a habit to lead the way Moses did.  “Moses brought their case before the Lord”.  While this decision was important to these gals, lets face it, in the stream of decisions Moses is called to make it probably isn’t that high on the list.  Pretty easy to just make a decision – yes or no – and move on.  But that isn’t how Moses leads.  He has a decision – he goes to God.  And God hears and provides an answer.  Everytime.  Where does it break down for you and me?  We never ask in the first place.  God hears prayer and answers prayer today, assuming it is asked in the first place.  “And the Lord said to Moses….transfer the inheritance of their father to them”.  It is sort of a different answer than I expected.  But God takes it furtner and makes it a rule:  “If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter” and it goes much beyond that for other situations.  Moses simple question resulted in a plan for man circumstances – God provided the big picture because Moses asked.

Then the sad reality kicks in.  Moses is told “because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation  uarreled, failing to uphold me as holy at the waters before their eyes”.  Remember when Moses struck the rock to get water rather than speaking to it as God commanded.  Seems like a severe punishment for a rather insignificant disobedience.  But that is where we miss it.  We want to rate our sin and think some are worse than others.  Failure to obey is sin – and sin is a problem.  God can’t tolerate it big or small.  Moses lost his chance to enter the Promised Land for failing to obey.  The amazing thing here is he doesn’t argue or make a case for himself, he is focused on finding someone else to lead and carry forward his legacy.  God provides this way: “appoint a man over the congregation  who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd”.

God doesn’t just tell him to find a replacement, God gives him the name: “Take Joshua the son of Nun”.  You’ll remember Joshua was one of the two that saw things God’s way when they went to spy on the Promised Land.  He was “a man in whom is the Spirit”.  So Moses is handing off leadership to a godly leader.  God tells Moses to “lay your hand on him….commission him….invest him with some of your authority”.  There is a passing of the torch here.  Moses to Joshua based on God’s instruction.  And as has been his habit since Egypt, “Moses did as the Lord commanded him”.  Want to understand the trait of a godly leader – here is the key one – obedience. God’s way, God’s time, God’s servant.

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