When God revealed to Moses that his time to lead would soon conclude, Moses did not protest. More interesting to me, he did not attempt to influence God’s choice for the next leader of Israel. Instead, Moses accepted God’s timing and purposes and merely interceded on behalf of the people he had pastored for so long. Moses pleaded with God to choose a new leader who would guide God’s people with a shepherd’s heart (v. 17).
God did just that and named Joshua to succeed Moses. Why Joshua?
Moses had not sat idly during their desert wanderings, unconcerned for Israel’s future. Moses had recognized Joshua’s potential early on (see Exodus 17:19) and made him the focus of his attention for the next forty years. Why did Moses choose Joshua? I think Moses recognized that God had His hand on Joshua and elected to follow God’s lead by investing in him. Looking through the exodus accounts in the Pentateuch, I find nine passages in which Moses is shown intentionally equipping Joshua to become a well-rounded leader.
When God told Moses his time on earth was at an end, Moses did not lobby on Joshua’s behalf. He did nothing to promote his protégé. Moses simply prayed God would select a replacement with a shepherd’s heart and waited.
Moses determined to receive God’s decision with open hands, depositing his own future and that of Israel’s into God’s hands. Following Moses’ surrender, God anointed Joshua for the next stage in Israel’s journey. In his final action of release, Moses laid hands on Joshua and affirmed him before all of Israel.
Moses almost always kept his eyes on God; he did not hold fast to a position. On several occasions others did indeed challenge Moses’ authority but he did not fight to protect his role—God did that. He simply held fast to God and followed God’s leading. The same held true in this pivotal transition. Moses trusted God.
Pray for our church’s leadership—pastors and elders—to serve with open hands that hold fast to God and not to particular roles.
Pray for our church community to keep hands open to God, not holding on to the known and comfortable but willing to let go of the old and receive the new.
Pray for Friends Church to have a reputation for open-handed generosity—a community that recognizes all we have is from God and all is available for Kingdom purposes.
As you engage transitions in your own life and ministry—both short term and long term—how can you ensure that your hands remain open and your eyes remain fixed on God?