“O lord, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures. Please appoint a new man as leader for the community. Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” The lord replied, “Take Joshua son of Nun, who has the Spirit in him, and lay your hands on him. (Numbers 27:16-18 NLT)
Moses is about to die.
Moses knows that Israel needs a new leader to replace him so he prays for this. But he already has someone in mind.
Joshua son of Nun.
Joshua has been his apprentice...for forty years! He's ready.
What's interesting is that Moses doesn't ask for Joshua by name when he prays. He prays for a leader that describes Joshua.
"...someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the LORD will not be like sheep without a shepherd."
The LORD answers his prayer by naming Joshua as that leader. The LORD further describes Joshua as a man "Who has the Spirit in him."
What things does Moses see as important in their leader?
1. A guide. "someone who will guide them."
2. A general. "someone who will...lead them into battle."
An interesting combination, to be sure. But then Moses qualifies this leader by saying why he asks for these qualities: "So the community of the LORD will not be like sheep without a shepherd."
A shepherd. Sounds an awful lot like Jesus.
Joshua is in fact a foreshadowing (type?) of Jesus. They even share the same name. (Jesus/Joshua means "The LORD is salvation")
The LORD himself adds one more essential quality: A man "Who has the Spirit in him." God would have to do that part--and he did.
To be an effective leader, I need to be myself (not Joshua). However, these qualities are still important, if not essential.
I need to shepherd whomever I lead like a guide and a general filled with the Holy Spirit.
A guide because people are looking for direction. Not just any direction. Direction that is consistent with God's kingdom mission. Direction that will equip and empower them to live out that mission. Sheep want a shepherd who will lead them to green pastures and quiet waters.
A general because people are looking for protection. People are in a war (whether they realize it or not). They need shepherd leaders who will lovingly feed and lead them through the wisdom of God's word. Teaching them what it says AND showing them how to live what it says. Teaching them how to put on the whole armor of God and to "Stand firm" in it.
Whether I am leading myself, my wife, my kids or my church, I need the Spirit of Christ to shepherd me. By God's grace, I plan to do just that.
This is Deborah's victory song as a judge of Israel. It's written and sung after their defeat of King Jabin after years of tyranny for Israel. The song speaks/sings of the battle Israel won.
This verse jumped out to me because it's about leaders and what happens when leaders lead. Note that it's the first words of the song too:
"Israel's leaders took charge."
That's what leaders do. But that's also what people need (and want). People without leaders are like sheep without a shepherd. They wander around malnourished and vulnerable to attack. That pretty much described Israel at this time.
Note that the people "gladly followed" Deborah and Barak. This tells me a few things:
* The people trusted these leaders. * The people agreed with where they're leaders were going. * The people were eager to follow their leaders. * There was a leadership vacuum needing to be filled. * The people were so desperate for a good leader that they willingly followed a woman into battle in a day when women were not seen as men's equal. And yet even warriors followed.
God doesn't just need leaders--he needs leaders who trust and fear Him. Leaders who shepherd their people well--not use and abuse.
Make no mistake--leaders are essential. And people want them so badly, they'll even follow bad ones.
What is God saying to you right now? Pause, think about it.