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.
What's God saying to you right now?
What are you going to do about it?