'SUCCESS' without a SUCCESSOR actually spells ‘FAILURE’: Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them: "I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the Lord has said to me, 'You shall not cross over this Jordan.' The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said. (Deut. 31:1-3)
In this final section of his ministry on this earth, Moses provides for a smooth transition for the leadership to the children of Israel even before blessing the twelve tribes and his demise. In order to reveal his mind before the Israelites, he called all the Israelites to a large meeting and told them the following realities:
- His advanced age limitations: “I am one hundred and twenty years old today.”
- His physical weakness and frailty: “I can no longer go out and come in.”
- His inability to enter Canaan: “Also the Lord has said to me, 'You shall not cross over this Jordan.'”
- His trust in Jehovah God who would go before the Israelites to win their battles for them: “The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them”.
- His desire for Joshua to take over the mantle of leadership: “Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said”.
- He convinced the Israelites that the new must replace the old (vv. 1-2).
- He reminded the Israelites of God’s commitment to fulfill His promise (v. 3).
- He endorsed the new leader and passed on his authority to Joshua (vv. 3-5).
- He forecasted victory under Joshua by citing his track record (vv. 3-6).
- He commissioned Joshua with the enormous task of leading the Israelites into Canaan (vv. 7-8).
- He directed Joshua to read and follow God’s Word implicitly (vv. 9-13).
The scriptures declare that Moses was the greatest prophet and leader of the Israelites "…since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel" (Deut. 34:10-12). Moses could have closed his life under a dark cloud of discouragement. Instead, he gave encouragement to his people as they faced the challenge of a new life in a new land under a new leader Joshua.
With the passage of time, God will change His leaders, but His work must go on without fail. Let every spiritual leader take note of this fact, and get involved in succession planning, mentoring and guiding potential men and women to take over the mantle of leadership in due time. Let’s leave a legacy for our future generations, and always remember that success without a successor actually spells ‘failure’.