God’s Order in Leadership Succession
February 17 Bible Reading: Numbers Chapters 25-27
Just as the Israelites were preparing to enter the Promised Land, they needed a new census because everyone over the age of 20 who were counted in the previous census had died in the wilderness. The need to take a new census was paramount as God was keeping His people united and organized. Another reason for knowing the exact count was to assist in dividing the land of Canaan by lot among the 12 tribes according to their number and size (Num 26:52-56).
Moses was the greatest leader that the Israelites had ever known, and he followed the directions of God consistently throughout the last 40 years of the journey from Egypt. However due to one error, Moses was not permitted to enter Canaan, but could only view the land from the top of Mount Pisgah (Num 27:12-14). The time had now come for an orderly leadership succession, and his long-time faithful servant Joshua was chosen as his successor (Num 27:22, 23). Joshua was the son of Nun (Num 13:8) who was intimately associated with Moses as his assistant (Exodus 24:13; 32:17; 33:11). He was a religious zealot (Num 11:28) who was sent with others to view the Promised Land (Num 13:8) many years ago. He made a favorable report of the land with Caleb (Num 14:6-10) due to which his life was miraculously preserved when others perished (Num 14:10). Due to this, he was rewarded for his courage and fidelity (Num 14:30, 38; 32:12). In Num 27:18 we read that he was divinely inspired and had the anointing of the Holy Spirit. As per God’s command, Joshua was commissioned, ordained, and charged with the responsibilities of Moses' office (Num 27:18-23). “So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses” (Num 27:22-23).
This incident displays God’s order of leadership succession. No leader (however great he or she may be) is supposed to last forever. "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven"(Eccl 3:1). There will come a time when they have to transfer the authority and power of their position to a worthwhile successor. How much better would it be if our spiritual leaders understood this fact, and would groom and mentor able disciples to take over the leadership in due course of time! Even our Lord Jesus Christ groomed and mentored His twelve disciples to take over the leadership of the Church after His physical ascension to heaven. We also see Apostle Paul also groomed young Timothy to a leadership role.
Let all leaders understand this basic fact: “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another” (Psalms 75:6-7).