Transitions and Change (Life Journal – 3/1/2015)

Today I am revisiting my post from yesterday that got lost in the ether somehow.
One of those thoughts that I cannot quite get out of my head.


18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him. 19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. 20 Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. 21 He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the Lord. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.”

22 Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. 23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the Lord instructed through Moses. (Numbers 27:18-23 NIV)


This story has echoes in the New Testament accounts and our modern practice of ordination, commissioning, etc.

Joshua has “the spirit of leadership” – translated otherwise as “a man who has the spirit” and  “can do the job.”

This is a community act as much as an individual one: done in their presence (v. 19 and 22), done so they will obey Joshua (v. 20), the entire community will do as he directs (v. 21).

Moses is passing on something – his authority – to the new leader. And God has chosen him first.

In an earlier stage of the journey, the Israelites moved when the pillar of fire or smoked moved. These new instructions with a new leader are more in the realm of divination by use of the Urim and the high priest.


I find myself in a season of internal transition, of trying to figure out where to move in the years ahead. The particulars aren’t important here but rather that I find myself in a moment that feels like transition from one thing, one stage, to another. And on multiple levels.

Israel is about to begin a new phase of their journey. They move from the wilderness wanderings to the conquest and settlement of Canaan. They are about to transition from a nomadic people (their heritage as descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) to a settled or at least setttling one. It is time for a new leader and a new way of doing.

Joshua is a different man from Moses with different gifts and skills. He has demonstrated earlier his skill at military leadership and an important part of the life they are about to enter. And their wanderings from this moment are directed differently – rather than by a visible cloud or pillar, they are directed by the high priest and the Urim that he kept in his breastplate.

But Joshua also needed Moses – he is his successor and not just his replacement. Moses’ authority must be his as well as his place. Moses’ blessings must also be upon him as the new leader.


God of Moses and Joshua, may I also transition in this time from where I have been to where you want me to go; from whom I was to whom you call me to be. May I seek the new ways and new approaches and the changes you would have me make. May I also carry with me, like Moses’ authority, what you would have me continue from my past. In the name of the one who called for new wineskins for new wine I pray… Amen.

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