Opening Prayer

Holy Spirit, open my heart to those things in Scripture I need to apply to my life today.

Read NUMBERS 27:12-23

Joshua to Succeed Moses

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go up this mountain in the Abarim Range and see the land I have given the Israelites. 13 After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, 14 for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes.” (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.)

15 Moses said to the Lord, 16 “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership,[a] 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.

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  1. Numbers 27:18 Or the Spirit

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


‘You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God.’1

Think Further

In a relay race, victory does not depend on the speed of a single runner but on that of all team members. Speed alone isn’t enough: it’s important to pass the baton correctly to the next runner and to do so within the demarcated changeover zone. Before reaching the changeover zone, there’s an acceleration zone, where runners waiting to receive the baton may begin their run so that they can pick up speed in readiness to receive the baton and run the next section.

Moses was lead runner in the 40-year marathon to the Promised Land! His lap was now drawing to a close (vs 12,13). To whom would he pass the baton? It had to be someone who would be a good shepherd to God’s flock (v 17). The Lord designates Joshua, a man with a ‘spirit of leadership’ (v 18), who had trained under Moses for nearly 40 years, serving as army general, trusted aide, and a faithful and fearless ally.2

Moses and Joshua have not yet entered the changeover zone. The baton change would take place only when God himself confirmed Joshua’s appointment, shortly before Moses’ death3 but, as Moses commissions Joshua in the presence of the priest and community, Joshua is entering the acceleration zone. The laying on of hands signifies the transfer of authority (vs 18–21). While it is still Moses’ hand that grips the baton, everyone now knows that it is only a matter of time before the baton will pass. Joshua’s lap will only begin with Moses’ death. This transition period, when Moses and Joshua rule in a ‘co-regency’ type arrangement,4 will be an opportunity to bring Joshua up to speed, ensuring a smooth baton change.


‘Pass on what you heard from me … to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others.’5 In what ways are you preparing to receive the baton and pass it on?

Closing prayer

Lord God, thank you for the many ways your Word instructs me. Help me to not leave any part of my life untouched by them.

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by kingstar

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