Who Is Your Leader?
The LORD has said to me, "You shall not cross the Jordan. 'The LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the LORD said'" (Deuteronomy / Devarim 31:2,3).
Entering the Promised Land was a major transition for the people of Israel. But perhaps one of the things that made this transition difficult was that it did not include Moses.
After leading the people for 40 years, he would lead them no more. Because of an earlier incident, God would not permit him to enter the Land. Moses' assistant Joshua was to be their new leader.
Yet God didn't want them to regard Joshua in that way. Reading the passage again:
God appears to be saying, Moses will not lead the people anymore; God will. And as for Joshua, he is coming along too.
In the face of this leadership transition the people needed to understand that God was their true leader. Understandably the people would have been looking to Moses to guide and help them. How anxious they must have been to know that Moses would be with them no more. Who faced Pharaoh for them? Who led them all those years in the wilderness? Who gave them the very words of God? And now Moses would be with them no more.
What a time to make such a transition! Wouldn't it make more sense for Moses to take them through the Jordan? Hadn't he been the one to hold his staff over the Red Sea when it parted? Wouldn't it make more sense for him to lead them into the Land and then breathe his last? But that wasn't to be.
How could Joshua take the place of such a great man of God?
The people needed to learn that they were not to depend upon their leader, but upon God himself. While God did indeed use Moses, Moses wasn't the one who actually did the miracles. God did. The words he spoke were not his own, they were God's. And just as God had delivered them from oppression in Egypt and provided and protected them for 40 years in the wilderness, so he would also bring them into the Promised Land.
How often do we find ourselves relying upon people instead of God? Leaders can be a blessing, but they are never to take the place of God himself. Religious leaders should help people follow God and must never seek to take his place.
And just as he did for the Israelites, God will sometimes remove people from our lives to show us that he is our true leader.
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