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.”
For years, members of our church have shared visions they have received regarding the growth of our congregation. These are visions of the doorways being flooded and the sanctuary overflowing. It is in stark contrast with our current state, which is a mere remnant of what was there a decade ago. During those years we have seen pastors come and go, and each time presents an opportunity for us to question whether those visions were true. We believe we have promises, but what we see says otherwise when pastors and parishioners blow in and out like the wind. Yet, God in his faithfulness gives us every reason to hold fast to those promises. Each time a leader leaves, and it appears our doors might close, God brings another.
Israel had been holding on to the hope of reaching the promised land. Generations had passed, and they had yet to arrive. Moses seemed like the great leader who could take them there, but here he was nearing the end of his life. I see this message as a comfort to those he was charged with leading. To some, his death might have seemed like the end of that pursuit. Doubtless, Moses had known the people of Israel well enough to know their fears and their doubts. He had walked with them and led them for decades, and he knew they would need a leader. His being replaced by Joshua so obviously, without question of who would be taking the mantle from him, reveals the heart of God to comfort his people during such transitions.
The promise would not die with Moses, and leadership would not disappear. God still had work to do and words to keep, and these people needed reassurance that they had not been forgotten. We need not doubt whether God will leave us without leadership, because we see his faithfulness here. He will complete the work He starts. He will guide the flocks He builds. He will make sure that every promise is kept, every vision is fulfilled. Our God will not leave us to find our own way but will provide the shepherds we need according to his good plan. Father, thank You for our leadership, and give us confidence that You always will provide the shepherds to guide us.