"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Sunday, July 24, 2022

NUMBERS – From SINAI To The PROMISED LAND: Chapters 27

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez, and James Fire

NUMBERS 27: A NEW LEADER IS CHOSEN by Sonny Islas
For the full message, watch it on the Facebook video!

INTRODUCTION: Moses’ leadership is now winding down and a new leader will take his place – his faithful sidekick Joshua. But first, we will briefly read about, five faith filled sisters, who approach Moses with a special petition that pleased the LORD and therefore brought about a new law. Some have wrongfully and arrogantly called God a chauvinist (a sexist), but this couldn’t be further from the truth because here we’ll see God’s tender concern for women’s needs.

NUMBERS 27:1-11 (A NEW INHERITANCE LAW)
1 Then came the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, from the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph; and these were the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 2 And they stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the leaders and all the congregation, by the doorway of the tabernacle of meeting, saying: 3 "Our father died in the wilderness; but he was not in the company of those who gathered together against the LORD, in company with Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. 4 "Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father's brothers." 5 So Moses brought their case before the LORD. 6 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 7 "The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right; you shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their father's brothers, and cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them. 8 "And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter. 9 'If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 'If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father's brothers. 11 'And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the relative closest him in his family, and he shall possess it.'" And it shall be to the children of Israel a statute of judgment, just as the LORD commanded Moses.

Some accuse GOD or at least the writers of the Bible to be chauvinistic but here we see that GOD is looking after these sisters whose father died, and who had no brothers.

Rather than dismissing their case and giving the land to near male relatives, the LORD declared that these ladies were right, and instructed Moses to grant them land rights.
Neither did the LORD say, “Your father died in rebellion against Me, therefore I will not hear your petition”. No; He confirmed these sisters their right to the land!
And it wasn’t just for their sakes, but this became a law to be obeyed for all generations, from that time forward.
Note from James:
On the issue of tribes as they relate to their territories, there is a false teaching called British Israelism that leans heavily on the notion that there are “ten lost tribes”. Yet from the clear teaching of Scripture, we know that this is not so.

This false teaching seeks to strip Israel as a kingdom or State of her right to the land and having a position before GOD and a special purpose He has yet to fulfill.
For details on this, check out The Ten Lost Tribes Weren’t Lost by Israel My Glory ministries. https://israelmyglory.org/article/the-ten-lost-tribes-werent-lost/

From the above article:

“The phrase the lost tribes of Israel emits a certain ring of mystery that romanticizes the disappearance of the Israelites taken captive by Assyria in 722 B.C. Although the phrase is nowhere in Scripture, it is indispensable to a false teaching known as British-Israelism.

“British-Israelism, or Anglo-Israelism, came into existence more than 150 years ago. Richard Brothers (1757–1824), an Englishman, is given the dubious distinction of originating this method of biblical interpretation. It is a theological anti-Semitism that contends the AngloSaxon people are, in fact, Israel and, consequently, the true heirs of all of God’s promises to the Jewish nation.

“British-Israelism rests on four erroneous postulates:”

1. Not a single Israelite remained in the land after Assyria deported the ten northern tribes of Israel.
2. The British are Israelitish Ephraim, with the fledgling United States later installed under the mantle of Manasseh, thus fulfilling Jacob’ s prophecy regarding Joseph’s two sons in GEN 48.
3. Israel (the ten northern tribes) is forever distinguished from the house of Judah (Jews), which has been left under a permanent curse emanating from the idea that it was Judah and Levi who put Christ to death saying, “His blood be on us, and on our children” (MATT 27:25).
4. All of the divine promises to Israel find fruition in God’s blessings on England and America, which will prepare the kingdom and deliver it to Jesus Christ. The occupant of the throne of England will relinquish the seat of authority to Christ, thus completing the process of the restoration of Israel.” ~ end note.
NUMBERS 27:12-14
12 Now the LORD said to Moses: "Go up into this Mount Abarim and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel. 13 "And when you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was gathered. 14 "For in the Wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to hallow Me at the waters before their eyes
. (These are the waters of Meribah, at Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin.)

[vs 12] GO UP:

God commands Moses to climb to the top of Mount Abarim (aka Nebo), but before he does, he’s to confirm Joshua as Israel’s new leader.

From DEUTERONOMY Chapters 31-34, Moses encourages Joshua, then Moses sings a song (DEUT 31:22; REV 15:3), then Moses gives his last words to Israel in the form of a blessing, then, Moses goes up to Mount Nebo to look at the land of Canaan and was in awe of God’s faithfulness, after which his soul was taken to (paradise – Abraham’s bosom) and his body to be buried by the LORD in a secret place.

[vs. 12 cont’d] AND SEE THE LAND:

Some may think that God was being harsh in showing Moses the land of promise all the while not letting Moses enter; as though God was teasing Moses (like a mean uncle waving a Snickers bar in his little nephews face, then when the little guy goes to grab it, the mean uncle pulls it back and puts it back in his pocket).
But that’s not the case at all. On the contrary, Moses rejoiced in the moment and no doubt praised God for His faithfulness. After forty very hard years of overwhelming ministry work, it was God’s way of telling Moses, “your work here is done son, it’s time for you to rest and let Joshua take the baton.”

[vs. 13] AND WHEN YOU HAVE SEEN IT, YOU SHALL BE GATHERED TO YOUR PEOPLE AS AARON WAS GATHERED:

There is something very sweet and comforting about this word “gathered.” We all like gatherings, right? Especially when your family and friends are there and there’s delicious food (like my sister Jessica’s amazing Italian pasta salad).

In reality, Moses is getting the better end of the deal, because he gets to go to heaven (aka Abraham’s bosom/paradise)! Moses will be “gathered” to his family, his godly parents, Amram and Jochebed, His godly siblings, Miriam, and Aaron. He also, no doubt, gets to have awesome conversations with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Above all, Moses gets to be the immediate presence of the LORD.

This was a bittersweet moment for Moses. But he knew that God knew what He was doing and whatever God wanted, Moses wanted, even if it meant that Moses was no longer going to be in the picture as Israel’s finest leader.

[vs.14] FOR… YOU REBELLED AGAINST MY COMMAND: God lovingly reminds Moses why he’s not taking Israel into the promised land. Back in NUMBERS 20, when God commanded Moses to speak to the rock in order to quench Israel’s thirst, Moses took it upon himself to strike the rock twice instead. Moses dishonored the LORD in the sight of all with his blatant disobedience. And leaders are held at a higher standard (JAMES 3:1).

NUMBERS 27:15-18
15 Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying: 16 "Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 17 "who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the LORD may not be like sheep which have no shepherd. 18 And the LORD said to Moses: "Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him
;

I love Moses’ response.
He didn’t complain, He didn’t argue with God, he didn’t try to defend himself, he didn’t try to change God’s mind on the matter. He simply thought about the care and safety of Israel, the congregation. Moses’ humility and selflessness just continued to ooze out of him, even at the end of his life and ministry.

Moses requested that God [vs. 16] set a man over the congregation; one who would lead with a shepherd’s heart.

Isn’t this just like the heart of Jesus, our Good Shepherd (and Chief Shepherd; 1 PET 5:4)?
MATTHEW 9:36
But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”
Moses didn’t want to see Israel in this pitiful and vulnerable condition.

[vs. 18] TAKE JOSHUA:

I’m sure that Moses was super happy by the LORD’s choice because Numbers 11 calls Joshua, “Moses’ assistant and one of Moses’ choice men.”

[vs. 18 cont’d] A MAN IN WHOM IS THE SPIRIT:

Joshua was not only a blessed ‘sidekick’ and faithful servant to Moses and a brave warrior (Joshua and Caleb were the only two of the ten spies willing to take down the giants in Canaan!), but he was also a man of wisdom and filled with the Spirit of God, which is just the kind of leader/shepherd, Israel is going to need! Joshua is one who depended on Yahweh, one who no doubt trembled at God’s Word on Mt. Sinai along with Moses and others. Joshua was holy, honest, courageous, selfless, loving, and wise.

I think that God picked just the right man for the job. Joshua no doubt had a heart that resembled Moses’ heart, a mind that resembled Moses’ mind, and convictions that resembled Moses’ convictions, especially after working side by side with Moses for decades. i.e.
JOSHUA 24:31 says,
Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the Lord which He had done for Israel.” Joshua died at 110 years old and basically served the LORD his entire life.

JOSHUA 12 records that Joshua conquered thirty one kings!!

JOSHUA 11:23
So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war
.
NUMBERS 27:19-22
19 "set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation and inaugurate him in their sight. 20 "And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21 "He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the LORD for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him-all the congregation." 22 So Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation
.

Joshua was to be publicly confirmed as Israel’s next leader in order for all to witness the transfer of power. Moses was to lay hands-on Joshua as a symbol of choice and blessing.

We see this pattern when choosing and confirming elders/pastors/shepherds/bishops and overseers in the New Testament Church.
Paul says in:
1 TIMOTHY 4:14
Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership
.
Ten years ago, Pastor Danny laid hands on me to pray over me and to publicly confirm me as a pastor. Two years ago, I did the same for Albert and James. This is the procedure in inaugurating pastors. It’s a public ceremony or event. It is a very special one as the LORD raises up new elders.
ACTS 20:28 says that
the Holy Spirit makes us overseers.” The Holy Spirit does the inner calling and choosing, and the church, mainly the elders do the public confirming by the laying on of hands.

Paul warns Timothy not to be too quick to confirm a pastor. He says, in:
1 TIMOTHY 5:22
Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure
.
He warns in this severe way because, if a church confirms the wrong man, that can cause severe damage to the fellowship. This wrong man - could be a novice (new believer) who is susceptible to false teaching (due to being untrained in the Word), a greedy man, a prideful, position-hungry man, a lustful man, a lazy man, a careless man etc.

Men must be qualified for the pastorate. He doesn’t have to be a perfect or sinless man, because no man is but Christ, but he must meet the qualifications found in 1 TIMOTHY 3 and TITUS 1.

“Must be blameless” (a good testimony in and out of the church), “husband of one wife” (can’t be unfaithful, a porn watcher, a flirt, etc.), temperate (good attitude all the time), Sober-minded, hospitable, “not a drunk, not violent, not covetous, one who rules his house well, able to teach the bible well,” etc.

Regarding spiritual leadership, a pastor is to lead by example, his marriage, his children, his work ethic, who he is, both in public and in private must honor the LORD.

Moses, being replaced by another leader/shepherd, is a reminder that every pastor will eventually be replaced by another. I know that one day, the LORD will have another take my position here at SHINE BRIGHT Church. I just pray and hope that he’s a Joshua-like man.

Lastly, in verse 21, we find that Joshua is not going to have that same face to face access with Yahweh like Moses did, but that Joshua will have to go through Eleazar the priest when Joshua needs answers from God - for the most part.

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