Summary: Principles about making a successful transition in leadership drawn from Moses passing the mantle to Joshua.
A Study of the Life of Moses
Sermon # 16
“Passing On the Mantle of Leadership”
From Moses to Joshua
Tonight we come to the close of our study of the life of Moses as we see him “Passing on the Mantle of Leadership to Joshua. I believe that there are several principles that can be drawn from this closing chapter of the life of Moses.
1. Your Never too Old to Make a Terrible Mistake
It seems that anger was something that Moses always struggled with in his life. This could be encouraging to us today for two reasons. First it gives us some hope that if a man like Moses struggled with anger, we need not feel so bad that we struggle with it too. But it also shock to realize the ramifications of uncontrolled anger.
Remember from Exodus 2 (10—12) that is Moses unrestrained anger that resulted in the death of an Egyptian and his own 20 years on the backside of the desert. At about the age of 40 Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and in a rage he killed the Egyptian taskmaster. This was not a mistake of youth he was a grown man nor it because he was ignorant and uneducated for the Book of Acts (7:22) says that he “was educated with all the learning of the Egyptians.” Because of his anger he spent 40 years learning patience shepherding sheep in the desert.
Sadly this was not the last time we see his anger displayed. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments he found that the people had became restless and made an idol to worship. When Moses saw the people dancing before the idol, his anger flared according to Exodus 32:19, “So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.”
Was his anger justified? Of course it was. The problem is in how he expressed that anger. Moses took these precious tablet written by the very hand of God and in a moment of white hot fury he, “he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.”
According to Numbers chapter 14, when the Israelites arrived at the border of the Promised Land they sent in spies to check out the land. When the spies returned they all agreed that it was a land of plenty but ten of them said “But forget about conquering this land. There are giants in there. As a result the people refused to go in because of unbelief. God was so displeased with this disobedience that he said, “None of this generation will go into the land of promise except Caleb and Joshua.”
Now fast forward many years. The children of Israel have been wandering in the desert for some 39 years. In Number 20 in verses one and two, we find Moses seething with rage again. “Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh; and Miriam died there and was buried there. (2) Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron.”
It is that same old problem the Israelites are unhappy and murmuring again. It is the same old problem in verse three “And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! (4) Why have you brought up the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? (5) And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.”
Moses then takes their complaints to the Lord and in verse six to eight, the LORD gave him very clear instructions, “Take your rod, go out to the rock, speak to the rock and get out of the way.” But instead we are told in verse ten, that Moses took his rod and gathered the people and said, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” (11) Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.” Is that what God told him to do? NO! and therein lies the problem. God did not overlook or excuse Moses temper tantrum. Verse 12 reveals the consequences, “Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” God told Moses because of your sin you will not be allowed to personally guide the children of Israel into the promised land.