Moses:16-17 Please, take care of these people. Eternal One, God of the spirit in all human beings, see to it that an able leader is appointed to guide and direct Your people by going out and coming in before them so that they are not like sheep without a shepherd.
If you just read these verses you’d be impressed by Moses. He’s getting old, coming to the end of his time as leader of Israel, ready to sit by the fire with a good book and comfy slippers. He’s looking to make sure Israel is going to be left ok with a good leader. Except that’s not quite what’s going on and the truth is even more admirable.
If you glance back a few verses Moses might be getting on in years with some aches and pains but he’s not stepping down right on the edge of the Promised Land because he wants to. He’s not passing the leader’s mantle to someone else as they come to the place they have been heading for 40 years because he’s ready to retire. God has just told him, or reminded him, that he’s not going to enter the Promised Land because of a mistake he made out in the wilderness. In fact, if you look at Numbers 27:12-14 it is almost as if God is teasing Moses. He takes Moses up a mountain, shows Him the land and says ‘but you aren’t going in there’.
I’m not sure I’d respond as Moses did. If you have ever been disappointed, been ‘robbed’ of the results of your hard work then you’ll have an idea how Moses might have felt. He’d had 40 years minding sheep. God sent him to do an impossible thing where he got death threats from Pharaoh. He was chased to the Red Sea and then had 40 years dealing with the complaining, whining Israelites in the wilderness. Now finally he is told that this is as far as he goes, where he is going to die, on the brink of success.
But Moses’ heart shines through. The heart that caused him to be recognised as a most humble man. The heart that allowed him to see the glory of the Lord. The heart that meant he could speak with God face-to-face in the Tent. His response is love. Love for the people that they be guided properly and not left to wander and go astray. The heart that loved God and wanted Him to be pleased with His people. The heart that submitted to God and didn’t argue “but that’s not fair”.
That’s the response God wants from us when we face disappointment when we feel cheated of or denied what we deserve. Moses submitted to God’s will. He may not have used Job’s words but his actions show the same sentiment. The ability to submit is a gift from God but the practice to strengthen that gift is our choice.
I’m too quick to say ‘not fair’ when a better response would be ‘God knows the end from the beginning’ or ‘God intended this for good’ or ‘not my will but Yours’. A better response would be to trust and expect God to bring something good out of it. I pray God continues to teach us all how to trust Him.