Reading through the Bible together
Chapter 27 begins with inheritance issues that will be discussed more fully in Numbers 36. First, let’s focus on other contents of this chapter. Moses had reacted to a murmuring crowd in a very human way, with human emotions. In the process he placed himself in the position reserved only for God, saying, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10) Moses then struck the rock, twice, instead of speaking to it as God had instructed. In so doing, Moses had gravely misrepresented God (see Numbers 27:14). Although God still granted a miracle in providing water, he could not let this display of human anger and outright disobedience go unnoticed in the life of His dear servant. The people must understand that right is right and wrong is wrong, and that all actions have consequences - especially acts of willful disobedience.
As a result of his sin, Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land; another leader must be chosen. Moses asked God to appoint the man who was to follow him (see Numbers 27:16). He had led the nation for four decades. The Israelites had been a rebellious and complaining people and although they had severely tested his patience, Moses still felt concern and great anxiety for their future. “Who would feel the interest for their welfare that he had felt?” (PP 462).
At this point in time, Moses was 120 years old (see Deut. 31:2), nearly twice the age of all the other males in the camp. Besides himself, the only other adults still alive who had originally left Egypt were Caleb and Joshua, the two faithful spies. The ten unfaithful spies had died in the wilderness during the past 40 years, along with every other adult male and probably most adult females from the original group that had left Egypt. Wouldn’t it make sense to choose a leader from the two who had traveled the entire journey while consistently demonstrating their faithfulness? That meant choosing either Caleb or Joshua. So it was. God instructed Moses to select Joshua as the one to follow in the leadership role. Thus Joshua would be the one who would lead God’s people into the Promised Land.
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