“‘Go to the top of Pisgah and look to the west, north, south, and east, and see it with your own eyes, for you will not cross this Jordan. But commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will cross over ahead of the people and enable them to inherit this land that you will see." So we stayed in the valley facing Beth-Peor.’” Deuteronomy 3:27-29 (HCSB)
It has been said that success is defined by the successor. That is, it’s not enough to create a big organization. The true test of ministry success is whether you can build something that would thrive in your absence. Every organization that is dependent on a founder/leader’s charisma must cope with the eventual absence/extraction of its charismatic leader.
Healthy organizations are built on principles, products, ideals, and ideas that are bigger than any particular leader.
One scenario that is particularly tense is how a leader copes with their eventual passing. Do they mentor a young leader, pick an older colleague as a successor, or leave the organization unfit for the future? This was Moses’ test. The Lord told him he would die soon, and Joshua would succeed him.
Remember how God told Abraham he would not enter the land, but His offspring would? Abraham trusted the Lord. For him, simply knowing the future was the same as living it. He died in peace.
On the other hand, Saul knew David was anointed as his successor. Saul did not delight in God’s provision for Israel. He wanted his son Jonathan to be king and even rebuked Jonathan for accepting David’s eventual kingship. So, Saul tried to kill David.
At the time of Jesus’ birth, Herod tried to prevent Messiah from reigning by murdering the male babies in Bethlehem.
Moses had to decide to either honor the Lord or give himself over to envy. The Lord told Moses that Joshua would accomplish Moses’ dream: Joshua would lead Israel into Canaan. Furthermore, God also commanded Moses to encourage and strengthen Joshua.
It is a testimony of Moses’ humility that he obeyed the Lord. Standing on top of Mount Pisgah was enough for Moses to see the future…a prosperous future without Moses. By the way, it is impossible to view the entire Promised Land from where Moses stood. (Believe me, I’ve been there many times.) So, the Lord must have enabled Moses to see (as Abraham was enabled) what is impossible for men.
Christian leaders must set their hearts on the betterment of the community of believers (above personal agendas) to ensure the next generation thrives in the Lord.
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