“Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, ‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.’” (Numbers 27:15-17)
The Lord God had instructed Moses to bid farewell to the people he had led for more than forty years. Now that the people were about to enter the Promised Land, Moses’ task was over. He would die.
As a last request to the Lord God, Moses asked for a successor to lead the people in the conquest of their land. The “leading out and bringing in” that Moses speaks of has military connotations. The people would have to undertake campaigns to drive out the original population. For that, they needed an experienced captain. Moreover, that captain had to give direction and care for the people like a shepherd. Otherwise, the people would be like a flock of sheep wandering aimlessly.
Centuries later, the Lord Jesus used the same image. He added, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). And He did not come for one particular people – but for all who believe in Him.
What similarities do you see between a shepherd, the leader of a people, and the Lord Jesus? Does the image of a shepherd who wants to lead and protect you, appeal to you?