Joshua succeeds Moses as leader of Israel

Last updated on January 25, 2024

“So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight.’” (Numbers 27:18)

When Moses said goodbye to his people, he did not appoint a successor himself. The Lord God chose “Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit.”
It was important that Joshua had been through the entire desert journey. It was a great advantage that he had been Moses’ helper for many years. It was important that he had experience as an army commander. Moreover, he was one of twelve men who had already been to the land of Canaan as a spy (and of that group, only two people remained). These were all positives that made Joshua suitable as Moses’ successor. But the Lord God mentions another criterion: The Spirit was in him.

We often read in the Bible that individuals who were given a special, leading task by God were equipped with His Spirit. Ultimately, that is the most important characteristic of a good leader.
Moses had to publicly hand over the leadership to Joshua in front of the priest and all the people. That way there could be no discussion about who the new leader was. God Himself had chosen Joshua.

Do you think it is important for political leaders to have God’s Spirit in them? Or do you believe that politics and religion are separate areas? Why?

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