You’ve got to admire Moses. He has come a long way from “send someone else” (Exodus 4:13). What’s ironic though, is that it’s evident by the fact that, at the end of his life, he’s still praying, “send someone else.”
The freshly re-numbered people of Israel (Numbers 26) are about to embark on their “Enter the Promised Land” tour. Among them, not one who had been listed when they left Egypt (26:64). Except, that is, Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. But not even Moses will cross the finish line of the Jordan because he “rebelled against My word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold Me as holy at the waters before their eyes” (Num. 27:14). But even as Moses prepares to receive the consequences of his transgression, he continues to intercede for those he had led out of bondage. And his prayer, essentially? Send someone else.
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 ESV)
Sheep without a shepherd. That was Moses’ great concern as he prepared to exit early. Though he would not walk into the promised land himself, he continued to intercede for those who would. The congregation of the LORD. Sheep. And being like sheep, there should be with them a shepherd.
Not that they deserved a shepherd, or merited a shepherd, but that they needed a shepherd. Ain’t easy being a sheep. As I read in the latter part of Romans 7 this morning, what little brain you have is often inclined to follow fleshly instinct more than godly instruction. And though the spirit might be willing to walk in the way it should walk, the sheep nature tends to be weak and wander off in the way it wants to wander. And so, sheep are gonna need a shepherd. Moses knew that. Jesus knew it too.
When He went ashore He saw a great crowd, and He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.
(Mark 6:34 ESV)
Praise God that today the congregation of the LORD is not without a shepherd. That we are not left to our own wisdom, our own sense of direction, our own self-discipline, nor our own power to enter into what God has promised for those He has delivered from bondage and has called to walk in freedom.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd (Jn. 10:11, 14). He is the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20). The Shepherd of our souls (1Pet. 2:25). The Chief Shepherd over every under-shepherd He has called to tend local representations of the flock (1Pet. 5:4). The Eternal Shepherd who Himself will guide His own to springs of living water (Rev. 7:17).
There is a Shepherd for the sheep.
The LORD is my shepherd . . . (Psalm 23:1a ESV)
Hallelujah! What a Savior.
Such amazing grace. To Him be all the glory.