Summary of passage: The Lord tells Moses it is his time to die for his sins against him (Numbers 20:1-13). But first he may climb a mountain and see the Promised Land before he dies. Moses asks for a leader to be appointed to follow him so the people are not leaderless. God said to appoint Joshua, a man with the Spirit in him, to take his spot through a ceremony performed by Eleazar, the high priest, to pass on Moses’s authority. He will command the movements of the Israelites. Moses did as the Lord commanded.
5a) He allowed Moses to climb a mountain and lay eyes upon the Land.
b) That someone else be appointed as leader of the people. His only concern seemed to be the people.
c) Personal Question. My answer: I would pray for peace and faith when I died. And no pain. I would spend every waking moment with my family and pour out my heart to them. I’d pray. I’d cry.
6) He had Joshua proclaimed leader in front of the entire community so all would know in the priest’s presence. He had Moses give him some of his authority so the whole community would obey him. He had to ask the priest, Eleazar who would ask the Urim (see end note for more) for decisions. He will command when the Israelites move.
He did not receive the fellowship of God like Moses did (no one has). He did not know God face-to-face nor could he perform miraculous signs and wonders or awesome deeds and power that Moses could. I wonder if God had been too close to Moses and too hurt by him to be as close to a human again while the human was on earth?
Conclusions: Just like with Aaron and Eleazar, God laid out a plan of succession for Moses and Joshua since Moses was the only leader the Israelites had ever known in their lives.
I wish we would have read the parallel passages in Numbers with Deuteronomy instead of reading the whole book (almost) by itself and glossing over it (Lesson 26 coming up). I loved it when we did that in the Study of Matthew last year. That way we could see the different comparisons and glean more details and more understanding. I learned a lot by studying just Numbers, but I feel I could have learned more.
End Notes: Moses does get to step foot in the Promised Land in the Transfiguration (Matthew 17; Mark 9; Luke 9). God is so gracious!
With the word shepherd here, Moses is previewing Jesus and showing us that Jesus will be the ultimate shepherd.
It is a specific mountain God wants Moses to climb but scholars are not sure which one it was.