Numbers 27, Psalms 70-71, Isaiah 17-18, 1 Peter 5

DateVersionReading Plan
@May 18, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Numbers 27

Numbers 27:15–19 (ESV) 15 Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, 16 “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation 17 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.” 18 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. 19 Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight.

The LORD told Moses to go into the mountain of Abarim to see the land He had given to them but that Moses would not enter himself. Moses then asked the LORD to appoint a man over the congregation and the LORD told Moses that it was to be Joshua. The humility of Moses shown here is significant. Moses was not bitter of his prohibition from entering the land, but instead was set on the well-being of the people. He acknowledged their need for shepherding and was concerned that they would have a strong and worthy leader. In perhaps the most revealing act of his heart, Moses sought the LORD first in the appointment his successor. Moses did not take on the assignment himself—such as giving the role to a son—but fully surrendered to God’s sovereign administration. This episode is a wonderful picture of the type of God-focused, service-oriented heart posture that we should have as followers of Christ.

Psalms 70-71

Psalm 71:17–18 (ESV) 17 O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. 18 So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

The psalmist recognized the LORD’s teaching from his youth and asked that he be able to proclaim the LORD’s might and power to another generation. May this be a prayer for us as well, that we would live all our days—to old age and gray hairs—declaring His excellencies to those who come after us.

Isaiah 17-18

Isaiah 17:7–8 (ESV) 7 In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. 8 He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense.

In context, this is pointing to a time beyond the judgment in which the remnant of God’s people will turn aside from false worship and to the true and living God. By God’s grace, He brings back those who have turned from Him to idolatry. He would be fully just in wiping away all who rebel (which would be the whole of humanity; Ps. 14:3), and yet He extends mercy. It is no small thing that He enlivens our hearts by the quickening of His Spirit and so draws us to Himself.

1 Peter 5

1 Peter 5:2–3 (ESV) 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

Peter exhorts the elders to have dignified oversight of the flock. They are to be willing and eager, not domineering or pursuing shameful gain and be examples to the flock. This charge extends to leaders of today who are to model uprightness in their conduct. Every earthly leader is first a follower of Christ and their full surrender to His Lordship should be evident in all they do. It is a praiseworthy thing to be under the care of those faithful to this calling.

Carson on Psalm 71

The most thoughtful of those who are converted later in life wish they had not wasted so many of their early years. Now that they have found the pearl of great price, their only regret is that they did not find it sooner. More importantly, those who are reared in godly Christian homes are steeped in Scripture from their youth. There is plenty in Scripture and in personal experience to disclose to them the perversity of their own hearts; they do not have to be sociopaths to discover what depravity means. They will be sufficiently ashamed of the sins they have committed, despite their backgrounds, that instead of wishing they could have had a worse background (!), they sometimes hang their head in shame that they have done so little with their advantages…

It is interesting that Carson takes Psalm 71 into a reflection on the differences between conversion experiences. As someone who was converted later in life (32 years old), I do have some regrets regarding the actions of my past, but I also know that my path to conversion was entirely within God’s sovereignty. Whether coming to Christ in an early age or later, we should have a deep gratitude to be among the elect whom God has chosen to save.