Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXIX: Discipling Others Into Responsible Spiritual Oversight
(Deuteronomy 31:1-23)
  1. Introduction
    1. It is important that the "baton" of spiritual leadership be passed from one generation to the next. Paul actually commanded Timothy to minister to the development of newer leaders in 2 Timo thy 2:2.
    2. However, it is important to have a "real life model" for this process, and God had Moses exemplify how this process was to occur in the grooming of Joshua to replace Moses as Israel's leader (as follows):
  2. Discipling Others Into Responsible Spiritual Oversight, Deuteronomy 31:1-23.
    1. Just before his death, Moses addressed Israel on her need to heed God for blessing, Deuteronomy 1:1-5.
    2. Part of that address involved a special commissioning of Joshua to finalize Joshua's replacement of Moses as Israel's new spiritual leader, cf. Deuteronomy 31:1-23.
    3. However, the PROCESS for this transfer of leadership started long before this commissioning service, and illustrates how we are to groom others for responsible spiritual leadership as follows:
      1. Initially, Joshua demonstrated leadership ability, being selected by his tribe as a tribal leader, Numbers 13:2-3, 8, 16. Thus, by his family, extended family and neighbors, he was seen as having such ability.
      2. Moses then selected Joshua as his understudy, making Joshua his personal servant, Joshua 1:1.
      3. Joshua appeared as one of the seventy elders who were equipped by God for spiritual oversight service to help Moses judge the nation, cf. Numbers 11:25-29.
      4. In his position under Moses, Joshua performed well under negative pressure when he stood with Caleb against the faithless nation in support of Moses in contrast to the faithless spies, cf. Numbers 14:6ff.
      5. Forty years later, God directed Moses to commission Joshua to be the official military commander for the nation, Numbers 27:12-23. Though Joshua had already served in an unofficial capacity in this realm (cf. Exodus 17:9ff), the people would thus become used to following Joshua in an official capacity in preparation for his replacement of Moses as spiritual leader of the nation.
    4. Thus, when the commissioning of Joshua to replace Moses actually occurred, the transition in leadership was conducted smoothly as God led both men as follows (Deut eronomy 31:1-23):
      1. Moses made private and public announcements to Joshua about his new oversight, Deut. 31:3-6, 7-8.
      2. Then, Moses charged the Levites to assist Joshua through their publicly reading the Law every Sabbatical year, Numbers 31:9-13. This would streamline Joshua's job in causing the people to know what he was supposed to do in leading them, and work to keep Joshua heeding that law in leadership as the people knew the standard and rule to which he was to be held accountable in his oversight.
      3. Then, God Himself worked to verify Joshua's commissioning for Joshua's sake as follows:
        1. God ordered Moses and Joshua to appear before His presence in the tabernacle, Deut. 31:14-15.
        2. Then, in the hearing of Joshua, the Lord gave Moses insight into the future sin of the nation, Deut. 31:16-22. This is a remarkably influential event for Joshua, for later God would communicate to him only indirectly through the Urim and Thummim, not face to face as here, Deut. 34:10. Thus, God was powerfully showing Joshua the validity of the coming apostasy of the nation.
        3. Then, significantly, God verbally charged Joshua with the same content Moses had earlier charged him, cf. Deut. 31:23 with 31:7-8! This event would visibly prove to Joshua that everything Moses had done in leading Israel and himself was what God had ordered, and solidify to Joshua the significance of all he had learned from Moses. This would encourage Joshua at future times when the burden of leading the nation (battle of Ai, etc.) proved to be discouraging or overwhe lming.
Lesson: Through a long series of stages, Joshua came to replace Moses as Israel's spiritual leader.

Application: (1) We must first IDENTIFY potential candidates for spiritual leadership as seen in how they function in their personal lives among those who know them best. (2) Then, we are to give them varying degrees of leadership roles and see them tested in them, 1 Timothy 3:8, 10. (3) In the process, we are to direct these leaders on the standard and rule against which their conduct in leadership will be evaluated -- the Word of God. (4) Eventually, GOD will signal to the group's leaders when a given man is READY to replace them, and in what STEPS! The transition will then be smooth and edifying!