devotions from Jefferson Vann # 2348
the weight of leadership
Num 27:12 Yahveh said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the children of Israel.
Num 27:13 When you have seen it, you also will be gathered to your people, like your brother Aaron was,
Num 27:14 because you rebelled against my word in the desert of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold me as holy at the water in the sight of their eyes.” (These refer to the water of Meribah of Kadesh in the desert of Zin.)
Num 27:15 Moses spoke to Yahveh, and this is what he said,
Num 27:16 “Let Yahveh, the God of the breath of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation
Num 27:17 who will go out in the sight of them and come in in the sight of them, who will lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of Yahveh may not be like sheep that have no shepherd.”
Num 27:18 So Yahveh said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.
Num 27:19 Make him stand in the sight of Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you will commission him in their sight.
Num 27:20 You will invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey.
Num 27:21 And he will stand in the sight of Eleazar the priest, who will inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim in the sight of Yahveh. At his word they will go out, and at his word they will come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.”
Num 27:22 And Moses did as Yahveh commanded him. He took Joshua and made him stand in the sight of Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation,
Num 27:23 and he laid his hands on him and commissioned him as Yahveh directed through Moses.
the weight of leadership
The tradition of laying hands on a newly appointed leader goes back to this practice, commanded by God to Moses as he was commissioning Joshua as his replacement. It involved doing literally what you were doing figuratively. Moses was to place his hand on Joshua, resting his weight (hod) on him, which symbolized his authority (hod).
The leaders among us are to be respected because of the weight of their responsibility. That does not excuse them for their mistakes, as we learn so well from Moses’ story. But we do have the responsibility to pray for their strength to carry the burden of leadership with integrity.
LORD, give our leaders the strength to carry the burdens you give them.