Bible commentaries – Jan. 5, 2020

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God Commissions

Numb. 27:12-23

Provisions are made for the exceptions and the irregularities of the inheritance laws but no such provisions are made for Moses. Moses and Aaron had not honored God at Kadesh and would not be allowed to enter the promised land with the new generation (Num. 20:1-13; 27:13-14). Aaron had already died and Moses would soon die. Before Moses’ death, God allowed him a glimpse of the land from the top of a mountain (Num. 27:12). Moses would return with Elijah centuries later to talk with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-8). In that sense, Moses would finally make it to the promised land.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Moses’ leadership is how he always interceded for the Israelites. On the eve of his death, his concern was for someone to lead the people. Moses asked God to appoint a leader who would be like a shepherd to the people (Num. 27:15-17).

God answers favorably for Moses and the people. God commanded Moses to commission Joshua for the task (Num. 27:18-21). Joshua was one of two heroes that emerged during Israel’s dark days of apostasy (Num. 13-14). The commissioning service was done in the presence of Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation so that there would be no objections to Joshua’s leadership. The service included the laying on of hands, which was a visible representation of Moses transferring some of his authority to Joshua. This was done so that the people would start obeying Joshua immediately. Joshua would seek guidance of the Urim, which was a process of discerning the will of God.

We need to commission and invest in spiritual leaders who will shepherd the church and lead the church to carry out its stewardship of the gospel. As Paul approached the end of his life, he was concerned about church leadership and the furtherance of the gospel, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).


Bible Studies for Life

What proof is my testimony?

Acts 26:2-5, 12-18, 24-26

She rejected repeated attempts of her family and friends to lead her to Christ. She couldn’t see any difference that Christ made in their lives. Their talk did not agree with their walk.

Her husband was an abusive and hard man. He came home one day a totally different man. He had received Christ and was so transformed she hardly knew him. She wanted what he had. It is difficult to ignore a transformed life.

Paul’s defense before King Agrippa is a powerful defense of the gospel, which gives several important insights into our testimony to Jesus Christ. First, speak to unbelievers with respect. Paul told Agrippa that he considered himself an expert in Jewish affairs and he was fortunate to be able to make a defense before him (Acts 26:1-3).

Second, Paul spoke about his life before his conversion (Acts 26:4-11). He explained he was a member of the sect of the Pharisees. Paul arrested Christians and voted to put them to death.

Third, Paul gave an account of his conversion and commission. Paul explained that he had literally seen the Light on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:12-18). The resurrected Jesus had revealed Himself known to Paul. Immediately the Lord commissioned him to be a missionary to the Gentiles (Acts 26:16-18).

Fourth, Paul stuck to the message of the gospel and the call to repentance (Acts 26:19-23). This led the fifth insight, be prepared for rejection and ridicule (Acts 26:24-25). Festus told Paul he was out of his mind. Paul said he was speaking bold words of truth and good judgment.

Lastly, Paul respectfully and straight up asks Agrippa, “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe.” Agrippa was not so easily persuaded but did come to the conclusion Paul had done nothing worthy of death or chains.

Darrell Bock, Director of Cultural Engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary, said that Paul was “the exemplary witness who calls for a response.” We need to be exemplary witnesses who call for a response. A transformed life gives credibility to our testimony.

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