May 30, 2023

God Prepares You for Your Future.

Numbers 26–27

Jonathan Landon
Tuesday's Devo

May 30, 2023

Tuesday's Devo

May 30, 2023

Big Idea

God's instruction can always be trusted.

Key Verse | Numbers 27:17

"Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation 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."

Numbers 26–27

Census of the New Generation

After the plague, the LORD said to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron, the priest, “Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers' houses, all in Israel who are able to go to war.” And Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, “Take a census of the people, 1 26:4 Take a census of the people is implied (compare verse 2) from twenty years old and upward,” as the LORD commanded Moses. The people of Israel who came out of the land of Egypt were:

Reuben, the firstborn of Israel; the sons of Reuben: of Hanoch, the clan of the Hanochites; of Pallu, the clan of the Palluites; of Hezron, the clan of the Hezronites; of Carmi, the clan of the Carmites. These are the clans of the Reubenites, and those listed were 43,730. And the sons of Pallu: Eliab. The sons of Eliab: Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram, chosen from the congregation, who contended against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against the LORD 10 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, when the fire devoured 250 men, and they became a warning. 11 But the sons of Korah did not die.

12 The sons of Simeon according to their clans: of Nemuel, the clan of the Nemuelites; of Jamin, the clan of the Jaminites; of Jachin, the clan of the Jachinites; 13 of Zerah, the clan of the Zerahites; of Shaul, the clan of the Shaulites. 14 These are the clans of the Simeonites, 22,200.

15 The sons of Gad according to their clans: of Zephon, the clan of the Zephonites; of Haggi, the clan of the Haggites; of Shuni, the clan of the Shunites; 16 of Ozni, the clan of the Oznites; of Eri, the clan of the Erites; 17 of Arod, the clan of the Arodites; of Areli, the clan of the Arelites. 18 These are the clans of the sons of Gad as they were listed, 40,500.

19 The sons of Judah were Er and Onan; and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. 20 And the sons of Judah according to their clans were: of Shelah, the clan of the Shelanites; of Perez, the clan of the Perezites; of Zerah, the clan of the Zerahites. 21 And the sons of Perez were: of Hezron, the clan of the Hezronites; of Hamul, the clan of the Hamulites. 22 These are the clans of Judah as they were listed, 76,500.

23 The sons of Issachar according to their clans: of Tola, the clan of the Tolaites; of Puvah, the clan of the Punites; 24 of Jashub, the clan of the Jashubites; of Shimron, the clan of the Shimronites. 25 These are the clans of Issachar as they were listed, 64,300.

26 The sons of Zebulun, according to their clans: of Sered, the clan of the Seredites; of Elon, the clan of the Elonites; of Jahleel, the clan of the Jahleelites. 27 These are the clans of the Zebulunites as they were listed, 60,500.

28 The sons of Joseph according to their clans: Manasseh and Ephraim. 29 The sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the clan of the Machirites; and Machir was the father of Gilead; of Gilead, the clan of the Gileadites. 30 These are the sons of Gilead: of Iezer, the clan of the Iezerites; of Helek, the clan of the Helekites; 31 and of Asriel, the clan of the Asrielites; and of Shechem, the clan of the Shechemites; 32 and of Shemida, the clan of the Shemidaites; and of Hepher, the clan of the Hepherites. 33 Now Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters. And the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 34 These are the clans of Manasseh, and those listed were 52,700.

35 These are the sons of Ephraim according to their clans: of Shuthelah, the clan of the Shuthelahites; of Becher, the clan of the Becherites; of Tahan, the clan of the Tahanites. 36 And these are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the clan of the Eranites. 37 These are the clans of the sons of Ephraim as they were listed, 32,500. These are the sons of Joseph according to their clans.

38 The sons of Benjamin according to their clans: of Bela, the clan of the Belaites; of Ashbel, the clan of the Ashbelites; of Ahiram, the clan of the Ahiramites; 39 of Shephupham, the clan of the Shuphamites; of Hupham, the clan of the Huphamites. 40 And the sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the clan of the Ardites; of Naaman, the clan of the Naamites. 41 These are the sons of Benjamin according to their clans, and those listed were 45,600.

42 These are the sons of Dan according to their clans: of Shuham, the clan of the Shuhamites. These are the clans of Dan according to their clans. 43 All the clans of the Shuhamites, as they were listed, were 64,400.

44 The sons of Asher according to their clans: of Imnah, the clan of the Imnites; of Ishvi, the clan of the Ishvites; of Beriah, the clan of the Beriites. 45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the clan of the Heberites; of Malchiel, the clan of the Malchielites. 46 And the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah. 47 These are the clans of the sons of Asher as they were listed, 53,400.

48 The sons of Naphtali according to their clans: of Jahzeel, the clan of the Jahzeelites; of Guni, the clan of the Gunites; 49 of Jezer, the clan of the Jezerites; of Shillem, the clan of the Shillemites. 50 These are the clans of Naphtali according to their clans, and those listed were 45,400.

51 This was the list of the people of Israel, 601,730.

52 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 53 “Among these the land shall be divided for inheritance according to the number of names. 54 To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance; every tribe shall be given its inheritance in proportion to its list. 55 But the land shall be divided by lot. According to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit. 56 Their inheritance shall be divided according to lot between the larger and the smaller.”

57 This was the list of the Levites according to their clans: of Gershon, the clan of the Gershonites; of Kohath, the clan of the Kohathites; of Merari, the clan of the Merarites. 58 These are the clans of Levi: the clan of the Libnites, the clan of the Hebronites, the clan of the Mahlites, the clan of the Mushites, the clan of the Korahites. And Kohath was the father of Amram. 59 The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt. And she bore to Amram Aaron and Moses and Miriam their sister. 60 And to Aaron were born Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 61 But Nadab and Abihu died when they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD. 62 And those listed were 23,000, every male from a month old and upward. For they were not listed among the people of Israel, because there was no inheritance given to them among the people of Israel.

63 These were those listed by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who listed the people of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho. 64 But among these there was not one of those listed by Moses and Aaron the priest, who had listed the people of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. 65 For the LORD had said of them, “They shall die in the wilderness.” Not one of them was left, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

The Daughters of Zelophehad

Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of Manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the chiefs and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin. And he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father's brothers.”

Moses brought their case before the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, “The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their father's brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them. And you shall speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter. And if he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 And if he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father's brothers. 11 And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it. And it shall be for the people of Israel a statute and rule, as the LORD commanded Moses.’”

Joshua to Succeed Moses

12 The LORD said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the people of Israel. 13 When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, 14 because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold me as holy at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.) 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. 20 You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey. 21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.” 22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and made him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation, 23 and he laid his hands on him and commissioned him as the LORD directed through Moses.


[1] 26:4 Take a census of the people is implied (compare verse 2)

S2:102 Numbers 26 - 27

Listen Now

Dive Deeper | Numbers 26–27

When Jesus traveled to teach and proclaim the gospel, He looked compassionately at the people He met, for they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:35-36).

Perhaps you, too, feel harassed and helpless, fearful of the future, grieved by the pervasiveness of your sin, or tempted to give up on Christianity altogether. Whenever news breaks of another Christian leader falling into grievous sin or deconstructing the faith, I get easily discouraged. What makes me think I'll persevere in the faith if they fell? What's keeping us from becoming like Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 26:9) or Nadab and Abihu (Numbers 26:61), who rebelled against the Lord? The world offers up plenty of discouragement, but our hope for the future is found in our good and faithful Shepherd.

Moses had faithfully led God's people through the wilderness, but as he neared the end of his life, he recognized the people's continued need for a shepherd. He appealed to God to raise up a man over the congregation to guide, protect, and lead them into the Promised Land, so they would not be like sheep without a shepherd. And how does the Lord respond? He appoints a man whose name means "God is salvation," who encourages the people not to be afraid, calls them to love and obey God, leads them into battle, and ushers them into the Promised Land. Sound familiar?

Jesus is the true and ultimate shepherd God promised to Moses and the people. Jesus speaks peace to our troubled hearts (John 14:27). He calls us into deep and meaningful fellowship rooted in love and obedience (John 15:9-15). He leads us into battle against our sin, promising victory and deliverance into His eternal kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18). Because Jesus reigns victoriously over sin and death, everything will be okay. More than okay. Christ has secured our redemption, and the Spirit is actively at work to equip and prepare us for our eternal home. God will dwell with us, wipe away every tear from our eyes, destroy death, and make all things new (Revelation 21:3-5). Our future is incredibly bright!

This month's memory verse

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

– Philippians 2:3–4

Discussion Questions

1. Consider this quote from a Puritan preacher named Jeremiah Burroughs:

"Suppose a sheep entangled in briars heard the shepherd's voice, but could not come, but was bleating and crying after the shepherd. When he found it, would not the shepherd pity the sheep and untangle it? So does Christ with his sheep that are striving, but are yet entangled in corruption."

What "briars" has God saved you from? Spend time thanking Him for His great compassion toward you. What "briars" are you currently entangled in? Ask God to draw near to you and provide deliverance. The Psalms (including Psalms 46, 69, 91, and 143) serve as helpful guides when we are at a loss for what to pray.

2. Sometimes, we are too weak to respond to our Shepherd's voice, so we need others to carry us to Him. Who in your life regularly helps you hear and respond to the voice of Jesus? Consider calling or sending them a text today to thank and honor them. Likewise, who has God placed in your life for you to encourage and help? Pray for and consider how you can help them today.

3. Ephesians 2:10 says, "[W]e are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." God prepares the good works for us, so we can have complete confidence in Him to accomplish all that He intends in and through us. What good works is He leading you into today?

4. One function of a shepherd is to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). How do you currently feel underprepared for the future God has planned for you? What steps can you take to be equipped for future good works?

Respond to Today's Passage

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Hugh Stephenson

Good morning, Jonathan. Love your list of Joshua’s characteristics; especially “leads then into battle”. Given the constant spiritual warfare we face we need combat leaders. I love the call to us to see church as a battleship, not a cruise ship. Q1. What briars? All of them. The all-encompassing briars are the ones that entangle me into believing that I can be a “fan” of Jesus; being a follower is not necessary. Even more, those briars tell me there are no real foes. Even me. Within these briars, all other sin is conceived, born, and nurtured to mature rebellion. Q2. Who helps me? All of them. Most importantly, Amy. Who knows me better than anyone and, in many ways, better than I know myself. I am also blessed with a wonderful CG. Two of the couples co-lead with us in Prodigal so they get a deep view of my parenting and marital defeats and victories. Q3. What good works? All of them. Continuing to grow in spiritual leadership is paramount. Boldly sharing my testimony and proclaiming my weaknesses. Teaching and leading in Prodigal. Shepherding CGs. And, most fun of all, serving in pre-school on Sundays. This last one is a blessing. Not really like serving. Q4. What equipping steps? All of them. Most important is prayer. There is so much I need to learn. I love the Lord’s prayer as well as Psalm 23. Also I love Daniel’s prayer, (Daniel 9:1-19). Morning prayers of praise and gratitude prepare me for the day ahead. And I love to pray for Amy as I know that she will be the primary focus of Satan as he seeks to destroy me and the mission to which God has called me. Lastly, Tim Keller’s book on prayer is a needed re-read.

Hugh Stephenson

God is true to His promises. All 7,487 of them. So much of this passage of God’s story points to a very important truth- The Bible is the best imaginable combination of a leadership manual with a long list of actual examples of how the truths were lived out…or not. A partial list- Adam Noah Abraham Isaac Jacob Joseph Moses Joshua Samuel Saul David Solomon A long list after Solomon of examples running through the entire spectrum and back. Jesus Peter John Paul While there are many examples of practical leadership the ones that get my attention the most are the examples of spiritual leadership- the good, the bad, and the ugly. One critical lesson was highlighted by a sermon awhile back whose core message was this- “Your success is determined by your successor.” Sobering. It’s an interesting truth to observe what happens to a company when the founder leaves. In almost all circumstances the company’s performance falls off dramatically. As a 40 yearly follower of Warren Buffett I took notice when he became more demonstrable in articulating how he was developing his successors. The results have been amazing. But this is rare. Note some counter examples of failure- Apple after Steve Jobs was fired. Microsoft after Bill Gates retired. Wal-Mart after Sam Walton retired. Many,many others. Moses knew how important his successor would be. I’m guessing at least part of the reason was that he knew how rebellious the people could be. As the evidence shows, Joshua was the right choice. The problem became that Joshua did not do a good job of selecting his successor. We’ll see this in Judges.

Hugh Stephenson

In spiritual leadership I see that Moses had clearly developed a culture that honored women. Further, he gave them access to voice their concerns. The five daughters of Zelophedad knew they could go to him and that he would respond. They have a serious and legitimate need. To their credit, they asked. So why didn’t God think of this? Did He miss it? If I understand His sovereignty, supremacy, and sufficiency then I can connect the dots to the answer. God did not “forget something”. He used this very important situation to remind me of a very important truth. He is Jehovah-Jireh; the same God who provided a ram in the bush to save Isaac. Given His promises of eternal inheritance wouldn’t He be true to that in the very important promise to provide the means to keep the land in the right family line? Wouldn’t His commitment to just and fair outcomes drive His response to any request? A truth I’ve been taught- All prayers are heard and answered. I may not like the answer but my prayer is heard and it will be answered. His answers will be based on His knowledge of Me and His perfect will. This side of Heaven I may not understand. But one day I will. 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Michael Sisson

Re: Num 25:1-5 Israel stumbles into a snare set for the men of Israel by the unseen hand of Balaam. (See Num 31:16 and Rev 2:14) Re: Num 25:6-18 Num 25:12-13 (NASB) “Therefore say, ‘Behold, >>>I give him My covenant of peace; and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.’ ”<<< In his zeal for G-d’s holiness and his turning aside the anger of the L-rd, Pinchas (Phinehas) is a type of the Messiah our Prince of Peace and Great High Priest. Re: Num 26:33 See Num 27:1-11 Re: Num 27:4-11 God’s answer reflects His equally high regard for righteous women. Re: Num 27:15-23 In light of the prophecy of Dt 18:15, 18-19; it would seem more than coincidental that Joshua would immediately succeed Moses, while Yeshua (a man with the same Hebrew name; Jesus) would ultimately succeed Moses as Israel’s Deliverer. Re: Num 27:17 Num 27:17 (NASB) who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so >>>that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”<<< See Mt 9:36, Mk 6:34

Shawn Foster

Outstanding devotional Jonathan. Especially the last paragraph. My wife, the men in summit, Basecamp, community and many others regularly help me hear our shepherd’s voice, and Watermark music helps engrave truth on my heart. And now you. Thank you very much! What a friend we have in Jesus and citadel of hope called Watermark. HAGWOW

Sue Bohlin

Super devo, Landon thank you! Especially the Puritan quote. Good stuff. I am thankful that Moses recorded the story of the daughters of Zelophehad. Love that they stepped up to ask for what they wanted, and love Moses' response to immediately go to the Lord for help rather than figuring out a solution on his own. It's so simple but SUCH a powerful example for us today.

Amy Lowther

1. God has helped me through being entangled in fear of failure, anxiety, and anger. Prayer: God, thank you for helping me through struggles. Thank you for loving me and helping me see the light that shines for each and everyone of us. May I continue to work in your glory. Amen. Currently, life is level. 2. I have friends I talk to each day and hang out with frequently who like Jesus too. They shine like Jesus and give me great examples of His values. Anyone of the general public can be encouraged or helped. Prayer: God let me be who you created me to be. Help me to be a light for others, share your words, and encourage them to do their best. Amen. 3. God is leading me into serving others and strengthening friendships. 4. I feel equipped for the future because I know God will help me. I can do this because I am familiar with His character and His style.

Michael Scaman

"11 But the sons of Korah did not die." Korah (meaning baldie according to Spurgean died, he opposed God's holiness. His surviving sons would be come poster children for protecting God's holiness and a picture of stunning grace) They carried the ark and later became bouncers in the temple, gatekeepers and wrote Psalms. They often sang how they should be in the grave with Korah (meaning baldie but are not by God's grace ). If a man dies with no children his inheritance goes to his brothers. I wonder if this is a supporting text for the church of brothers of Christ being co heirs with him. Yes Joshua is salvation. God's right hand is also a metaphor in the Bible for salvation as well and salvation is literally seated at God's right hand. As far as listening to God's voice the poetic center verse of Psalms of the center book of the 5 books of Psalms is "Oh that My people would listen to Me" ( Book 3, Psalm 81:13 )