It is hard to overstate the important role older, godly men and women have played in my life. The impact they have had on my life is still felt today as I often think about statements they made, the character they demonstrated, and the general concern they had for me. From my perspective, they considered it both a duty and a delight to make a personal investment in my life, so that when the time came, I would be able to invest myself into someone’s life. We typically refer to these relationships as “mentor/mentee” relationships and throughout history, most especially biblical history we see the “mentor/mentee” relationship influencing every aspect of culture.
Case in point, as we come to Numbers 27, we see a transition in leadership taking place. Moses, the servant of God, has faithfully led the people to the edge of the Promised Land, but due to his failure to obey God at Meribah-kadish, God has forbidden Moses to enter the Promised Land. Instead, God instructs Moses to commission Joshua as his successor, but the commissioning service doesn’t tell the full story. If you go back and read Exodus 17 and following, you will find numerous examples of how Moses intentionally invested his life into the life of Joshua, so that Joshua would one day assume the role as leader of God’s people from Moses.
I pray that today’s reading is an encouraging reminder of how important it is that we invest in the generations that will come after us. Even if those we mentor do not lead millions of people into an unfamiliar land to face strong adversaries, they will most likely lead their family into unfamiliar cultural territory where their Christian worldview will assuredly meet opposition. It is our responsibility to insure they have been equipped to lead well.
Numbers 26–28 (CSB)
1 After the plague, the Lord said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, 2 “Take a census of the entire Israelite community by their ancestral families of those twenty years old or more who can serve in Israel’s army.” 3 So Moses and the priest Eleazar said to them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, 4 “Take a census of those twenty years old or more, as the Lord had commanded Moses and the Israelites who came out of the land of Egypt.” 5 Reuben was the firstborn of Israel. Reuben’s descendants: the Hanochite clan from Hanoch; the Palluite clan from Pallu; 6 the Hezronite clan from Hezron; the Carmite clan from Carmi. 7 These were the Reubenite clans, and their registered men numbered 43,730. 8 The son of Pallu was Eliab. 9 The sons of Eliab were Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. (It was Dathan and Abiram, chosen by the community, who fought against Moses and Aaron; they and Korah’s followers fought against the Lord. 10 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them with Korah, when his followers died and the fire consumed 250 men. They serve as a warning sign. 11 The sons of Korah, however, did not die.) 12 Simeon’s descendants by their clans: the Nemuelite clan from Nemuel; the Jaminite clan from Jamin; the Jachinite clan from Jachin; 13 the Zerahite clan from Zerah; the Shaulite clan from Shaul. 14 These were the Simeonite clans, numbering 22,200 men. 15 Gad’s descendants by their clans: the Zephonite clan from Zephon; the Haggite clan from Haggi; the Shunite clan from Shuni; 16 the Oznite clan from Ozni; the Erite clan from Eri; 17 the Arodite clan from Arod; the Arelite clan from Areli. 18 These were the Gadite clans numbered by their registered men: 40,500. 19 Judah’s sons included Er and Onan, but they died in the land of Canaan. 20 Judah’s descendants by their clans: the Shelanite clan from Shelah; the Perezite clan from Perez; the Zerahite clan from Zerah. 21 The descendants of Perez: the Hezronite clan from Hezron; the Hamulite clan from Hamul. 22 These were Judah’s clans numbered by their registered men: 76,500. 23 Issachar’s descendants by their clans: the Tolaite clan from Tola; the Punite clan from Puvah; 24 the Jashubite clan from Jashub; the Shimronite clan from Shimron. 25 These were Issachar’s clans numbered by their registered men: 64,300. 26 Zebulun’s descendants by their clans: the Seredite clan from Sered; the Elonite clan from Elon; the Jahleelite clan from Jahleel. 27 These were the Zebulunite clans numbered by their registered men: 60,500. 28 Joseph’s descendants by their clans from Manasseh and Ephraim: 29 Manasseh’s descendants: the Machirite clan from Machir. Machir fathered Gilead; the Gileadite clan from Gilead. 30 These were Gilead’s descendants: the Iezerite clan from Iezer; the Helekite clan from Helek; 31 the Asrielite clan from Asriel; the Shechemite clan from Shechem; 32 the Shemidaite clan from Shemida; the Hepherite clan from Hepher; 33 Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons—only daughters. The names of Zelophehad’s daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 34 These were Manasseh’s clans, numbered by their registered men: 52,700. 35 These were Ephraim’s descendants by their clans: the Shuthelahite clan from Shuthelah; the Becherite clan from Becher; the Tahanite clan from Tahan. 36 These were Shuthelah’s descendants: the Eranite clan from Eran. 37 These were the Ephraimite clans numbered by their registered men: 32,500. These were Joseph’s descendants by their clans. 38 Benjamin’s descendants by their clans: the Belaite clan from Bela; the Ashbelite clan from Ashbel; the Ahiramite clan from Ahiram; 39 the Shuphamite clan from Shupham; the Huphamite clan from Hupham. 40 Bela’s descendants from Ard and Naaman: the Ardite clan from Ard; the Naamite clan from Naaman. 41 These were the Benjaminite clans numbered by their registered men: 45,600. 42 These were Dan’s descendants by their clans: the Shuhamite clan from Shuham. These were the clans of Dan by their clans. 43 All the Shuhamite clans numbered by their registered men: 64,400. 44 Asher’s descendants by their clans: the Imnite clan from Imnah; the Ishvite clan from Ishvi; the Beriite clan from Beriah. 45 From Beriah’s descendants: the Heberite clan from Heber; the Malchielite clan from Malchiel. 46 And the name of Asher’s daughter was Serah. 47 These were the Asherite clans numbered by their registered men: 53,400. 48 Naphtali’s descendants by their clans: the Jahzeelite clan from Jahzeel; the Gunite clan from Guni; 49 the Jezerite clan from Jezer; the Shillemite clan from Shillem. 50 These were the Naphtali clans numbered by their registered men: 45,400. 51 These registered Israelite men numbered 601,730. 52 The Lord spoke to Moses, 53 “The land is to be divided among them as an inheritance based on the number of names. 54 Increase the inheritance for a large tribe and decrease it for a small one. Each is to be given its inheritance according to those who were registered in it. 55 The land is to be divided by lot; they will receive an inheritance according to the names of their ancestral tribes. 56 Each inheritance will be divided by lot among the larger and smaller tribes.” 57 These were the Levites registered by their clans: the Gershonite clan from Gershon; the Kohathite clan from Kohath; the Merarite clan from Merari. 58 These were the Levite family groups: the Libnite clan, the Hebronite clan, the Mahlite clan, the Mushite clan, and the Korahite clan. Kohath was the ancestor of Amram. 59 The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, a descendant of Levi, born to Levi in Egypt. She bore to Amram: Aaron, Moses, and their sister Miriam. 60 Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar were born to Aaron, 61 but Nadab and Abihu died when they presented unauthorized fire before the Lord. 62 Those registered were 23,000, every male one month old or more; they were not registered among the other Israelites, because no inheritance was given to them among the Israelites. 63 These were the ones registered by Moses and the priest Eleazar when they registered the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho. 64 But among them there was not one of those who had been registered by Moses and the priest Aaron when they registered the Israelites in the Wilderness of Sinai. 65 For the Lord had said to them that they would all die in the wilderness. None of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 1 The daughters of Zelophehad approached; Zelophehad was the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh from the clans of Manasseh, the son of Joseph. These were the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 2 They stood before Moses, the priest Eleazar, the leaders, and the entire community at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said, 3 “Our father died in the wilderness, but he was not among Korah’s followers, who gathered together against the Lord. Instead, he died because of his own sin, and he had no sons. 4 Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan? Since he had no son, give us property among our father’s brothers.” 5 Moses brought their case before the Lord, 6 and the Lord answered him, 7 “What Zelophehad’s daughters say is correct. You are to give them hereditary property among their father’s brothers and transfer their father’s inheritance to them. 8 Tell the Israelites: When a man dies without having a son, transfer his inheritance to his daughter. 9 If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. 10 If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11 If his father has no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative of his clan, and he will take possession of it. This is to be a statutory ordinance for the Israelites as the Lord commanded Moses.” 12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim range and see the land that I have given the Israelites. 13 After you have seen it, you will also be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was. 14 When the community quarreled in the Wilderness of Zin, both of you rebelled against my command to demonstrate my holiness in their sight at the waters.” Those were the Waters of Meribah-kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin. 15 So Moses appealed to the Lord, 16 “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all, appoint a man over the community 17 who will go out before them and come back in before them, and who will bring them out and bring them in, so that the Lord’s community won’t be like sheep without a shepherd.” 18 The Lord replied to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man who has the Spirit in him, and lay your hands on him. 19 Have him stand before the priest Eleazar and the whole community, and commission him in their sight. 20 Confer some of your authority on him so that the entire Israelite community will obey him. 21 He will stand before the priest Eleazar who will consult the Lord for him with the decision of the Urim. He and all the Israelites with him, even the entire community, will go out and come back in at his command.” 22 Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua, had him stand before the priest Eleazar and the entire community, 23 laid his hands on him, and commissioned him, as the Lord had spoken through Moses. 1 The Lord spoke to Moses, 2 “Command the Israelites and say to them: Be sure to present to me at its appointed time my offering and my food as my fire offering, a pleasing aroma to me. 3 And say to them: This is the fire offering you are to present to the Lord: “Each day present two unblemished year-old male lambs as a regular burnt offering. 4 Offer one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at twilight, 5 along with two quarts of fine flour for a grain offering mixed with a quart of olive oil from crushed olives. 6 It is a regular burnt offering established at Mount Sinai for a pleasing aroma, a fire offering to the Lord. 7 The drink offering is to be a quart with each lamb. Pour out the offering of beer to the Lord in the sanctuary area. 8 Offer the second lamb at twilight, along with the same kind of grain offering and drink offering as in the morning. It is a fire offering, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 9 “On the Sabbath day present two unblemished year-old male lambs, four quarts of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering, and its drink offering. 10 It is the burnt offering for every Sabbath, in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 11 “At the beginning of each of your months present a burnt offering to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, seven male lambs a year old—all unblemished—12 with six quarts of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering for each bull, four quarts of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering for the ram, 13 and two quarts of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering for each lamb. It is a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma, a fire offering to the Lord. 14 Their drink offerings are to be two quarts of wine with each bull, one and a third quarts with the ram, and one quart with each male lamb. This is the monthly burnt offering for all the months of the year. 15 And one male goat is to be offered as a sin offering to the Lord, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its drink offering. 16 “The Passover to the Lord comes in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month. 17 On the fifteenth day of this month there will be a festival; unleavened bread is to be eaten for seven days. 18 On the first day there is to be a sacred assembly; you are not to do any daily work. 19 Present a fire offering, a burnt offering to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old. Your animals are to be unblemished. 20 The grain offering with them is to be of fine flour mixed with oil; offer six quarts with each bull and four quarts with the ram. 21 Offer two quarts with each of the seven lambs 22 and one male goat for a sin offering to make atonement for yourselves. 23 Offer these with the morning burnt offering that is part of the regular burnt offering. 24 You are to offer the same food each day for seven days as a fire offering, a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It is to be offered with its drink offering and the regular burnt offering. 25 On the seventh day you are to hold a sacred assembly; you are not to do any daily work. 26 “On the day of firstfruits, you are to hold a sacred assembly when you present an offering of new grain to the Lord at your Festival of Weeks; you are not to do any daily work. 27 Present a burnt offering for a pleasing aroma to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old, 28 with their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, six quarts with each bull, four quarts with the ram, 29 and two quarts with each of the seven lambs, 30 and one male goat to make atonement for yourselves. 31 Offer them with their drink offerings in addition to the regular burnt offering and its grain offering. Your animals are to be unblemished.
Matthew 2 (CSB)
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Christ would be born. 5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet: 6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah: Because out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” 7 Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship him.” 9 After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen at its rising. It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route. 13 After they were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. 15 He stayed there until Herod’s death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called my Son. 16 Then Herod, when he realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18 A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be consoled, because they are no more. 19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, because those who intended to kill the child are dead.” 21 So he got up, took the child and his mother, and entered the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned in a dream, he withdrew to the region of Galilee. 23 Then he went and settled in a town called Nazareth to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.