Words of Faith 7-2-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 The whole Israelite community set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor.  At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,  "Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah.  Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor.  Remove Aaron's garments and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will die there."
 Moses did as the Lord commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community.  Moses removed Aaron's garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain,  and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, the entire house of Israel mourned for him thirty days.
The time was fast approaching for the people of Israel to enter into the Land of Promise. It was a time of transition. Every person who had been 20 years of age and older at the time of the first attempt to enter the land-- except for Joshua and Caleb-- had to die before the people could enter. This was the consequence of the rebellion that occurred when the spies first looked into the land. Moses and Aaron also would not enter the land because they dishonored the Lord at the rock in Meribah.
Moses led the people to the east of Edom to avoid conflict with that nation. The Lord spoke to Moses that it was time for Aaron to be "gathered to his people." The language here is full of grace and mercy, even though this was the fulfillment of Aaron’s punishment. Moses, Aaron, and Eleazar climbed the mountain where Aaron would die. There, Aaron’s priestly garments and office were transferred to his son, Eleazar.
It must have been a great blessing for Aaron that before he died, he saw his son become his sure successor. This must have been the one comfort that came to him as he knew that his days were at an end. In a dramatic symbol of this transfer of power, Moses took the garments from his brother, the symbol of his divine office. He placed them on his dutiful son Eleazar. Three men ascended the mountain; two returned.
The whole community mourned Aaron for 30 days. Later they mourned Moses' death in Moab for 30 days (Deut. 34:5, 8). The normal mourning period was seven days, so the 30 days period demonstrated their extraordinary importance.
The passing on of the "mantel" and office of Aaron was a powerful scene. Similarly, Joshua will succeed Moses (Deut. 34:9). This vital transition had to take place. One journey was about to end, and another was to begin.
There are similar transitions in our lives, even if they are not quite so dramatic. There are significant transitions in leadership that must take place for things to move forward in government, ministries, communities, and churches. We sometimes call it "the changing of the guard" or "the passing of the baton." One group of leaders completes a task or one leg of the journey. Then another group of leaders or another generation must take on the challenges of the future. We can all think of prominent national and international ministries that are in transition today because of the death or aging of a founder and the movement to new leadership.
We could be saddened by transition, but the truth is that transition is a reason to rejoice. God is not finished! He is continuing to work among His people toward His goals and purposes! The Apostle Paul wrote encouraging words to the church at Philippi about the transition. He had planted that church 10 years earlier, and now he was in jail. It was time for them to move on. He wrote:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:3-6).
As God continues to do His work, transition must take place. God raises up new leaders to discern His vision and move into the next phase of God's plan. This is not a sad thing; it is a joyful thing. Our faith affirms that God did not just work in the past; He is working now and moving toward a future conclusion of His plan. How do we do this? We must be ready to let go of the past and ready to take hold of the future.
Do you see a transition coming in your life? In your church or ministry? In your community? It is important that we look for the Lord in times of transition. He is at work all around us. He is moving us toward His future. He is calling us to new responsibilities. He is calling us to let go of what is behind and take on new vestments.
Father God, open my eyes to Your work all around me. Help me to see Your vision and the possibilities of Your future. Help me to let go of the past and seize the future. In Jesus’ name.
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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2004, 2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.