“So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him. Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the Lord. At his command he and the entire community of he Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.’ Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had h him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the Lord instructed through Moses.” (Numbers 27:18-23)
God’s Spirit often divides leadership gifts among His people. God gave His Spirit to Joshua to equip him to lead His people. The The military commander’s basic task was defined as shepherd, caring for the needs of the people. Moses laid his hands on Joshua, not to give the Spirit to Joshua but to symbolize for the people that Joshua would be their new leader. Joshua’s assignment was clearly distinguished form that of Eleazar the priest. Eleazar was to seek God’s will by the use of Urim. Joshua was to carry out God’s will. His gift was leadership, not prophecy. Leadership is a gift of the Spirit of God as are service and prophecy.
Moses obey God’s command and ordained Joshua to be his successor. By laying hands on him, Moses conferred his honor and authority on Joshua who was filled already with the Spirit. Both Jewish and Christian practices of ordination have been influenced by this account.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, You were revealing to the people in Your presence, of Moses’ successor as leader, and he would lead them into the Promised Land, not Moses. As in the military, there is a formal ceremony on the changing of the guard, and the existing commander hands over the “reigns” of the military complement to the new commander and it is done in the presence of all military personnel. It is also symbolic that God has selected the people’s new leader and He has seen to it, they know it is His will. It is in Jesus’s name that we pray that God’s leader is revealed and confirmed by God. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“The first step to wisdom is silence, and the 2nd step is listening.”
“They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them” (Acts6:6)
Ordination does not not elevate anyone to a superior position in the church, nor does it convey any special rights. The ordained acknowledge in public that they willingly accept the responsibilities for whatever ministry they are called to do. Ordination should take place only after evidence of he Spirit’s call and with the concurrence of the congregation.
In my denomination, there is a lengthy process whereby one explains their call to a multitude of people, they are questioned by laity and clergy, go through a commission on ministry and ultimately interviewed by our Bishop, before attending seminary. The process takes three years of education and only then, is one recommended for ordination. At ordination, there is a ceremony, where a number of people are ordained in from of family, friends, and congregants, whereby the Bishop lays hands on each ordinand one by one, and this is referred to Apostolic Succession, which means that this has been done over and over all the way back to the early church. It is a long process, because there is great responsibility conferred upon the ordinand and then a process to being placed in a church to serve God’s will, but it all begins with God’s call placed on one’s heart to serve Him.
“Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” (1st Timothy 4:14)
The laying on of hands accompanied the gift which only God can bestow. By laying on their hands, the leaders of the church recognized and affirmed the presence of spiritual gifts in Timothy. Paul either participated in this ceremony as one of the elders, or Timothy had hands laid on him twice.
The question remains open whether Timothy entered an official leadership position in the church through ordination or whether he had his fits affirmed and was commissioned for a specific mission.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” (1st Timothy5:22)
The church bears the responsibility for those it ordains; therefore, it should do this with great care. Only those of proven character and who clearly possess spiritual gifts for their ministry should be ordained.
There are those who think they are ready to take on the duties of a priest for deacon, yet have no foundation to the work they believe they have been called to perform. Denominations all have processes of training their leaders for their churches, and even non-denominational churches also have a process. Whatever the process, it is designed for the individual to have time to give evidence of spiritual gifts before ordination is considered.