Thursday after Oculi
Scripture: Numbers 27:12-23 (NKJV)
12 Now the Lord said to Moses: “Go up into this Mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel. 13 And when you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was gathered. 14 For in the Wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to hallow Me at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah, at Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin.)
15 Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: 16 “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 17 who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”
18 And the Lord said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. 20 And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21 He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.”
22 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. 23 And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.
“That the congregation of the Lord not be like sheep which have no shepherd,” the lord must Himself “set a man over the congregation.” Such always has been and always will be the case as long as this world endures. As St. Paul says, those who are the proper earthly shepherds of God’s flock are those whom “the Holy Spirit has made…overseers” (Acts 20:28). God gives Moses the man who is ordained to stand in his place and gives some of Moses’ authority to him. That is, Joshua would not be “the Prophet” Who was to fulfill what Moses had promised and commanded, but would continue to give voice to what had already been revealed and to conduct himself and rule the people in accordance with it.
Such is the case with our pastors today, as well. No new revelation is to come from them, but through them the Word of God is to rule over all. It is important that, as much as man can tell, a pastor is one in whom the Spirit dwells; thus, candidates for the Holy Office are examined as to the doctrine they confess and are not known to be living in open impenitence. While they continue to serve as pastors, they are regularly visited by the bishop, so that the whole fellowship can be assured that they continue to confess the same and are not known to be living an immoral life.
Those who are to feed the flock God, which He purchased with His own blood, are to be His and remain His and to be treated as His. Where this is done, God is glorified and His Kingdom continues to come.
May we truly hold preaching and Your Word sacred and gladly hear and learn it, O Lord, that the grace and blessing You give us may be evident to others; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.