Tonight, I finished reading the Book of Deuteronomy in my reading the Bible from cover-to-cover in one year journey. And at first, I was seriously disturbed a bit by Moses’ death.
Moses to Die on Mount Nebo “That very day the Lord spoke to Moses, "Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel."” - Deuteronomy 32:48-52 ESV, https://www.bible.com/59/deu.32.48-52.esv
When I first read this it seemed so harsh. I was having trouble with it because Moses did all these wonderful things for God’s will, and I quote,
“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” - Deuteronomy 34:10-12 NIV, https://www.bible.com/111/deu.34.10-12.niv
And I can’t lie, the moment I read this, it kind of felt a bit like a slap in the face for Moses in the end. And almost “taunt” like, which really bothered me. I was really struggling that God did this to Moses. I mean I really felt bad for the guy. And God did not seem so forgiving to me all because Moses hit the rock “twice” from my understanding. And if I am being completely honest it does still kind of seem harsh from a human, non-educated perspective.
So me being me, I googled. I wanted to understand this chapter. I had to because it wasn’t allowing me to leave it like that: “Poor Moses, Mean God” kind of ending. That wasn’t sitting with me at all. So I researched and so very glad that I did!
I came across this post: https://brewsterbaptistchurch.org/frustration-or-fulfillment/ and it explains it so well! I will let you go there and read it for more in depth because it is pretty long.
Basically what I got out of it is that we don’t always get to finish the task God has called us to do. We don’t always get to the promised land at the end, but that does not mean that what we are doing for God’s will is any less great. Because we all play a part in God’s will for our lives as a whole. It’s not just about you or me, it is about Him. He is the end game to see and be in His presence, and that is more than enough!
How can we possibly think that Moses “deserved” to go to the promised land? In my human eyes, it sure seems, but what if by doing that it would had changed everything in the Book of Joshua and God’s plan for Joshua according to His will? We are not the end game. God’s will is, and he has promised to make it so amazing just by trusting in Him. The human side of me does feel bad for Moses, however, he was 120 years old and “yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone”. I would say God provided! God provided well! And I’ve never been up on Mount Nebo but I have a feeling that God left him one absolutely amazing view!
I love the Martin Luther Kind Jr reference the blog post above left with us as well. In order to give it a more “modern”-ish event to the chapter:
“I don't know what will happen now; we've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter to with me now, because I've been to the mountain top. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life – longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And so I'm happy tonight; I'm not worried about anything; I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” - Martin Luther King Jr on April 3, 1968 at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee on the night before his assassination.
This quote right here is what put it all into perspective for me. In a modern world type of perspective. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr lit a fire under the black community to fight for their rights, he saw better days, the good Lord showed him what our world could be one day IF he followed God’s will for his life. MLKJr could had just said, “no I’m too scared, no I don’t want to die young” but he didn’t! He stood fierce in the name of the Lord. He knew God loved him equally. God made him in His name in His image too. And we all know how the story ends with the assassination of the hero of a man, but look now at our world that had it’s first African-American president! He was probably weeping happy tears in Heaven at that beautiful sight. God knew how his life would make the most impact for His good work! And for him to speak THOSE words quoted above the night before his death.... to me, that is just incredible.
I hope we all can find that kind of peace in God’s will. Moses died on that mountain and was buried there, “but till this day no one knows where his grave is,” and that might seem crappy to some, but to me, it is beautiful. God still gifted Moses with an incredible legacy, and in my personal opinion, one incredible view for all eternity!
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