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Tuesday: The Death of Moses — 14 Comments

  1. The Lord's promises and His covenent's He does no break. We break them, we make them conditional.

    Deuteronomy 34:4. Says something very interesting: “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’”
    Moses was a descendant. Now, Moses side of the promise was conditional, on Moses side of it.

    Now I am glad we have this story, because it also shows us that even if we make mistakes, salvation is a gift, our's for the grabbing, when we believe, surrender, and let Him work in us. For as we know Moses and Elijah appeared on the mount transfiguration with Christ. With Peter, James, and John as witnesses. Matthew 17:1-8. There was a lesson for us just by them appearing, I will leave that for another day.

  2. As we grow older we can become quite maudlin about our lack of achievement. I am old enough and have retired for long enough to have enough time to reflect on my life. What have I achieved? Will anyone remember me after I have gone? Will someone spit on my gravestone because I did not help them as much as I could? True, there have been a few little successes along the way, but some embarrassing failures as well.

    Moses had lived a bit longer than most of us, and had lived on the cutting edge of nation-building. Yet in one sense he was not going to see the results of his leadership. True, he had seen in vision what the potential for the nation was, but as exciting as devine virtual reality is, he was only an observer rather than a partaker.

    We bring up children, or teach classes of students, but sooner or later we have to say to these young folk, "You are on your own now! Put what I have taught you into practice!"

    My great grandmother, Harriet Virgo Watts is buried in a little village called Flaxton in Yorkshire, England. I never met her and all I know about her is that she died relatively young. Her epitaph reads, "She hath done what she could."

    If there is one lesson from today's study that is applicable to us today it is this: We may not see the final picture but we have to learn to trust the Lord to continue to lead after we can no longer contribute.

  3. Faithful
    Deuteronomy 3:23-29
    Moses pleads with the Lord but in the end accepts the will of the Lord in his life.
    Unlike the Israelites in Numbers 14 refuses to enter Canaan then When God executes their own sentence upon them Numbers 14:2 they try to enter the promised land through their own strength.

    Who are we today? Do we accept the will of God or like the Israelites rebellious to the will of God?
    In all this we are reflecting trust in self or God.

  4. Micah 6:8 reads, "He hath shown thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
    Of Moses it is written,
    "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." Deut. 34:10
    Moses was indeed a great and mighty leader because he allowed himself to be used by God. He had to "...do justly, love mercy and walk humbly..." and after his disobedience of striking the rock instead of speaking to it, he must have humbled himself, confessed his sin, repented and sought forgiveness because in the reference from the pen of inspiration it reads,
    "Had not the life of Moses been marred with that one sin, in failing to give God the glory of bringing water from the rock at Kadesh, he would have entered the Promised Land, and would have been translated to heaven without seeing death. But he was not long to remain in the tomb. Christ Himself, with the angels who had buried Moses, came down from heaven to call forth the sleeping saint."

    As the shepherd of God's chosen people, Moses had to have even more of the character of God. This speaks volumes to leaders as they in admonishing the sheep to seek a close, intimate, personal relationship with God, must ensure that they are doing the same. We dare not allow the cares of this world to choke the word in us.
    Moses could not have been called forth from the dead if he had remained haughty.

  5. God is always wonderful! He surprises us all with even better plans! When we think He is thinking like us, He surprises us! He thinks way beyond our understanding! Because He longs for our hearts! He knows what we need to change and how our frustrations can be totally handled by His dreams for us! Why wouldn't we trust Him completely? He uses our own mistakes to let us know that He is LOVE!

    What we must do is to continue to search for Him with all our strenght, and never let Him go from us, because we are completely dependent on Him!

  6. What is our reference point for our life? Temporal (this brief 'life-time'), or eternal? In our fallen humanity state, our present 'life-time' is our default reference point - unless/until we retrain our mind by practice to consider that eternity is our true life-time and therefore reference point. If we look at Moses alleged 'punishment' from a temporal reference point, it can - as the lesson acknowledges - appear as though God was being somewhat harsh in not allowing Moses to experience the seeming end-point culmination (ie, entry into the Promised Land of Canaan) of so many years of hard effort with the Israelites who weren't exactly the easiest of people to try and lead.

    But what if we take a moment to consider a different perspective? According to Hebrews 11:9-10, Abraham's reference point was a 'land' beyond this earth. I suspect that while the idea of the Promised Land in Canaan was nice at one level, it is possible that Abraham's true Promised Land was the re-newed heaven and earth - whose architect and builder is God. From this perspective, one the one hand we then have Moses unfortunate experience being 'made an example of' to the Israelites that God does not react from self-focussed frustration (as per what I outlined yesterday). And at the same time, we have Moses being given an advanced access pass to the true Promised Land to which Abraham was looking but hasn't yet entered. Was this really a punishment to Moses? Was God really being harsh?

  7. Miriam,Aaron and Moses all died in the 40th year of the journeyings. We feel sorry for them as individuals, however what I/we often forget is that the nation of Israel was a theocracy and their mission was to get the Israelites to the Promised Land as a group which they did, not to get a reward themselves. If we examine the history of the Israelites they went through good times and/or bad times mostly as a group with a few exeptions. When they had a good leader they prospered but if they had no leader or a bad one they endured troublsome times.
    I see the LORD saying to the three of them - one you were a bad example, you could lead the nation astray if they copy you - but also, your hard work is over it is time for you to rest.
    Reminds me of Rev 14:13, maybe the LORD will lay some of his faithful servant to rest before the time of trouble.

    Num 20:1 ISV  The entire community of the Israelis entered the Zin wilderness during the first month. The people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died and was buried there.

    eSword comment: This was the first month of the fortieth year after the departure from Egypt. (Compare Num_33:38, with Num_20:28 of this chapter and Deu_1:3.) This year was the last of their journeyings, for from the going out of the spies (Num_13:1) unto this time, was about thirty-eight years. Deu_1:22-23, Deu_2:14

    Num 33:38 ISV  Then Aaron the priest ascended Mount Hor in obedience to the LORD's command and died there, in the fortieth year after the Israelis had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month.

    Deu 34:5 ISV  So Moses, the servant of the LORD, died there in the land of Moab, just as the LORD had said.

  8. I don’t know if it’s just me, but when I read the last little part of today’s lesson, it’s actually offensive to me that someone would even consider that God would “tease” Moses with what he could have had. Why would something like that even be printed in our lesson?

    • I think we need to consider the whole paragraph, Karen. The "teasing" bit is the sort of behaviour that we humans indulge in. A child is naughty and misses out on a treat, and we say, "look what you could have had if you had been good!". But the lesson author is saying that God is not like that (very human behaviour). He was showing Moses that the show would go on and that he had not failed.

      I remember many years ago preparing a slideshow for an event. I had put my heart and soul into this presentation. Two days before the event, my father died and I had to go home for his funeral and miss the event. But my slideshow was presented in my absence and made a contribution to the success of the event. I didn't get the joy of participation, but that was a minor consideration. Just knowing that I was part of the success of the event was sufficient for me, even in absentia.

      I think the authors are making the point that it was not "teasing" but showing Moses that he was a participant in absentia.

      • Thank you for your response Maurice, but I have copied and will paste the actual sentence from the lesson. "In one sense, it would almost seem as if the Lord had been teasing Moses, rubbing it in: You could have been here had you simply obeyed me as you should have, or something like that."

        I appreciate what you are trying to explain, and that explanation would be palatable. What the lesson is insinuating is not. I think it's sad to even put that sort of behavior as something God would do or even think.

  9. What is amazing about this story, of Moses death, is that Deuteronomy 34:7 says, "Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished". I'm a few years of half of Moses age, and I don't have a lot of vigor (natural energy and stamina, some of it is because of lack of exercise on my part), and my eyes are already started to dim.

    Moses, at age 120, was able to climb up several high mountains with his natural vigor; but I have problems climbing a few flights of stairs, or going up a steep hill. This was the Power of The Lord that gave Moses that kind of strength.

    The Lord also was willing to do the same, and more, for the children of Israel, as Deuteronomy 29:15, The Lord said "And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot." The Lord is willing to take care of us, if we would only depend on Him. The Lord told Paul, when Paul asked Him concerning the thorn in his flesh, said that "And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Why are we like the children of Israel, not willing to depend truly on Him? Sometimes, I think that we are so afraid that if we depend totally on The Lord for everything in our world, we think that we are losing out of something else, or missing out on something else. There is never nothing else without The Lord. All of king Solomon ranting about "all is vanity", he understand that without The Lord ordering your steps, everything else is "but vanity". Unfortunately, some of us (me included) have to learn this in "baby" steps. But hopefully, we will learn it soon, and start to being about "Our Father's business" of finishing the commission that Jesus give us, to go out there and make other Disciples.

    God's blessing to you and your families.

  10. What happened to Moses? He died. Now before he died the Lord showed what He was giving to His decendants. It would be bad speculation if I said: The Lord showed Moses what-he missed. Absolutely not. Moses knew already what he missed . He already knew his mistake, he already came to God as a contrite sinner, therefore God showed Moses the promised Land, expressing His inner thoughts of Moses, His special man. I would say this act of God was saying Moses is a man after My own heart. Yes the act of God, was a lesson even to us.

    • True. Disobedience to God’s law or instructions is sin. And sin has its consequences. But God is merciful, gracious, and long-suffering. He rose Moses from the dead and he is in the best place anyone could ever imagine to be in.


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