As we near the end of the historical account of Moses’ life in the Bible, I was really struck by a moment that happens in Numbers chapter 27. Moses is nearing his death. The Lord has told him that he won’t be entering into the promised land because of how he handled the water from the rock situation. Moses is nearing the end of forty years of frustration and now here he is, poised to not even get to partake of the reward of that forty year long journey.
As you study the history of the exodus of the people of Israel under the leadership of Moses, you feel like you lived it. If you’ll remember way back to when I started this series, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Moses. But when you really study him, when you take this journey alongside him and see all the obstacles and all the things he put up with, you can’t help but end up caring for the guy. All the headaches, all the frustrations, the endless rebellions, the constant weak faith of the people even after they see miracle after miracle from God, forty years leading them around, it must’ve been such an incredible burden.
And now, here’s Moses, about to die, and God reminds him of his punishment once more.
Numbers 27:12-14 The Lord said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the people of Israel. 13 When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, 14 because you rebelled against my word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold me as holy at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)
As we saw in my previous few studies, Moses appeared to be at peace with the punishment. He didn’t appeal it, he seemed to fully understand and accept this punishment. So here he is, God’s reminding him of the punishment and telling him it’s about time to see the land but not enter into it and then it’s just about time to die. I have to believe that if this were me, my answer would be something along the lines of “good riddance.” These quarrelsome people, these stiff necked people (as the Lord called them), these people who Moses spent FOUR DECADES wrangling and wrestling and leading, you’d think he would be beyond ready to be done with them. He did his part, he went above and beyond, he heeded the call of the Lord, lead them out of Egypt, got waaaaay more than he bargained for by having to deal with their constant issues for forty years after that, surely he’s ready to be done with these people. And yet, here’s his response to the Lord.
Numbers 27:15-17 Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, 16 “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation 17 who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.”
Once again faced with his punishment and impending death, Moses makes no appeals for himself to God. He doesn’t ask the Lord to reconsider, doesn’t ask for any special favors for himself. Moses makes an appeal on behalf of the people of Israel. It’s a display of love that really blew me away.
You know, honestly, I actually struggled with this for a bit as I was studying it. Why would Moses still care this much for these people? They were a thorn not only in his side, they were thorns in his feet and in his brain and in his eyes and in his heart and in his hands. They received constant miracles from God and yet constantly complained. Moses loved them and lead them and pleaded on their behalf with God and yet they constantly came against him and rebelled against him and blamed him for their hardships. And so when I read this, when I saw that he was still standing up for these people, still asking that God show them favor and care for them, I really did struggle with it a little bit.
It was around this time that I felt like God gave me a revelation about this entire study. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, it is a historical account of Moses leading the people of Israel out of slavery into the promised land. It’s also an example for us today. It’s an account of God leading His people (us) to salvation (our promised land). I really feel that the life of Moses gives us an amazing insight into what God is still doing for us to this very day and I’m excited to close out my Moses Moments series tomorrow by sharing all about it.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, today I just want to thank you for your everlasting love. As I read this display of love that Moses shows at the end of his life, this desire that his people continue to be cared for, what I see is you and your immense and immeasurable love for us. We must be such a frustrating group of people to lead, so stubborn and rebellious. Yet there you always are, loving us and calling us to come back home, to return to you and receive the enormous rewards and benefits that come along with being one of your people. You could rightfully be a harsh god, one who holds our trespasses against us, one who punishes us when we break rules, but that’s not who you are. You just love us so much. So much that you knew if we were to be redeemed the cost had to be paid another way because we were never going to make it on our own. So Jesus took our punishment for us. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, Lord. Jesus took my punishment, for my wrongs, so that I can have eternal life and can be free of the debt of sin that I owe. Only a king who possessed everlasting love for his people would ever even consider doing such a thing. You gave your son, precious, precious Jesus, for me. You continue to love me despite my imperfections, despite my weakness. Today I just say thank you. Thank you for all that you are, and thank you for that perfect love that you have for all of us. My prayer today is that you help me be a reflection of that love, that you help me be someone who shows a godly love to all people I meet in life. I want to be your agent, Lord, someone who works on your behalf. Yours is the only message that matters, and I want to be someone who shares it as often as possible. Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love, even when I was gone from you. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Well, four months later and we’re finally about to be done with the Moses Moments series. What a blessing it’s been to dig deep into the life of Moses. I’m honestly very excited to move onto something new, but I know the knowledge and the lessons I got out of studying Moses will stick with me for all of my days.
I love you guys and I hope your week is off to a great start. God’s love for us is everlasting and immeasurable. Take a moment to really soak in His love today.