Not only have we finished Deuteronomy, but we have now completed the first five books of the Bible known as The Torah, or The Pentateuch, or The Books of Law or The Books of Moses. These first 5 books, all penned by Moses but authored by God, set the foundation for everything else we will cover as we continue our journey through the Bible. (If you have missed any of it, I suggest you go back and read it and listen to the lessons online. I will warn you that my accent/twang is even stronger online than in person . . . or at least it seems that way to me. http://www.merryministries.com/messages.html )
As we finished Deuteronomy, I have to admit that I got a little emotional reading about the death of Moses. We first met him as baby back in Exodus when he was put in a basket and placed into the Nile River. From there he was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses spent his first 40 years in Pharaoh’s Palace in Egypt, the second 40 in the desert of Midian, and the last 40 wandering in the wilderness. “He spent 40 years thinking he was a SOMEBODY. Then, 40 years thinking he was a NOBODY. And finally, 40 years finding out what God could do with SOMEBODY who was NOBODY.” (Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God)
Moses, the man who did not want to be sent to Egypt because he was slow of speech (Ex. 4:10) delivered these final 3 sermons to Israel that make up the book of Deuteronomy. God gave him the power to develop from a stuttering shepherd into national leader and powerful orator. His courage, humility, and wisdom molded the Hebrew slaves into a nation. But Moses was one person who did not let success go to his head. In the end, God was still Moses’ best friend. Moses knew it was not any greatness in himself that made him successful; it was the greatness of the all-powerful God in whom he trusted. (God does not call the equipped. He equips the called.)
By the end of Deuteronomy, Moses has passed the torch to Joshua to be his successor in leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. (It is probably Joshua who writes this last chapter.) God has told Moses that he cannot go into the Promised Land but that He will show it to Moses. Moses goes up on Mount Nebo to the east of the Jordan River, and God shows him the whole scope of the land from north to south. Deut. 34: “4 And the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” 5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, 6 and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. 7 Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated.”
Oh my goodness! This is so touching that GOD would personally and privately bury Moses, “whom the LORD knew face to face,” (Dt. 34:10).
For those of you who think it unfair for Moses to be punished for a sin he had committed (Numbers 20) and therefore not go into the Promised Land, I would say, who are we to judge God? Hey, He was probably giving the old man a break after spending the last 40 years with these people grumbling in the wilderness!
Here’s the truth of the matter: Moses was special to God and Moses did finally go to the Promised Land!!! It was a very special occasion and we read about it in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Take a look at Luke’s account – 9: 28 Now about eight days after these sayings he [Jesus] took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure [the original Greek word here is EXODUS!], which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. (ESV)
Whoa!!! Moses (and Elijah) meet Jesus on a mountain top in the Promised Land some 1300 or so years after Moses has died! Moses sees Jesus transfigured! And they talk about Jesus’ exodus that is about to take place!!! Whereas Moses’ exodus led the Israelites out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt, Jesus’ exodus (death & resurrection) will lead all who follow Him out of the bondage of sin and death. Moses had to feel pretty special that he was called in on this meeting. I’m sure Moses realized that his exodus was a foreshadowing of the Messiah’s. How do I know it was a foreshadowing/prophecy? Check this out:
Hebrews 3:1 And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. 2 For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house.3 But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. 4 For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. 5 Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ. 7 That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, 8 don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. . . .
12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 15As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
If you have never committed your life to God and put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, why not do it today? “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” He will take you just as you are. He will deliver you from the slavery of sin in your life. He will rescue you from the enemies you face. And one glorious day, you too, will see the Promised Land (Heaven). Think carefully about this Jesus (Heb. 3:1). If you would like to talk to me about this, please let me know. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org .