Deuteronomy—and particularly the end of that book—is one of my favorite sections of the Bible. I find it fascinating.
Moses is THE man of God. THE prophet. Even the end of Deuteronomy says that there’s never been a prophet in Israel since him. No one since has seen God’s face.
(Now, Jesus changes all of this, but that’s another story.)
But what’s so fascinating about Deuteronomy is that Moses knows he’s going to die, and this is his “curtain call.” He is LITERALLY standing on the edge of the land of Canaan, the “Promised Land,” and Israel is about to enter.
But not him.
Because of a lack of judgment, a bad decision, etc., Moses will not be entering in with the people. God has told him that he will die on the border.
I try to put myself in Moses’ shoes: I’d be so angry and hurt. Faithful for how long: 40 years? 50?
Confronting Pharaoh, THE leader of THE super power…
Leading people out of slavery with no plan or map except YHWH will go with us…
Adminstering justice to an entire people…
Navigating years in the wilderness…
But God says, “no.”
To my mind, this simply isn’t fair.
My world doesn’t work this way.
I wonder if Moses railed against God. I wonder if he second guessed him. I wonder if he went to Lifeway and bought books about discerning God’s will because, “This just doesn’t make any sense.”
I wonder if decided (a la the prosperity gospel) that he just didn’t have enough faith. Did he send some money to Osteen to show that he really did believe?
I guess not.
In what’s one of the most amazing passages in the Bible, God guides Moses up the mountain and he gets a vision of “the whole land” that Israel will possess.
(Israel doesn’t even get this vision of the whole land; human perspective doesn’t allow for that.)
But then Moses—in defiance of our “bigger and better ministry”; the prosperity gospel; the idea that we always see the trend line go up and to the right—lays down and dies.
He is “gathered to his ancestors”. (What a beautiful phrase.)
Moses’ acceptance and submission of his reality is an amazing challenge to me. I think of how much I am attached too, the results that I think I “must” have.
The story of Moses reminds me that I may not see the end of many (any?) of the stories I write. And that’s okay.
PS Deuteronomy 34 tells us that the LORD—YHWH himself—buries Moses. What a statement of intimacy and friendship!
I guess in the end, Moses doesn’t get to see the “mission” completed, but the relationship he has with his God stays intact and thriving to the very end.