Walking Through Ephesians
“Day 39 (Deuteronomy 3)”Categories: 40 Days in the Wilderness
The 3rd chapter of Deuteronomy continues to retell the journey Israel took to Canaan, their victory against Og of Bashan, and the settling of 2 1/2 tribes on the eastern side of the Jordan (v. 12-17). The chapter ends with Moses stirring up the people to cross over into the land and claim what God had given them. He encourages Joshua (v. 21-22), and then makes a tender plea (v. 23-27).
You can't fault Moses for making this request. God spoke about to Moses about this promised land back in the burning bush. It has been on their minds for over 40 years. Now they reach the land, they are preparing to enter and claim it, but Moses will not be going with them. You can feel his disappointment. This wasn't how Moses intended his story to end. You can sense the sincerity in his request. He wants to enter the land.
Instead God calls Moses up on mount Pisgah to view the land from a distance. That's grace. God lets the leader of Israel see from a distance this special promised land. Imagine getting a tour of Canaan by it's creator - by God. "Look to the North..." "See that river..." "Notice the hills...". What an incredible scene! There Moses would stand, facing the end of his story yet staring at Israel's next chapter. By faith he could envision what it would look like occupied and claimed by Israel.
Moses also saw Israel's future before he climbed the mountain. God told Moses to encourage and strengthen Joshua who would continue on as Israel's leader (v. 28). Moses knew the in's and out's of being Israel's leader - there were much more heartaches than joys. He knew the burdens. He heard the complaints. He cared for them as a shepherd cares for his sheep. And now he's handing the role over to someone he knew, he trained, he watched grow up. It was time for Joshua to lead. How bittersweet this must have been for Moses - he had been preparing Joshua for this role - yet he wouldn't live long enough to see Joshua lead. But in Joshua there was hope. Joshua was a man of God. He would lead with integrity and character. As hard as it would have been to climb Mount Pisgah, Joshua made that climb easier. It's easier to let go knowing your hard work will not be undone or forgotten.
I imagine we all will face our mountain moment like Moses - when our life comes to and end. It may not be when we want it to. Like Moses we may wish we had seen more, experienced more - maybe it's that we live long enough to see the family restored and reconciled to one another, or that we live long enough to see a loved one return to the Lord. Truth is that much of our life is planting seeds, the fruit from which we'll never see - yet it may be a blessing to another generation. Moses led them to Canaan. They wouldn't have made it without Moses. Do the good you can today, be busy in good works, help teach/train/prepare the next generation for their service to God, so that when your time comes (whenever it may come) you leave this life having done what you could with what you have been given. Serve the purpose of God in your generation (Acts 13:36). Is there any more that could be asked of us?
Almighty God, we thank You for the gift of life, that You've allowed us to experience life - no matter how long or short it truly is a gift. Thank You for those who have gone on before us - the Moses's, David's, Peter's and Paul's, the great cloud of witnesses who have made such an impact on our lives. Through this study we thank You for Your servant Moses - what an incredible leader, such a humble heart. We're encouraged through his example, thank You for sharing his life with us, and for using Moses in such meaningful ways. Our Father we ask that You take our life and use it for Your purposes. Let us be instruments of Your grace, examples of Your holiness, people who point others to You through the way we live. Help us to leave the world, and this local church, better than how we found it, for the next generation. Like Moses we stand on Jordan's stormy banks, looking over into the promised land - the home You've prepared - we see it by faith! Let our life be used for Your glory, to be a source of good for another, and when our time has come, lead us home!