April 2, 2023
“Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which faces Jericho, and the Lord showed him all the land: Gilead as far as Dan, all of Naphtali...”
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“Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which faces Jericho, and the Lord showed him all the land: Gilead as far as Dan, all of Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev, and the region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. The Lord then said to him, ‘This is the land I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you will not cross it.’” Deuteronomy 34:1-4 (HCSB)
Deuteronomy 34, the last chapter in the Torah, ends with the death of Moses. Just before Moses’ death, the Lord led him to the top of Pisgah on Mount Nebo. From there, the Lord enabled Moses to see the “promised land” in its entirety.
When I first read this passage, as a young believer, I felt God was being cruel to Moses. Adonai didn’t seem very gracious towards His servant, who faithfully trusted Him. Moses wasn’t perfect, but it felt like God was dangling the ever-elusive carrot one last time.
A few years ago, I went to the top of Mount Pisgah just to view Israel as Moses had. To my surprise, you can hardly see the land at all!! It was then that I realized God had given Moses an extraordinary gift. He had enabled Moses to see prophetically. Add the fact that Israel never fully conquered the land, and God’s grace to Moses is more profound. Moses is the ONLY person to have seen the Promised Land inhabited by Israel in its entirety.
Faith is the evidence of things unseen, and at the end of his faithful life, Moses was allowed to view the object of his faith journey. (James 1:12) For Moses, it was enough. He could pass, knowing his work was not in vain. Moses’ success would come at the hands of his successor, Joshua.
For us, the end of the Torah should act as a reminder that life is not about building our earthly kingdoms. We should be focused on the Heavenly one. God honors those who “die to themselves” so that others can enter into His Kingdom.
There’s only one thing better than seeing the “promised land” just before you die. That’s entering God’s eternal presence immediately afterward. And that’s exactly what Moses did. (Matthew 17:1-9)
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©Steve Wiggins 2021