Today’s devotional is focused on the life of Moses- specifically on the day that he dies. The story of Moses begins in Exodus, the 2nd book of the Old Testament. Four long books later, we find Moses at the top of a mountain gazing into the Promised Land. His journey, literally and metaphorically, is ending. Here are the highlights of Moses’ story:
- The Jewish people are slaves to the Egyptians. As a baby, Moses’ life is threatened when Pharaoh orders all Jewish infants to be killed. His mother desperately hides him among the reeds of the Nile where he is found by Pharaoh’s daughter. (Exodus 2:1-6)
- Moses is raised in the palace among the Egyptians, his life spared. (Ex. 2:10)
- Moses kills an Egyptian and runs away in shame. (Ex. 2:11-15) Later, God speaks to him through a burning bush in the wilderness, calling him to free his people from slavery. (Ex. 3)
- Eventually, Moses leads the Jewish people out of slavery. He famously parts the Red Sea, ensuring their escape. (Ex. 12:31- Ex.14)
The Jewish people spend the next forty years wandering in the desert because of their repeated disobedience to God (Numbers 32:13). Yet God continues to care for them, providing them food and water and giving Moses the vision and wisdom needed to lead. Aside from Jesus, Moses is perhaps the most well documented character in Scripture. Yet, many people I know, including myself, aren’t familiar with the end of his life. We focus so much on the beginning and the middle that we forget to finish the story.
1 Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land… 4 Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”
5 And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. 6 He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. 8 The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over…
10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land.12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
Questions to Consider
- In v. 4, God shows Moses the whole land but he doesn’t get to enter it (See Num. 20:8-12). He just finished leading his people for 40 years yet he doesn’t get to enjoy the fruits of his labor. How would you feel if you were Moses?
- What do you learn about Moses in this passage? What was he like as a leader?
- What do you notice about how the people respond to Moses’ death?
- What type of legacy did Moses leave?
“Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.”
When I think about Moses’ life, I can’t help but admire his tenacity and steadfastness. Moses endured and continued to cling to God, right up until the end of his life. There were many times Moses could have called it quits and walked away. Time and time again, the Jewish people mistrusted and disobeyed God, disrespecting Moses’ leadership. Yet, his commitment did not waver. Moses certainly had his failures and he reaped the consequences (Num. 20:1-13), but he never gave up on God or his people.
How was Moses able to do this? All throughout Moses’ leadership, we see him make intentional time to meet with God, to seek his guidance and simply be in his presence. Moses knew that he couldn’t lead on his own; he needed God. Moses’ vision and strength remained because he sought God for it and God provided. This begs the question, how much more do we need intentional rhythms of connecting with God?
Ending Like Moses
In college, I led a Bible study in my sorority, Pi Beta Phi. I saw amazing things happen: sisters reconnected with Christ or encountered him for the first time, and I grew in my relationship with God. But there were many weeks where I’d arrive in the chapter room to lead and no one would show up. There were times when my sisters criticized and teased me for my faith. Often, I was discouraged and frustrated as a leader. Many times I just wanted to quit. When I graduated, sadly the Bible study did not continue. I was crushed and felt like my devotion to God was in vain.
But when I read about Moses’ life, I’m so grateful that he persevered even though he didn’t get to enter the Promised Land like he thought he would. When life didn’t work out the way he hoped, he still was faithful to God until the end. Just recently, I’ve had several Pi Phi sisters reach out to me and tell me how grateful they were that I led a chapter Bible study. I look back on that time now with deep joy and gratitude that God met me in the midst of my discouragement and failure. And God has continued to work in unexpected ways at my alma matter- there is now a thriving Greek InterVarsity chapter with several Greek chapters leading Bible studies. My original picture of success- a thriving Pi Phi Bible study- was expanded by God in an unexpected way.
When I read about Moses’ perseverance, even when he encountered deep failure, I think, “This is what I want! I want my vision to be clear and focused on God. Like Moses, I want to remain strong and committed until the end.” Is this your desire as well? Maybe you’re in a season where you’re ready to quit and walk away from God or the circumstances in your life. Or maybe you’re in a joyful season where following God seems easy and exciting.
Either way, let’s tenaciously pursue God, setting aside intentional time to connect with him.
Let’s radically trust that God will provide us the vision and strength we need.
Let’s end like Moses.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)