It is not surprising that I have become attached to Moses after reading about him for the past several weeks. We know him pretty intimately. We have covered 120 years of his life.
We rejoiced in his birth (Exodus 2:2), imagined his privileged childhood (Exodus 2:10), and cringed at his mistakes (Exodus 3:12).
We have been amazed at the calling on his life (Exodus 3:10), craved his courage, and sympathized with his struggles (oh, the whining…oh, the complaining).
We have been challenged by his unrelenting love and patience for the people of Israel (I mean, seriously? How many times does he fall prostrate on the ground pleading for God not to strike down the Israelites in His wrath?)
We related to his failures (Numbers 20:8), wept at his disappointments (Deut. 3:25-26), and envied his conversations with The Almighty.
At the end of Deuteronomy, the Israelites are standing on the fringe of the promised land. Moses’ work is complete, and it is time for him to be “gathered to his people” (Deut. 32:50) – which, by the way, is code for death in the OT.
As Moses says goodbye to the Israelites, there is no doubt that tears were shed. He spent the past forty years with these people and has likely known all of them since they were little tikes walking around with their little twig “staffs” as they looked up to him in admiration. I’m sure they all wanted to be Moses when they grew up.
As Moses makes his way up to the top of Mount Nebo, I wonder what his thoughts were. Were they of where he was going? Or where he had been?
Most people would want to be surrounded by family and friends when they breathed their last. Moses is no different. His Father is beside him.
Before Moses closes his eyes for the last time, God wants to show him something. So, there, at the top of Pisgah overlooking the Jordan, God shows him the promised land. Though Moses couldn’t enter it, God knew the desire of his heart to see the land he had been leading Israel to for forty years.
Deuteronomy 34:1-4 tells us that God, personally, showed Moses the whole land. Can you hear the conversation?
“Over there, Moses, is where Dan’s clan will live. Do you think they will like it?”
“They would be crazy not to! What about Judah? You’re going to give them the best, aren’t you?”
“Of course. They will be over there – over by the western sea. Naphtali’s family will be over by the lake. I think it has the best view.”
Tribe by tribe God points out where Moses’ people will live. The land Moses has likely dreamed about. The land God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A land flowing with milk and honey.
Moses spent his last moments chatting with The Almighty until his earthly eyes became heavy and dim. Then, God focused Moses’ spiritual eyes on his new heavenly home.
Did you notice that God buried Moses himself? I’m not sure exactly what that looks like, but I know one thing: It is the sweetest, most tender thing that I think I have read in The Bible.
God loves Moses so intimately that He personally buries him in a secret place. God’s very own hands picked up his child and gently laid him to rest.
I wept as I bid farewell to Moses. I can’t wait to meet him face-to-face. Can you?