“40 Days and 40 Nights of God’s Word”
DAY 8: JULY 30
DEUTERONOMY 28 – JOSHUA 21:45
- I always get a little teary-eyed when I read the passages where marquee characters like Moses leave the earthly stage. Moses had grown from a young man who was so skittish that he’d fled the country in fear of a murder charge, to a strong and godly man who fearlessly led millions to freedom. Nothing cowed Moses in the end, not even an angry God confronting him about his wayward people; Moses simply (and always successfully) intervened for them. In this, he was the prototype of Jesus.
- The death of Moses remains a mystery that can’t necessarily be solved by referring to the Bible. We read that Moses went alone to the top of the mountain to die, but scripture doesn’t tell us how he died. We are only told that God buried his body in the valley below and that no-one knows where his grave is.
- I’m wondering if no-one knows where Moses’ grave is because the grave is no more? I’m wondering if perhaps Moses ascended to Heaven like Elijah and like Jesus later ascended? In the transfiguration, Jesus meets with Moses and Elijah. Elijah ascended without dying, and Moses was supposed to have died and be buried, but maybe God instead brought him home the way he brought Elijah home. That would make sense, since both Elijah and Moses were obviously up and about on Heavenly missions (such as informing Jesus of how and when he was going to die), not dead and buried and awaiting resurrection on the last day. It’s possible that Moses died and was buried and then rose to Heaven a short time later in an ascension (like Jesus), or the story of him being buried in an unmarked grave in the valley might just be a deflection from Moses ascending to Heaven straight from the mountain top.
- Moses and God were very close. Few other characters in the Bible were as close to God as Moses. I’m sure God told Moses a lot of things that Moses didn’t tell his people (not even Joshua, his minister), the way that Jesus kept a lot of things to himself, knowing that even his closest disciples weren’t ready to handle the Truth. So it’s highly plausible that God took Moses home the same way he took Elijah home or the same way he took Jesus home, but I guess we’re going to have to wait until we get to Heaven to find out the Truth about that! However, that Moses and Elijah appeared together to Jesus is to me a huge tip-off as to what happened to Moses either at or shortly after his death.
- I don’t know about you, but Moses’ final reminders to the children of Israel sear straight into my soul. He didn’t mince his words. He said if you do a, b and c, things will go well with you, but if you do x, y, z, you’ll lose everything. He couldn’t have made it clearer to them or us.
- It’s hard not to look at our own lives and the lives of those who well know Moses’ words and see where we fall, whether on the side of blessings or the side of curses. It’s also worth noting that those who appear to be blessed (worldly wealth) but are not following Jesus are likely under the protection and reward of Satan and being given the same “greatness” that Satan promised to Jesus if he would fall down and worship him. My grandmother used to say “the devil is good to his own”. You’ll know who is being rewarded by God, because their lives will look like Jesus’ life.
- The crossing of the children of Israel into the Promised Land, with the parting of the River Jordan to let them cross on dry land, is like the parting of the Red Sea 2.0, but without the Egyptians pursuing after them. It doesn’t get as much press as the parting of the Red Sea, but it’s just as miraculous. I’d love to know where those twelve stones are, but I guess I’m going to have to wait until I get to Heaven (if I get to Heaven) to find that one out, too!
- The fall of Jericho always gives me goosebumps at the part where all the people, who’d been cautioned by Joshua to stay completely quiet (except for the blowing of the trumpets), suddenly erupt in an earth-shattering cry. How that must have sounded in God’s ears! And how that must have terrified the people of Jericho, who would then have been even further terrorized when the only thing standing between them and certain death (the walls) came a-tumblin’ down.
- Love the story of God rewarding and protecting Rahab and her family. Interesting that they all stayed with the Israelites after their rescue from Jericho. That would mean they were converted. Scripture mentions “strangers” quite a few times, and cautions the children of Israel to accept and be kind to strangers who choose to live with them and follow God’s Commandments. This foreshadows the conversion of the gentiles to become followers of Jesus.
- Spiritually, all those who are obedient to God are kin. Being obedient to God now necessarily includes following Jesus, too, as Jesus and God are a package deal; you can’t get one without the other.
- From the perspective of our more delicate 21st century sensibilities, it’s sometimes difficult to read about the slaughters carried out by the Israelites. They didn’t just mow down the fighting men, but also killed all the women, children, and elderly. Everyone in the path of the Israelites was killed and their cities burned to the ground. All that escaped were livestock and a few items that could be melted down and used in the tabernacle.
- When we read this part of scripture, we need to remind ourselves that the Israelites were doing God’s will, and that the people who were slaughtered had it coming. God’s justice was just as perfect then as it is now. The Israelites were bringing God’s justice to those who hated him. I guess the moral of this story is that you want to be on the same side that God is fighting on; you definitely don’t want to be on the side that God is fighting against, because you ain’t never gonna win that battle.
What are your thoughts on this reading? Did something jump out at you that you hadn’t noticed before? Or if you’d noticed it, does it seem to have particular relevance this time around, either for your life or for the world in general? What is God highlighting for you? Share it with us in the comments below. Don’t be shy!
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