Near the end of Deuteronomy there is a section of 9 verses that I found very powerful. Moses is pleading with Israel to obey the Lord after he dies.
This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey? 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey? 14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.
15 Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
17 But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
19 Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This[a] is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We have this same choice today. To believe in Christ or to not. As the book of Deuteronomy ends God reveals to Moses that Israel will truly rebel against Him and break the covenant. This must have been hard for Moses, he cared deeply for the people of Israel. But how much harder must it be to be taking care of a group of people knowing they will betray you and despise you and even forget you? This is what God is saying will happen to Him. Israel will forget about Him, they will worship other God’s and then He will have to curse them for their wickedness.
Moses true final words to Israel in the book of Deuteronomy were blessings to all of the tribes. This was very touching, especially knowing that Moses knows the gloom to befall these people for their disobedience to God. But his heart is that the people will change and follow the Lord. Moses then climbs up the mountain and God shows him the Land that Israel will be moving into. And then Moses dies. And I was struck by a few things at this point.
The Lord buried him in a valley near Beth-peor in Moab, but to this day no one knows the exact place.
– Deuteronomy 34:6
God personally buried Moses. Wow. I am not even sure how to describe how I feel just thinking about how special Moses was to God. The creator of the universe buried this man. I am not certain but I don’t think God is known to have buried anyone else. So God was probably sad at Moses death, sad that Moses was unable to walk in the Promised Land. But maybe because Moses was more than just someone that God worked through, that Moses was God’s friend. So God buried His friend.
And the book ends with these final words:
There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land. With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel.
– Deuteronomy 34:10-12
God knew Moses face to face. Moses saw God, he spent time with him. What an amazing life Moses had. He grew up in a palace in Egypt. Kills an Egyptian that was mistreating Hebrew slaves then flees into the wilderness and lives as a shepherd after living as a prince. Then after many years God appears to him in a burning bush and calls Moses to go back to Egypt to rescue all of the people of Israel. Moses had no confidence, but God was able to get him to go. God then has Moses lead the people God had chosen for himself. But even that honor is nothing compared to being face to face with God. So I am sad as Deuteronomy ends. I really liked Moses, I think I see a lot of myself in him. I have confidence issues just as Moses did. And know God wants me to be doing more for Him, and I need to just follow God and let Him take care of the details. Moses ended up doing this and God did great and amazing things with a flawed man. But it is not the flaws that God focused on but that Moses was willing to follow God (even if it took some convincing and wasn’t always ‘perfect’), and that is what God wants from us today. To follow.
As strange as this may seem I have almost cried a few times this evening. I feel a loss that Moses has died. I always knew he died, this wasn’t news for me. But I think I have felt a glimpse of how God felt when Moses died. Sadness for the loss of a friend.