Monday, January 24, 2011

The Last Days of Moses

Sermon Report from Sunday, January 23.

Deuteronomy 34:1-12

These verses speak about the last days in Moses's life. After he blesses 11 of the 12 tribes of Israel (the tribe of Issachar was absorbed into the tribe of Zebulun), he climbs to the highest peak of mount Nebo, where as the Lord willed, Moses died.

Before the Lord ends Moses life, He shows Moses the promised land from the top of the mountain where He again reminds Moses that he will not enter the promised land. One thing that I want to point out is that you see, in verse 1,2,and 3, the Lord showing Moses the land that the tribes will have. It may be that Moses prophesied or that the Lord actually showed Moses a vision of the land where each tribe would live.

After the sight seeing, the Lord takes Moses life and then the Lord himself buries him. Until this day no one has found the grave of Moses. One reason I learned from the sermon and I agree with is that the Lord did this because He did not want the children of Israel to worship the body of Moses as they may have been tempted to do. The devil has created many other "gods" for us to worship instead of the one true God. (Before the reformation and even now, relics and important dead people were worshiped.) In Jude 1:9 it says that the archangel Michal fought with the devil over the body of Moses. The reason the devil wanted the body is that he wanted Israel to have superstitions and glorify the body of Moses and turn them away from glorifying God to glorifying the acts of Moses.

I also want to point out that when Moses died, he did not die from bad health or old age. In verse 7 it says: "Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished." Think about this! This is amazing! It may be a blessing for a believer to die without having to pass through physical pain and sickness. God does bless some more than others. Also, think about this, Moses had to climb more than 3000 ft. in elevation and he was a 120 year old man! I don't know any 120 year old man who could do this today!

After Moses died, the people of Israel, according to tradition, mourned for Moses thirty days. We also see this happening when Aaron, Moses's brother dies. There is a certain way that Christians should treat the bodies of the deceased. We have to treat them with respect. The burial of Jesus and many others were placed in the tombs, which is part of the earth. The Bible does not say to burn the bodies to ashes, as some other religions do. The bodies of humans are the Lords temple here on earth.

The people of Israel had proved that they needed a leader, so the Lord chose Joshua as the next leader over Israel. Here in this chapter is a Biblical example of the passing on of leadership. To win the leadership in this age, the candidates make themselves look like the saviors of the generation, and when they win, they criticize the last leader and try to make themselves seem better than the last leader. But here in this passage we see a beautiful taking up and passing on of the leadership of the children of Israel. Throughout his life, Joshua was under the tutorship of Moses. Some of the attributes that Joshua had which qualified him for leadership are that he "was full of the spirit of wisdom," his commission was given by God, he was successful with the people, he was faithful to Moses and the Lord. Instead of trying to take the rule of the people and being jealous of Moses, like Miriam and Aaron, He submitted to God's plans for his life.

There are some special things that we see about Moses in the last two verses. First, we see that, like John the Baptist, there never has been or will be a prophet like Moses. Than we see that he was special because the Lord allowed him to know Him face to face(no one has ever lived seeing God face to face). Then the Lord used him to do His signs and wonders. In Numbers 12:3 it states that Moses was the most humble man on earth. Humility and meekness are the marks of true men of God.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30.

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