Saturday, April 23, 2011

Deuteronomy 34

1Then Moses went to Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab and climbed Pisgah Peak, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him the whole land, from Gilead as far as Dan; 2all the land of Naphtali; the land of Ephraim and Manasseh; all the land of Judah, extending to the Mediterranean Sea; 3the Negev; the Jordan Valley with Jericho--the city of palms--as far as Zoar. 4Then the LORD said to Moses, "This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I told them I would give it to their descendants. I have now allowed you to see it, but you will not enter the land."
5So Moses, the servant of the LORD, died there in the land of Moab, just as the LORD had said. 6He was buried in a valley near Beth-peor in Moab, but to this day no one knows the exact place. 7Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever. 8The people of Israel mourned thirty days for Moses on the plains of Moab, until the customary period of mourning was over.
9Now Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did everything just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
10There has never been another prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. 11The LORD sent Moses to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and his entire land. 12And it was through Moses that the LORD demonstrated his mighty power and terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel.

Points of Interest:

· the LORD showed him the whole land’—although he does not actually get to go into the promised land, God graciously gives him the supernatural ability to get a glimpse of the whole thing.

· to this day no one knows the exact place’—an air of mystery surrounds the death of Moses. It’s almost as if, having accomplished his goal by leading the people from Israel to the very edge of the promised land, he just fades back into the wilderness to die quietly.

· yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever’—just like the Israelites’ clothing and shoes, Moses very body has been supernaturally sustained during the 40 years in the desert. God gave him the strength he needed, even physically, to fulfill his task.

· full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him’—throughout the Bible, we see stories of spiritual power being passed from one person to another in this way. It’s as if, once God gives us a gift by his Spirit, that gift is an actual substance we possess. We can literally hand it off to someone else if we wish.

· in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh’ and ‘in the sight of all Israel’—Moses had two audiences for the wonderful things he did. He showed both Egypt, the superpower of the time, and Israel, the nation God chose for a special relationship, just how powerful God is and how committed he is to giving his people a good life. Along the way, Moses also demonstrated to us just how extraordinary a life can be when it is given over to the adventure into which God calls us.

Taking it home:

· For you: Moses is given the privilege of seeing his impact on the future laid out for him before he dies. Ask God to give you that same privilege. First of all, ask God to give you a little glimpse ahead of time of what the impact of your life might be if you consistently respond to his call to adventure. Then, ask God to give you the power by his Holy Spirit to cross the finish line of your life still running strong, as Moses did. And finally, ask God to give you a fuller picture before you die of what your legacy will be.

For your six: Has God given you a special gift by his Spirit? Why don’t you share it? If it seems like your gift would be helpful to one of your six, consider passing it along to them. If you think they might be receptive, explain the idea of a spiritual gift to them and ask if they’d be willing to allow you to pass it along to them in prayer. You could say something like this:

You’ve mentioned to me before that I seem to be a pretty wise person (‘wisdom’ is, or course, only an example. Replace hopeful with whatever spiritual gift you have that you’d like to pass along). I know this may sound kind of strange, but I don’t think of that wisdom as just some personality trait I happen to have; I believe it’s a gift God has given me. I also believe that God allows us to share these kinds of gifts with others. Would you mind if I asked God to give that same wisdom to you? (If they say, ‘yes) God, I thank you for giving me this gift of wisdom, and I thank you for allowing me to share it with others. I ask that you would give to my friend the same gift you gave to me. So, ________, I give to you the same gift of wisdom that God has given to me.

If you’re really bold and pretty comfortable with the person, you could even ask if you could lay a hand on their shoulder as you pray.

· For our church: Moses was given the opportunity to speak powerfully both to God’s people and to the world at large. It’s a dream of our church to do that same thing, speaking God’s words equally well to both followers of Jesus and secular America. Pray that God would give us the same gift he gave to Moses, allowing us to see that dream come true.