Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished. And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. So the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended. Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses. But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 34)
The Death Of Moses
After forty long years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel stood at the brink of a new day with the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob stretching out before them. A new generation had arisen that would be the seed of a new nation in a new land blessed by the hand of the Almighty. The land that flowed with milk and honey would become the dwelling place of God’s people to live in a rich and full history of the heavenly Father’s abundant blessings. Preparations were being made with excitement filling each family with the anticipation of finally finding a place to call home. Four decades earlier a giant of a man had come to Egypt and by the power of God delivered the Hebrews from bondage. He proclaimed the wrath of the Lord against Pharaoh and his wicked spirit of rebellion bringing ten plagues upon the once powerful nation crippling the nation and bringing it to its knees. The army of the Egyptians was destroyed in the Red Sea as a final blow against the nation that held God’s chosen race in bondage. Moses was the great deliverer who would always be etched in the mind of every Hebrew as the man who brought them from bondage to the land of promise. Great signs and wonders were done in the land of Egypt. Throughout the wilderness journey, Moses had shown the power of God in mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel. The Israelites enjoyed the blessings of God and suffered at the hand of a wrathful Lord who punished thousands for their unbelief. Moses was the center of this attention as he begged the people to heed his words and obey the Lord. Often it was Moses himself that stood between God and the certain destruction of the people. For more than forty years Moses had agonized over the children of Israel, prodding them to trust in the Lord and accepting the forty-year banishment with grace. There would never be a man like Moses to stand in the ranks of the godly among the Israelites.
Moses was a man of faith but he was a man hampered by the failings of sin. It is hard to compare any other man to the story of this humble servant whom the Lord knew face to face. No one shared a more personal relationship with God in the nation of Israel than Moses. With all of his faith and courage, Moses had failed to give glory to God in Kadesh. Sin comes with a consequence and the Lord forbade His humble servant to lead the people into the promised land. His sister had just died and shortly after the event at the water of Meribah, his brother Aaron died. Moses had a lot to take in but he never wavered from his purpose to serve the Lord. He leads the people to the Jordan River as instructed by God knowing he would never set foot in the land of Canaan. At the age of one hundred and twenty years, the son of Amram had his natural vigor with eyes as clear as a youth. But he died in the land of Moab according to the word of the Lord. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor but no one knew where the Lord laid His servant to rest. The apostle Peter would remark many centuries later how that everyone knew where David was buried and so many of the other great men of God would be known of their burial plots. This would not be the case with the great leader of Israel. Moses would be buried where no man could find him because God willed it. No marker to show his place, no monument to bear his name and no piece of earth people could go to and honor their deliverer.
The people wept for Moses for thirty days. Life went on. Joshua took the people and crossed the Jordan River. The land of Canaan was conquered and the inhabitants subdued. Sadly the history of Israel did not show reverence for God and the people soon forgot the story of Moses. They wept for thirty days at the loss of their great leader remembering all the signs and wonders and mighty power Moses performed before them but when life returned to normal Moses was forgotten. His law was rejected because they did not believe in God. The memory of the meek and humble servant Moses was lost. A greater deliverer would come in the form of a man whose name was Jesus. Like Moses, the son of Mary was revered for a time but then rejected and killed. His memory is often obscured by the busy pursuits of life. No story is as powerful as the life of Jesus but most people do not give heed to His word. Like Moses, Jesus becomes a forgotten byline that is lost in the dust of time and the carnal pursuits of men trying to conquer the world for their own possession lose the identity with the Son of God. Moses’ death was untimely but according to the will of God. The death of Jesus may have seemed untimely in the eyes of man but it was the perfection of the scheme of redeeming man from the consequence of sin. A greater than Moses rose from the dead on the first day of the week. No one knew where the Lord buried Moses but everyone knew where they buried Jesus. The difference is eternal: there was a body where God buried Moses but the tomb of Jesus was empty. Thank God for men like Moses. Greater still, thank God for Jesus Christ.