W.I.S.H. – Weekly Insights for Spiritual Health 07-21-2021
Read: Exodus 17:6, Numbers 20
We’ve been following the life of Moses for months, and for 120 years! Now, his life is coming to a close. He is not allowed to enter the promised land. It doesn’t seem right to me; God seems too harsh here. After all that Moses did for God, and for the people, he is prevented from entering the promised land because he got angry, and wacked the rock twice for water, instead of only once. Really!? Because of that single act of angry disobedience Moses is not permitted to lead the people into the promise land. The people of God would wander the wilderness for 40 years, until the last of that rebellious generation had passed away. Moses included.
It doesn’t seem right to me. Is there more to the story? I don’t know. Perhaps some day we will understand it better. There’s so much that we don’t know, and I’m not sure that we can really comprehend the relationship between God and Moses.
An important truth about life, stated in the Bible, is that in this world we do not get what we deserve (Hebrews 11:32-39). Is God using Moses as an example for us all? What if Moses’ life represents a warning from God – not of God’s wrath or punishment, but for missing out on the abundant life and the blessings God offers to us daily? Anger didn’t keep Moses out of Heaven (salvation), but anger did prevent his reaching the Promised Land in this lifetime. Is that a timeless lesson for us?
I think of Henry David Thoreau’s words, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” There are things that can keep us from living life fully. There are things that prevent us from realizing an abundant life in Christ; anger is one of them. Moses died at age 120 without entering the promised land; nevertheless the story does continue.
That is another point: the story of God’s people is bigger than any one person. The Bible shows us that God’s purpose is bigger than Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, or Moses. God’s mission is ongoing, spanning the generations, and greater than any one leader can fulfill. Moses hands the baton to Joshua; it is Joshua’s turn to lead the mission. But for us the question is this: how will we lead or follow in our time?
Pastor Rob Nystrom