Moses, at 120 years old, eyes undimmed and vigor unabated (Deuteronomy 34:7), climbs Mount Nebo to view the Promised Land. He led the people to the threshold, but he will not go in. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there” (Deuteronomy 34:4). Paging back to Numbers 20 reminds us why. Moses struck the rock at Maribah instead of speaking to the rock as God instructed him. Because of this, “because you did not believe in me,” God said, “you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them” (Numbers 20:12). After leading the children of Israel for 80 years, Moses does not get to put his feet up and rest in victory.
God may have been doing Moses a favor. The kind of guy Moses was, it is unlikely he was well-suited for retirement. How many times have we seen people vibrant and vigorous all of their lives retire and quickly waste away. Joe Gibbs, three-time Super Bowl champion coach of the Washington Redskins, describes a vital part of his job, “my resolve as head coach to be the guy who tells the veterans that their days are over.” Moses’s mission was the quest, not the conquest, and that is another reason God kept Moses from entering Canaan. The people needed a shepherd to guide them to the Land. That was Moses. Now they need a warrior to take the Land. At 120 years old, even with all his vigor, it was not Moses. There are times when letting go is better than leading on. A younger Joshua would take the Land. Moses needed to disappear so all eyes would look to Joshua.
Wonderful God, Savior, King, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for salvation. Thank You for life everlasting, joy overflowing, grace overwhelming, peace beyond understanding. Thank you for all you have gifted to me.
May I find my delight always in your desire, my passion in your purpose. May I be ready to lead, to follow, and to pass along to others, the privilege and responsibility of ministry, of service, of “loving my neighbor.” Your call, God. Anything.