The Lord said to Moses, "Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the people of Israel. When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people…
Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation…”
So the Lord said to Moses, "Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.”
Numbers 27:12-13, 15-16, 18
On the east side of the Jordan River, poised to enter the Promised Land, the people of Israel waited. There were a few things yet to be done before they could enter.
God’s Law would remain in force, but some of the rules given during the long march through the desert would be adapted to the new, permanent living situation; so God had Moses write the whole book of Deuteronomy to guide them.
He and Eleazar, who was now High Priest in his father Aaron’s place, took a new census of the people at God’s command. They not only would need to know these numbers as they divided the Promised Land among the tribes, they needed to be shown clearly that God’s Word had come to pass: because of their unbelief, all the adults who had left Egypt had died in the wilderness, as God had said they would. They also needed to see that God’s special promise to Caleb and Joshua, the two spies who had trusted in God’s Word, had been kept. They alone of that generation would be allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Even Moses, “faithful in all God’s House,” to whom God spoke as to a friend, would not be allowed to enter. His one act of disobedience, when in anger and frustration he struck the rock instead of simply speaking to it as God had commanded him to do, would cost him that privilege.
Was that harsh? Yes! It was harsh on God’s part. He lovingly allowed Moses to see the Land from the mountaintop, but God’s Law is unrelenting.
Moses was the Law of God, personified. No exceptions could be made if God’s Law was to stand. We needed to be shown that perfect obedience, though required, is impossible even for the best of us. Moses’ death illustrated that principle.
As Moses, the Law personified, passed the leadership of Israel on to Joshua, he gave it into the hand of one whose very life was an illustration of faith in God’s promises.
The name Joshua (Y’shua in Hebrew) is the same as Jesus. It means, “the Lord saves.” What could not be accomplished under the Law would be fulfilled by faith in Jesus, God’s Word made flesh. We enter the Home God has prepared for us, simply by faith in Him.
Lord, the beauty of Your Word, not only spoken but lived by Your prophets, takes my breath away. Thank You for making Your plan of Salvation so clear even as You hid it in the words, the people, the names and events of the Old Covenant, for us to discover. “Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine, And jewels, rich and rare, Are hidden in its mighty depths For every searcher there.” Thank You, Lord Jesus! Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles