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(Part 134)


August 16, 2017
Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Moses was one of the greatest spiritual figures in the history of salvation. He was God’s instrument and was renowned due to “all the great might and the awesome power that Moses displayed in the sight of all Israel.” (v.12). “Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” (v.10).

Moses endured so much pain and suffering in the service of God, even and most especially from God’s own people. Then, at the edge of the promised land, at the point of triumph and fulfillment, God did not allow Moses to enter the land. “The Lord then said to him, This is the land about which I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not cross over.” (v.4). Moses’ “eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated.” (v.7b). He saw clearly the beauty of the land, which he had dreamed of for so long. We can imagine a few tears being shed by those eyes, as Moses realized his feet would not step on the land.

“So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the Lord, died as the Lord had said; …. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died” (v.5,7a). Why did God not allow Moses to cross over? Could he not have died in the promised land? Why was he deprived of his crowning achievement? Is God cruel and ungrateful? Does He not adequately reward His faithful servants?

I will not attempt to delve into the heart and mind of God on His reason for keeping Moses from crossing over. But I will draw out some implications on God’s call to us as servant leaders.

First, God does as He wills. He is Almighty and Omnipotent. Job, bitter with his afflictions, realized this in the end. We do not question God. He is the Master, and we are mere servants, nay, slaves. Moses could have argued with God, as he had done a number of times, but he just meekly accepted God’s decision.

Second, as servants our task is simply to obey. No ifs, no buts. What use is a slave who has his own mind as to what he wants to do, rather than just obey the Master? Do we know more than God? Do we even have an inkling of the vastness of His wisdom and knowledge? God rebuked Job for questioning Him.

Third, in serving God we must not be in for the reward or the perquisites. We are not there for power, for position or for pride. God can raise us up or lay us down low. It is not about what we can get, but about what we give. And at the end of the day, after doing all we are commanded to do, we aver that we are unprofitable servants who have done nothing else but our duty.

Fourth, the glory coming from what God allows us as servants to accomplish is always and only due to God, and not to ourselves. How can mere instruments grab any glory from God? Does the clay do so in relation to the potter?

Fifth, servants must know that their reward is not in this life but in the next, although there would be a lot of consolations and blessings in this life as well. It is all right if we are not thanked or appreciated for the good we do. We are piling up points in heaven. And for the good and faithful servant, we are assured of the ultimate reward, in heaven. In the transfiguration, Moses did appear with Jesus. That is our reward as well.

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