Moses dies….on the edge of the Promised Land.

25 04 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN : Deuteronomy 33 v. 1 – 34 v. 12; Luke 20 v. 27 – 21 v. 4; Psalm 49 v. 1 – 20

DEUTERONOMY
Moses Blesses the Tribes – Moses’ final act is to pray a blessing on each of the tribes. God had blessed them from Sinai, and all instruction has been given by Him.
‘It is You who love the people; all the holy ones are in Your hand. At Your feet they all bow down, and from You receive instruction.’
Reuben – a prayer for God’ protection and blessing for many descendants
Judah – a prayer for God’s protection and provision against their enemies
Levi – a prayer for this tribe who ‘teach Your precepts and laws’, and who offer incense and burnt offerings, that all their skills will be blessed, and that they will be well defended from the enemy
Benjamin – a prayer for protection, a shielding…‘the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders’
Joseph – a prayer for God’s blessing on the land with the best gifts of the earth;‘in majesty he is like a firstborn bull’.
Zebulun – a blessing for their going out and coming in (Issachar), and their call to others to offer sacrifices on the mountain
Gad – a blessing for the an enlarging territory, for them being a lead tribe, a good judge concerning Israel
Dan – a blessing of the ‘lion cub’ of a tribe
Naphtali – a prayer for God’s continued favour, blessing and inheritance (of land)
Asher – a blessing for Asher being favoured by the brothers, for strength and sure defence (iron bolts / gates)

Moses concludes that there is no-one like Israel’s God, ‘riding on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty’.
‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.’
The Lord will protect and bless Israel – most blessed among nations – enjoying security, fruitfulness, a sense of being saved / rescued.

The Death of Moses – as God had previously instructed, Moses climbs Mt. Nebo, looks over the whole Promised Land, and God reminds Moses of the covenant given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, about to be fulfilled by his descendants entering the land.
Moses dies on the mountain, and is buried in an unknown grave (it reads as if God, Himself, buries Moses). He died in good health, at 120 years old.
The Israelites mourned for Moses for thirty days.
‘Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the Spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him.’
The Israelites listened to him, and obeyed the Lord’s commands.

Moses will never be matched as a prophet – he knew God face to face; he did many miraculous signs (especially in Egypt).
‘For no-one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.’

The end of Deuteronomy, and the end of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible). The book / series of books ends with blessings being pronounced across all Israel.
The death of Moses is a moving portion of scripture, especially as it reads as if he dies alone, with God, Himself, attending to the burial.
He will always be remembered as the greatest of all the prophets, bringing them to freedom from Egypt.

LUKE
Resurrection and Marriage – the question arises, from the Sadducees who don’t believe in a resurrection, if there is a resurrection and a woman has had several husbands, who will she be married to ‘at the resurrection’?
Jesus says there will be no marriage in heaven, for all will be like the angels, they are God’s children first and foremost.
He uses a story of Moses to illustrate the belief of the forefathers that the dead will rise.
‘He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’ (I am reminded of the angel at the resurrection of Jesus, who said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?).
Some accept His teaching and affirm Him (I guess others slope off quietly).

Whose Son is the Christ ? – Jesus argues that He is more than ‘just’ a Son of David (earthly descendant of David), but is Lord (David, himself, had called Him, Lord). It’s an audacious claim, followed by a warning to beware of the scribes….their motives are suspect – they like being seen in their long robes in the marketplace; they love the best seats; they like only the best feasts; they live off the diminishing estates of widows; they try to impress with their long prayers. They are going to experience God’s harshest condemnation…



The Widow’s Offering – observing those giving gifts, including the very rich and the very poor, Jesus commends to His disciples the two small copper coins the poor widow puts in – ‘All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’

PSALM
The Psalmist sings of the wisdom and understanding which come from God…compared with the fear and deception around, the trust in wealth and riches.
‘The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough – that he should live on for ever…’
The wise and foolish, alike, will die, and we take nothing with us when we die.
‘A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.’
‘God will redeem my life from the grave; He will surely take me to himself.’

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