Posts tagged ‘Israel’

The Nearly Obsolete Church

What is the purpose of the Church?  To answer that, we need to ask, what is the purpose of Israel?  Some, or perhaps many, of you may be wondering what the connection is.  I’ll tell you.  “…and you–being a wild olive–were grafted in among them….”  Here is the whole verse.  Romans 11:17-18 – But if some of the branches were broken off and you–being a wild olive–were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness, do not boast against the branches.  But if you do boast, it is not you who support the root but the root supports you.” TLV

And your point is???

Here is my point.  We, the Church, are grafted in to Israel, to be partakers in the blessings they receive from God.  First and foremost among them the Messiah.  Their Messiah is our Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus).  Whether all, or some of Israel have received Him or not is beside the point.  The fact is that Yeshua is their Messiah regardless of their acceptance of Him.  And He is our Messiah as well, thanks to them.  It is thanks to them because it is through them that the Messiah came.

Just as we share in their blessings as a result of the grafting in, we also share in their purpose.  Not the purpose of being the physical DNA of Yeshua.  That belongs to Israel and Israel alone.  But all through their history, they have had a purpose beyond the source of the Savior.  That being a nation that has been sanctified and made holy, to be set apart as God’s treasure.  They were to be a nation of people who, by their righteous living, pointed to the righteousness of God.  Who by their small size, yet amazing conquest, pointed to the power of God.  Who by their existence, pointed to the faithfulness of God.  And who by their  actions, pointed to the love of God.  By watching this little nation, the world was to see that Israel’s God was like no other god; that He was near to them, not afar off, in fact, that He dwelt with them.

Exodus 19:5 – “…you will be My own treasure from among all people.”

Deuteronomy 4:7-8 – “For what great nation is there that has gods so near to them, as ADONAI our God is whenever we call on Him?  What great nation is there that has statutes and ordinances that are righteous–like all of this Torah that I am setting before you today?”

Deuteronomy 4:20 – But you, ADONAI has taken…to be a people for His own inheritance….”

Deuteronomy 4:33-35 – Has a people ever heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard–and lived?  or has any god ever tried to come to take for himself a nation from within a nation–by trials, by signs and wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors–like all that ADONAI your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?  You were shown so that you might know that ADONAI is God–there is no other besides Him.

Deuteronomy 14:2 – For you are a holy people to ADONAI your God–from all the peoples on the face of the earth, ADONAI has chosen you to be His treasured people.

Deuteronomy 26:18-19 – Now today ADONAI has affirmed you as His treasured people, as He promised you; that you are to keep all His mitzvot [commandments]; that He will set you high above all the nations He has made, for praise, fame and honor; and that you are to be a holy people to ADONAI your God, as He has promised.

Deuteronomy 28:10 – Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of ADONAI and they will stand in awe of you.

Deuteronomy 33:29 – Happy are you, O Israel!  Who is like you, a people saved by ADONAI, the Shield of your help and the Sword of your triumph?  Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample on their backs.

Ezekiel 37:26b-27 – I will set up My Sanctuary among them forever.  My dwelling place will be over them.  I will be their God and they will be My people.  Then the nations will know that I am ADONAI who sanctifies Israel, when My Sanctuary is in their midst forever.

The purpose of Israel is to point to God; to be witnesses to who He is (Isaiah 43:10).  The purpose of the Church, as a branch grafted in to Israel, is to do the same.  Of course additional to that, we are to be witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8), and emissaries of Yeshua making disciples of all nations.

So we have determined the purpose of the Church, but let me ask you this question: how can we point to God, be witnesses of who He and Yeshua are, and make disciples of all nations when we look the same as every other person on the planet?

I remember when I was growing up going to church twice on Sunday and then Wednesday evening prayer service.  Then there were the other things.  There was youth group, Bible studies, choir, etc.  There were any number of ways to be involved, to keep my focus on God and His Word, and not on this world.  My family looked different from the families of my friends and neighbors because our lives revolved around God and His service, whether that was in the Church building itself, or in service to the community, or in worship and Bible study.  Whatever it was, it kept our eyes and hearts pointed in His direction.

What do our churches look like today?  Sunday morning service.  Sunday school during the school year; over the summer, that just gets in the way of family time.  Sunday evening service has been sacrificed on the alter of family time as well.  So has Wednesday evening prayer service…or maybe that was on the alter of school activities and “we are just too busy every other night of the week, so we need that night to just stay home.”  Youth group is attended as long as it doesn’t get in the way of …?  Even Sunday morning service is negotiable depending on 4H, the county fair, this trip to that place, that trip to the other place, and if we are honest, if we are not too tired from the busyness of everything else.

Busyness.  Yes, that is it.  The Church is actively being sacrificed on the alter of the god of Busyness.  I do not write this as someone who has no guilt.  In fact, I could be a lot more involved than I am.  Not that I am not involved at all, I am.  But there are things that I and my family could be involved with that we are not.  And the truth is it is because we have allowed church to have a priority level of about two.

To make matters worse, when we put church on the back burner, God tends to get pushed back there to the other back burner.  Our Bible reading and study at home slips until it is maybe once or twice a week, or not at all.

So what do our lives point to?  Who or what are they a witness of?  They point to Busyness.  They are a witness of Busyness.  Do we lead people to Christ?  No, why would we talk about Him when we barely give Him the time of day?  He’s an afterthought…oh yah!  It’s Sunday.  Maybe I should go to church.

Look at Israel!  Read through the book of Leviticus…its in the Old Testament.  Their entire lives revolved around keeping themselves righteous for God.  Being an Israelite was not just DNA, and it was more than cultural.  Being an Israelite was the definition of being set aside as a unique person for God.  They were intended to look different from everyone else.  God lived with them, and their lives revolved around Him.

Look at the Church.  The Spirit of God lives right inside each one of us!  How much more should our lives revolve around Him?  We already have righteousness through Messiah.  We have already received the salvation that they (Israel) worked for.  And yet we find it nearly impossible to set ourselves apart from the world.

How can the world see that God is worth living for if we don’t live for Him?  It is high time the Church tear down the idles of this world, and turn our faces to YAHWEH, the God of the Israelites and the God of the Church.

 

WHAT TO DO WHEN GOD’S CALLING SEEMS TO FALL APART

Have you ever been hit upside the head by God?  Have you had that moment of absolute clarity when you know, without a doubt, that God has called you to do something?  In obedience, you step out in faith and begin this new journey He has mapped out for you.  Then suddenly you hit a brick wall…or perhaps the brick wall hits you.  Trouble has come from somewhere, in some way, shape or form.

You begin to doubt.  Oh, the questions that fill your mind.  Have I sinned and fallen out of favor with God?  Is He no longer able to use me?  Was I wrong?  Did I misunderstand?  Maybe He didn’t call me to this at all.  Maybe it was all just my imagination.  Maybe I’m going about it all wrong.  Maybe….  Your heart sinks.  There is a sickness in the pit of your stomach.  You probably even think of how foolish you must have looked to all those family and friends you excitedly told about what God was doing in your life and what He had called you to.  How embarrassing!  You sheepishly hide this new “revelation” that you were wrong, and hope no one ever asks you about it.  What are the chances they will forget it and you will never have to speak of it again?

Moses must have felt the same way, don’t you think?  In Exodus 3 God met Moses alone in the wilderness, and spoke to him through a burning bush, of all things!  The two of them shared this amazing, personal moment in which God revealed to Moses, of all people, His real name (YHVH, pronounced in English Yehova or Yahweh).  Moses-  the Hebrew rejected by his people because he was raised in the house of the Egyptian pharaoh.  The man raised in the Pharaoh’s home, yet rejected by the Egyptians because he was, in fact, Hebrew.  The man who, in his zeal to be associated with his people, and with impulsive anger, killed an Egyptian man for beating a Hebrew.  The man who escaped to the wilderness to become a lonely shepherd.  To this same man, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob intimately revealed His true name, and called Moses to be savior and leader of the Hebrew people.

Moses couldn’t believe it either.  He was a humble man and doubted God could use him for anything worthwhile.  Even if he did as God said, what made Him think that the people would listen to him?  They knew him, and he was not a respectable source of information from anyone, let alone God.  God gave Moses three miraculous signs to do the convincing for him.  Moses still questioned God’s choice of messengers.  “Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent.’” (Ex. 3:10).  And God put His foot down.  “Who has made man’s mouth?”  He asked.

In the end, of course, we know that Moses went.  He spoke the words God gave him to his brother Aaron, and Aaron spoke them to the Hebrew people and eventually to the Pharaoh.  The people were convinced that God had sent him and agreed to follow.

Pharaoh, on the other hand, would have none of it.  Rather than giving in to the demands of this Hebrew God, YHVH, of whom he had never heard, and who had no territorial rights in Egypt, he refused.  Not only did the Pharaoh refuse to let the Hebrews go on this 3-day pilgrimage to worship YHVH, he decided that their work was too easy.  He would no longer allow straw for the making of bricks to be provided to the Israelites.  They were required to spread out and gather what stubble they could find, and then use that to make the same number of bricks they had done before.  When they were unable to keep up with this quota, they were beaten.

Naturally, the people blamed Moses!  And BAM!  Moses was hit by the brick wall of doubt.  What had he done wrong?  Had he misunderstood?  He must have acted impulsively, and now look at the trouble he got this entire nation of people into!

 

But Moses did the right thing in the face of doubt.  He prayed.  Humbly before God, he said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people?  Why is it You have sent me?  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”  (Ex. 5:22-23).

Even though God had warned Moses that Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened, and he would refuse to let His people go, Moses expected immediate results.  He didn’t understand that God had so much more to do there first.  The Israelites and the Egyptians needed to be shown the power of YHVH.  In those ancient times, gods were believed to be territorial.  God needed to show His power over the Egyptian gods so that Egypt would let His people go, and so that the Israelites would let the Egyptian gods go and willingly follow and serve Him alone.

God’s reply to Moses assured him of his calling, and that God was indeed in control of this situation.  “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh.  For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.’”  (Ex. 6:1).

Suppose Moses had given in to his doubts…or perhaps I should say Satan’s doubts.  Who do you suppose put those doubts in his mind?  Who do you suppose puts the doubts in your mind?  Who has the most to gain when we question what God has called us to do, and quit?  You better believe it!!!  When you hit those bumps in the road of your calling, stomp them down flat again.

Remind yourself of the certainty you felt when you first received that calling, and above all, pray!  Pray for protection from Satan’s deceptions, and attacks.  Pray for the faith to continue.  Pray for the wisdom to see and understand what God is doing.  Remember it was God who allowed the bumps in Moses’ path.  He did it for a reason, and the bumps in your path likely have some reason, too.  There is so much more going on behind the scenes that you are not aware of.  Work in your heart; work in the hearts of others.  God is in control.  Rest assured that when He calls you to something, He is faithful and just, and will complete it.

*Bible verses are taken from the New King James Version.

If you have been blessed by this article, please take a moment to thank God for what He is speaking to you.

The ETERNAL part of God’s Covenant

The progression of God’s covenant with Abraham:
Genesis 12:1-3 – God promises to make a great nation of Abraham and his descendents; to bless Abraham; to make his name great; to make him a blessing; to bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him; and to bless the world through Abraham.
Genesis 12:7 – God promises to give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s descendants.
Genesis 13:24-17 – God officially gives the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants and promises to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth.
Genesis 15:8-18 – God performs a one-sided covenant ritual with Abraham, making the responsibility to keep the covenant solely God’s.
Genesis 17:1-7 – When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Note: GOD made HIS covenant with Abraham and his descendants. It was that HE would be their God, and that they would possess Canaan. AND THE COVENANT WAS ETERNAL. God has NOT, and NEVER will, abandon Israel as His chosen people. If He did, He would be breaking the covenant that He made with Israel, that He accepted sole responsibility in keeping; and He would not be faithful and true. To verify that God planned to keep His covenant with Israel (Abraham’s descendants through Isaac and then Jacob, who’s name God changed to Israel) check out Jeremiah 31:35-37 and Jeremiah 33:23-26 where God says the sun, moon, and stars, day and night, would have to cease to exist before He would cast off Israel from being His people.

Christians, we must support Israel. We must pray for Her. We must defend Her. We must aid Her. And we must remember that we are members of Her as believers who have been grafted into Her body – Romans 11:16-24. It is through Israel’s Messiah that we receive salvation and eternal life. It was through the Jews of the early church that the Gospel was brought to us, the Gentiles. Now it is through us that the Gospel must be carried back to Israel, to God’s chosen people, to receive their own Messiah, as God more and more softens their hearts of stone and removes the scales from their eyes so that they may see and accept the truth.

Are You A Replacement?

There is a common belief among Christians today that the Church has replaced the Jewish people as God’s chosen people.  Another equally confused belief is that the New Testament Covenant was meant only for the Church, and not the Jews.  Whereas the Old Testament Covenant was meant only for the Jews, and not the Church.  Both of these beliefs are misguided and wrong.

For some time now I have felt God’s leading as He has pulled me closer to the Jewish people.  Funny thing is that I don’t believe I know a single person of Jewish descent.  It really began when I was studying the book of Romans.  Paul states fervently in chapter 11 that it is the duty of the Gentile believer to materially support the Jewish people because it is through them that we are spiritually blessed.  It is in this discussion that Paul points out that the Gentile believers are grafted into the Olive Tree which is Israel.  He never states that the Olive Tree was uprooted and a new tree was planted in its place.  Once a person becomes a believer and receives salvation through Jesus Christ, Yeshua, he is grafted into the base tree, Israel.  In essence, the spiritual roots of the believer, Gentile or Jew, are Jewish.  God grafts us together and we become one spiritual family.  I have come to consider myself a spiritual Jew or Israelite; a spiritual descendant of Abraham.

I have been studying the Torah (1st 5 books of the Old Testament, often called the Books of Moses, or the Books of the Law), from the perspective of Messianic (Christian) Jews.  There is such a rich understanding of the Torah through the eyes of their culture!  It is an understanding I can’t possibly come to with my own genealogical background and culture in which I grew up.  I have learned so much, and look forward to learning much, much more as I continue the study.  I wish I could sit for hours each day to pour over it, but unfortunately I don’t have that kind of time.  To be sure, there is a lot of legalism within the Orthodox Jewish religion.  But that is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about Jews who have come to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who was promised to them as their Savior.  When they study the Old Testament with their background in the culture it was written in, and in light of the New Testament (and the New Testament in light of the Old)…WOW!!!

Oh, and yes, I absolutely believe that the Old Testament Covenant is every bit as much for me as a Gentile as it is for the Jew.  And vise verse.  The  New Testament Covenant is not just for the Church, but for the Jews as well…those who believe in Jesus as Messiah.  This goes to the earlier comment about the Dual Covenant.  The belief that the Old Testament is for the Jews.  The New Testament is for the Church.  If we are indeed grafted into the Jewish people, their spiritual roots, then the Old Testament Covenant is just as much for us as it is for them.  That includes the laws and the festivals.  There are very specific meanings behind the festivals…and direct connections to the fulfillment of prophesy.  There is meaning there that we can never know without rejoining to our spiritual roots in the Messianic Jewish community.

The Old Testament Covenant did not end with Jesus.  He said, “Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”  (Matthew 5:17-18).  Jesus did not abolish the Old Testament Law or Covenant.  It is still in effect today, and prophecies connected to the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham are being fulfilled even now.

As for the New Testament or New Covenant, let me ask you this.  Who was Jesus speaking to when He said the following:  “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”  (Luke 22:20).  He was speaking to His disciples…Jews.  Jesus made the new covenant with Jews first.  Not the Gentile church.  Is it for the Church?  Absolutely!  But it does not exclude the Jewish believer.  So, the new covenant is for the Church, Gentile and Jew alike.  And the Old Testament Covenant is for the Jew and the Church alike, as people who share the same spiritual roots.

Finally, I go all the way back to Genesis 12:3 when God made His covenant with Abraham.  “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”  And I tie this verse in with Romans 11:16-18 –

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

How can we bless Israel if we boast against her?  If we view ourselves as her replacement, and look down our noses on the people from whom our Messiah, and theirs, came?  And how can we be blessed with the insight and knowledge they offer as the people and culture through which God gave His Word, the Bible?  Do not curse Israel.  They remain God’s chosen people, and as a believer, you are a spiritual member with them.  Bless them.  Come alongside them.  Support them.  Learn from them.  And be blessed.

Back To Square One: Starting over with God

Do you ever wish you could have a do-over?  You made the wrong choice, said the wrong thing, some how just really messed things up, and you want nothing more than to turn back the hands of time and do it over, but differently.  I don’t know about you, but I experience this several times a day!  Of course, no matter how badly I want that do-over, I am not going to get it.  I did what I did.  Said what I said.  The mess I made is here to stay.  And I will just have to deal with the consequences the best that I can.  This imperfect life, and its constant battle with sin is so frustrating!

Have you ever noticed there are some interesting parallels between the beginning stories of Moses and Joshua?  That is because there is a do-over played out in the history of the people of Israel.  Let me show you.

Moses began his call to service when God spoke to him through the burning bush.  He was told to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3: 1-6).  Joshua had a similar experience soon after Moses died and he took over leadership of the Israelite people.  The Commander of the Lord’s army (Jesus pre-incarnate) stood before Joshua.  He told Joshua to remove his sandals because the place where he stood was holy (Joshua 5: 13-15).

Under Moses’ leadership, the Israelites left Egypt during the night after they celebrated the first Passover Feast.  Forty years later the Israelites had entered the Promised Land and celebrated the Passover Feast before beginning their conquest.  The very next day they began eating the produce of the land, and the manna stopped coming.

God used the parting of the Red Sea to instill trust in Himself and Moses (Exodus 14: 21).  Again, forty years later, God used the parting of the Jordan River to show God’s great power and to demonstrate that He was with Joshua as He was with Moses (Joshua 3: 7, 15-17; 4: 23-24).

When the people started out from Egypt with Moses, they messed up, and messed up big.  They grumbled and complained, and ultimately demonstrated that, in spite of everything they had witnessed, they did not trust God.  The consequences left them wandering in the desert for forty years, unable to receive the land promised to them by God.  But when all of those Israelites died, and only their children remained, God gave the nation a do-over.  He brought up a new leader and started him off in the presence of the holy God.  He parted the waters of a great body of water and led the Israelites from an old way of life to a new one, full of hope and promise, and the power of the Almighty God.  And God reminded the people of His faithfulness to them, past, present and future, through the Passover Feast, which marked the beginning and end of their journey to Canaan.  It was like God saying, “Okay.  You made a mess of things, but that is over and done with.  It is the past, and now is the time for a new beginning.  I’m starting you over from square one.  It’s your chance to get it right this time.”

Just like the Israelites, when we mess up, we bear the consequences.  They lost an entire generation to the wilderness.  We lose relationships, the respect of our children, opportunities to help others and do what honors God, our witness for Christ.  Sometimes the damage can be repaired.  Sometimes the consequences are permanent.  But God loves us.  He understands more fully than we do ourselves that we are not capable of living up to His standards.  And He loves us.  Did I say that already?  I’ll say it again.  GOD LOVES US!!!!  Every time we sin, He gives us the opportunity to repent; to confess and turn away from what we did wrong, and get it right the next time.  So no, we don’t get do-overs.  But thank the God of grace and mercy that we do get one chance after another, unlimited, until the day that His work in us is complete!!!  

TO GOD BE THE GLORY IN ALL THINGS, FOREVER!  AMEN

Moses Died and HE Buried Him: What can you take away from Moses’ death?

English: Moses views the Promised Land, by Lor...

English: Moses views the Promised Land, by Lord Frederic Leighton, relief print from Illustrations for “Dalziel’s Bible Gallery”, engraved by the Dalziel Brothers and published 1881 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are so many prophets in the Bible.  Good ones.  Lots of good ones.  Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea…the names of the books of the Old Testament is a litany of prophets.  They were God’s messengers to His people.  It was what they asked for.  When God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai, God was present there.  The Bible says there was thunder, a trumpet, lightening, and smoke rising from the mountain.  The people of Israel were terrified!  “They shook with fear and stood far away from the mountain” (Ex. 20:18).

Deuteronomy 5: 4-5; 23-28 (NCV) – “The Lord spoke to you face to face from the fire on the mountain.  (At that time I [Moses] stood between you and the Lord in order to tell you what the Lord said; you were afraid of the fire, so you would not go up on the mountain.) …. When you heard the voice from the darkness, as the mountain was blazing with fire, all your older leaders and leaders of your tribes came to me.  And you said, ‘The Lord our God has shown us his glory and majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire.  Today we have seen that a person can live even if God speaks to him.  But now, we will die!  This great fire will burn us up, and we will die if we hear the Lord our God speak anymore.  No human being has ever heard the living God speaking from a fire and still lived, but we have.  Moses, you go near and listen to everything the Lord our God says.  Then you tell us what the Lord our God tells you, and we will listen and obey.’  The Lord heard what you said to me, and he said to me, ‘I have heard what the people said to you.  Everything they said was good.'”

The people of Israel didn’t want to speak with God face to face, out of fear and reverence.  So God spoke to Moses instead.  Every message He had for them came through Moses.  It was an amazing time!  God was physically present with them day and night!  He was in the pillar of cloud traveling before them during the day.  He was in the pillar of flame traveling before them at night (Ex. 13:21).  When Moses met with God in the Meeting Tent, God was present in a cloud that lowered over the tent (Ex. 40:34-35).  Moses was not un-effected by this.  Remember how we are told that his face shown so brightly after talking with God that he covered it when he wasn’t speaking with God, or sharing God’s message with the people (Ex. 34: 33-35).

Moses had a relationship with God that fills me with awe and wonder!  While God spoke to other prophets through dreams and visions, He spoke face to face with Moses.  He didn’t show Moses visions that needed to be interpreted, He spoke clearly, straight forward, with no hidden meanings (see Numbers 12: 6-8).  God said exactly what He meant to say, and there was no mistaking the message.  God trusted Moses to lead Israel.  God even allowed Moses to see His glory (Exodus 33: 18-23).

But Moses disobeyed God.  Exodus 20: 6-12 tells us that Moses was told to speak to a rock and water would come out for the people.  But Moses was angry with the people for their complaining, and he struck the rock, not once, but twice.  Moses’ punishment for this sin was that he would not be allowed to cross over into the Promised Land.  God told him the punishment was because he didn’t believe God, and because he didn’t honor Him before the people.

Eventually the people of Israel arrived at the Jordan River.  All the laws had been given.  Those who had not believed in God in the first place had died.  Their children were going to inherit the Promised Land, and they were poised and ready to go.  God called Moses up to the top of Mount Pisgah in the land of Moab.  There he was allowed to see all of the Promised Land, the richness, the beauty.  But there he would die, held back from ever entering what he spent his life working toward.  It must be noted that Moses did not die of old age, even though he was old (120 years).  Deuteronomy 34: 7 tells us that his eyes weren’t weak, and he was still strong.  He didn’t die of a sickness.  He just died.  But he didn’t die alone, either.  God was with him.  Only God.  When it was time for Moses to leave this earth, even though his untimely death was a direct result of his disobedience to God, God was there with him.  God loved Moses so much that He took him in an intimate and personal way, known only to the two of them.  They had shared so many of these face to face times throughout Moses’ life, this must have been the most natural and fitting end.  I wonder how God took Moses’ life.  I can’t see Him striking Moses with a bolt of lighting, or burning him with flames.  Maybe it was just a touch, and He caught Moses’ body in His arms as he fell.  Or maybe God did what he wouldn’t do earlier.  Maybe He showed Moses His glory, and he died struck by the very sight of Holy God.  God Himself lovingly buried Moses there in the valley opposite Beth Peor (Deut. 34: 6).  Perhaps one of the most touching scenes in the Bible, when we see played out before us, the love of God for just one man.  I admit I cried when I read it.  But what are we supposed to take from this?  Is it just another story in the Bible?  Is there a lesson to be learned?  I don’t know.  I am left with this, though, an intense longing to have that kind of relationship with God.  To have His trust.  To speak to Him face to face.  To see His glory.  I want my face to shine from being in His presence!!  What about you?  What has God put in your heart today?

May the God of Moses show you His glory today!

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