Focal Verse – “Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance: you will not enter the land I am giving the people of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 32:52 [NIV])
In the closing verse to Deuteronomy 32, God reminded Moses of his sin against Him and commanded him to die on Mount Nebo. These seem harsh things to hear at the end of one’s life. Yet we need to consider a few things.
God called to Moses through his conscience and his mother’s teaching while he lived as the Pharaoh’s son in Egypt. He called to Moses while he lived as a shepherd for his father-in-law, Jethro in Midian through a burning bush that remained unconsumed. Moses learned to hear the voice of God from those years onward so that he was in tune with God’s voice and His heart. God prepared him to be the leader of His chosen people. Over the years, Moses’ relationship with the Lord grew and deepened and he knew God in many ways – voice, silence, pillar of fire, cloud, earthquake.
Because of the depth of Moses’ relationship with God and his experiences with Him, we find it surprising to watch him falter and sin in the Bible. Yet we realize God made every person to have free will with which to choose to follow God or not. Even in Moses’ rage over the Israelites’ continual turning away from God, he too failed God. We read of it in Numbers 20:1-12. In Numbers 27:12-14, God pronounced Moses’ sin and His judgment. Yes, even Moses sinned and received judgment.
What we should recognize in view of this is God’s compassion. Why compassion? Obviously, God showed compassion in that as the Father of Moses He loved him enough to correct and punish him. Again, obvious in that God allowed Moses to live forty years more.
The compassion I speak of today though comes from verse fifty-two. God’s compassion extended to letting Moses see the Promised Land – the fruit of God’s promise with Abraham. God’s love for Moses extended to giving him a sense of success in bringing his “charges” – God’s people - through their disobedience, trials, battles, and daily issues of communal living to the Promised Land. His love for Moses extended to letting Moses see and experience the receipt of the fruit of God’s promise to Abraham – the Promised Land. Though Moses sinned and did not give the glory to God in Meribah-kadesh, he was a faithful servant of God. God’s compassion extended to letting him experience God’s faithfulness, the exhalation of anticipation upon reaching the Promised Land.
God is loving. His righteousness requires discipline and punishment – judgment – at times. Yet God’s judgment comes from His love. When God judges and administers judgment, we should not remember just the sting of the punishment, but the love and compassion of our God who cares enough to correct us and to watch us receive His blessing. Because we live on this side of Calvary, as Christians, when we experience the sting of judgment, we can understand without doubt we will experience the compassion of God’s love amidst the sting. That is because we will continue to have a relationship with Him and will live in His kingdom forever.
In the future when you read this passage and when you recall this story,
remember in the midst of God’s correction and judgment,
we still receive His compassion and love.
We get to see the Promised Land.
Do you have this hope, too? Are you a believer in Jesus Christ? If you are not, why not place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and receive God’s gift of salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life with Him.