INTERESTING FACTS : "THE BIBLE IS A HARP WITH A THOUSAND STRINGS. PLAY ON ONE TO THE EXCLUSION OF ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE OTHERS, AND YOU WILL DEVELOP DISCORD. PLAY ON ALL OF THEM, KEEPING THEM IN THEIR PLACES IN THE DIVINE SCALE, AND YOU WILL HEAR HEAVENLY MUSIC ALL THE TIME." --WILLIAM P. WHITE
DAILY READING : DEUTERONOMY 32 - 34
TEXT : Deu 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them . Deu 33:28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. Deu 33:29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
THEME : SECURITY
As we finish the Book of Deuteronomy, we read the blessing Moses pronounces on Israel as they are about to enter Canaan. We also read of Moses death after he sees the land from the height of Pisgah. After this, God Himself buries Moses.
With regard to the blessing on Israel, if not understood in its context some would see a contradiction in the curse declared on them just before this. Here is where careful study of the Bible is needed. The curse was pronounced in a prophetic manner after God told Moses Israel would depart from Him after his death. The blessing was referring to the children of those who served God through Moses and then Joshua. The curse was prophesied of generations to come. The blessing was specifically for those would enter Canaan, fight and possess the land. When read hastily, Moses statements seem contradictory and confusing. When read carefully, we understand the meaning.
Matthew Henry tells us -
"The first verse is the title of the chapter: it is a blessing. In the foregoing chapter he had thundered out the terrors of t he Lord against Israel for their sin; it was a chapter like Ezekiel's roll, full of lamentation, and mourning, and woe. Now to soften that, and that he might not seem to part in anger, he here subjoins a blessing, and leaves his peace, which should descend and rest upon all those among them that were the sons of peace. Thus Christ's last work on earth was to bless his disciples (Luk_24:50), like Moses here, in token of parting as friends."
The story behind Moses death and burial is fascinating in itself, since God buried him. No one knows where God buried Moses, but we learn more about the nature of his death from the Analogy of Faith, namely - comparing Scripture with Scripture. From the short epistle of Jude we discover Michael the archangel disputed with Satan on the day of Moses death. "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." [Jud 1:9]
Why such a tremendous fight of the dead body of Moses? We can only speculate, but John Gill gives us some thoughts on this passage from Jude.
"Some understand literally of the fleshly and natural body of Moses, buried by the Lord himself, partly out of respect to him; and partly, as some think, lest the Israelites should be tempted to an idolatrous worship of him; but rather it was to show that the law of Moses was to be abolished and buried by Christ, never to rise more: and they think that this dispute was either about the burying of his body, or the taking of it up again; Satan on the one hand insisting upon the taking of it up, in order to induce the Israelites to worship him, and Michael, on the other hand, opposing it, to prevent this idolatry;"
Knowing the Scriptures are inspired by God, it is amazing that God never explains why Michael fights so vehemently with Satan [Some believe Michael is Christ Himself - "By whom is meant, not a created angel, but an eternal one, the Lord Jesus Christ; as appears from his name Michael, which signifies, "who is as God": and who is as God, or like unto him, but the Son of God, who is equal with God? and from his character as the archangel, or Prince of angels, for Christ is the head of all principality and power." - John Gill]. Said the other way, why does Satan want Moses body so desperately? The truth is, we do not know.
However, the thought that Satan wanted to produce the body and the grave of Moses seems to be the most likely answer. We shall see as we read further, the Israelites would take the brass serpent on the pole and make it an object of worship which Hezekiah during his reign destroyed. Men are prone to create gods of almost anything. How much more the grave of Moses?
TRUTH FOR TODAY : WE DWELL SECURE IN THE PROMISES OF GOD!
AS MOSES MAKES HIS LAST SPEECH TO ISRAEL AT ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY YEARS OF AGE, HE IS AS HEALTHY IN BODY AND MIND AS EVER. ["AND MOSES WAS AN HUNDRED AND TWENTY YEARS OLD WHEN HE DIED: HIS EYE WAS NOT DIM, NOR HIS NATURAL FORCE ABATED." DEU 34:7] THIS STATEMENT IS ENGAGING, BECAUSE IT INFERS MOSES DID NOT HAVE TO DIE. THAT IS, IF HIS HEALTH IS PRISTINE, INTACT, AND PERFECT, HE COULD HAVE LIVED LONGER - PERHAPS MUCH LONGER. YET, IT PLEASED GOD TO TAKE HIM. FROM THIS WE LEARN FOR THE CHRISTIAN, THE DAY OF OUR DEATH IS IN THE HANDS OF GOD AND IS AN "APPOINTMENT" ON HIS CALENDAR. IN OTHER WORDS, DEATH FOR THE BELIEVER IN CHRIST IS NOT ARBITRARY OR RANDOM. IT IS THE WILL OF GOD TO "TAKE US" WHEN HE PLEASES, AS HE DID WITH MOSES. REMEMBER, EVEN IN DEATH WE LIVE AS JESUS TOLD US.
"JESUS SAID UNTO HER, I AM THE RESURRECTION, AND THE LIFE: HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE: AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE. BELIEVEST THOU THIS?" [JOH 11: 25 - 26]
IN THE BENEDICTION OF MOSES THERE IS APPLICATION FOR US AS CHRISTIANS. "THE ETERNAL GOD IS THY REFUGE, AND UNDERNEATH ARE THE EVERLASTING ARMS: AND HE SHALL THRUST OUT THE ENEMY FROM BEFORE THEE; AND SHALL SAY, DESTROY THEM." [DEU 33:27]
OUR GREATEST ENEMY IN THIS WORLD IS NOT SATAN BUT DEATH. YET, CHRIST HAS CONQUERED DEATH AND THE GRAVE - UNLIKE MOSES. MOSES WAS A MAN. JESUS IS GOD COME IN THE FLESH. THEREFORE, WE HAVE GREAT HOPE AND SECURITY IN THIS LIFE AND THE NEXT. GOD IS ETERNAL, AND HAS GIVEN US HIS LIFE THAT IS LIKEWISE ETERNAL. THEREFORE, HAVING THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE, WE SHALL NEVER DIE. WE MAY BE BURIED, YET WE LIVE. THE STING OF DEATH IS THE CURSE OF THE LAW. HOWEVER, CHRIST HAS REDEEMED US FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW AND GIVEN US HIS LIFE - UNCREATED, EVERLASTING, AND ETERNAL. THIS MOSES COULD NOT DO. FOR THAT MATTER, NO ONE IN THE SCRIPTURES COULD. ONLY JESUS WHO IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD CAN ACCOMPLISH THIS.
SATAN DISPUTED OUR SALVATION WITH CHRIST, MUCH THE SAME WAY HE WANTED THE BODY OF MOSES. HOWEVER, CHRIST TRIUMPHED AND DEFEATED SATAN. THOUGH SATAN WANTED US, AND STILL WANTS US, HE CANNOT DEFEAT JESUS! NO ONE CAN PLUCK US OUT OF GOD'S HAND IN CHRIST JESUS. THEREFORE, WE DWELL SECURE IN THE PROMISES OF GOD!
1CO 15:51 BEHOLD, I SHEW YOU A MYSTERY; WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP, BUT WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED, 1CO 15:52 IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, AT THE LAST TRUMP: FOR THE TRUMPET SHALL SOUND, AND THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED. 1CO 15:53 FOR THIS CORRUPTIBLE MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION, AND THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY. 1CO 15:54 SO WHEN THIS CORRUPTIBLE SHALL HAVE PUT ON INCORRUPTION, AND THIS MORTAL SHALL HAVE PUT ON IMMORTALITY, THEN SHALL BE BROUGHT TO PASS THE SAYING THAT IS WRITTEN, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY. 1CO 15:55 O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING? O GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY? 1CO 15:56 THE STING OF DEATH IS SIN;