Undimmed Eyes + Unabated Vigor | Deuteronomy Series
We've found ourselves at the end of the series! Following the story of the Israelites can be exhausting, quite frankly. They've gone through so much, have been obedient at times, questioning at times, rebellious at times, repentant at times, and joyful at times. Such a wide range of circumstances and emotions! It's been quite the rollercoaster. One of the main things I couldn't help but think as I got toward the end of the book was "Moses has GOT to be exhausted. He must be sick. and. tired. I certainly would've had enough of these people by now. Imagine LEADING them?!"
And on top of it all, we find out that, due to his own disobedience (32:48-52), Moses doesn't even get to go into the Promised Land! Man, what I thing to hear, to be told that he would see the Promised Land but not be able to enter into it. I couldn't help but think gosh, he can't catch a break. The book finishes up with chapter 34 and tells of the death of Moses:
Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. // Deuteronomy 34:1-7a
I had a little bit of trouble with this as I read. Sure, the people of Israel were disobedient and had their own fair share of consequences. Heck, a whole generation died off during their 40 years in the wilderness, so those people weren't allowed to see the Promised Land either. But Moses? After all he'd been through? Why did he only get to see it from a distance? Can it even be said that he finished well if he didn't even get to go in?
How about you? Are you asking these questions about anything in your life?
As I thought about it and read the words of this scenario, I imagined Moses sitting on top of this mountain, now at the end of his life, taking in the view. Although he didn't get to go in because there was a consequence of his sin, how kind of God to allow him to see the land that was promised to his people years + years before? That in itself is such a privilege! I wonder what was going through his mind.
It can seem unfair or sad, but Moses finished well.
It was probably a great relief to come to rest on the top of the mountain after such a long + trying journey (with a bunch of stubborn people), + finally be able to enter into the Lord's presence, which would ultimately be better than the Promised Land! He did run the race well, and the days allotted for him now came to an end. Was he exhausted? Did he feel that this was unfair? I assume he was ready to be done with it all and just be with the Lord, quite honestly. But then I read the very next sentence:
"His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated."
The word "unabated" means "without any reduction in intensity or strength". Wow, this stopped my curiosity about whether or not Moses was ready to throw in the towel. I'm sure he was ready to be with the Lord and finish his race, but his eye being undimmed implies to me that he didn't lose sight of the mission he was on and the role that he had. The fact that his strength didn't waver implies such a steadfastness that leaves no room for a bitter heart due to all of the hard circumstances.
This is how I want to lead. This is how I want to approach hard things. Untouched by a tainted outlook. Eyes on the prize and on the Lord till the very end. As I'm writing this, I flipped to Hebrews 11 to refresh myself on what the "Hall of Faith" chapter had to say about him.
"He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward." - Hebrews 11:26
Perspective in check. Eyes on the prize. Moses wasn't a perfect leader, and there was a lot of hard stuff that happened - a lot of baggage to carry (likely literally and figuratively) for a role that big. But he finished well, looking to the Lord, always reminding himself and the people he led of what was truth about the Lord their God. And God in His kindness allowed Moses to get a look at the land He promised Abraham many years before, and then took Moses Home. I love what the last bit of chapter 34 says about him. A sort of eulogy, if you will:
And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like moses, whom the lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all israel. - Deut. 34:10-12
Sure he did a lot of cool stuff. He got to witness so many miracles happen and got to be the one to lead an entire people group into freedom. But the Lord also knew him face to face. He walked with Jesus intimately. He walked by faith. And I'd say that's what success looks like.
Look to Jesus.
Remember that we are just like this people group, wayward and forgetful.
Remember that God is leading you, just as He did with them, and He knows the bigger picture.
Remember that He is good. His commands for you are for your provision + protection.
Remember to be careful to lock away these commands in your heart. Hold fast to them because obedience leads to life and blessing.
Remember that even as things seem near impossible, just trust and obey. God is bigger than the things in front of you. Remember who He is.
Remember that He has given you all that you need in order to follow Him closely. You are capable in Him.
experience his goodness. sing his grace.
Thank you for coming along on this journey through the Deuteronomy series. I so enjoyed processing through these things myself and sharing pieces of my heart with you. My hope is that you would love the Lord more and be curious about His Word, fall in love with it, and have a new excitement to discover the unique purposes that He has for your life. ♡ Don't hesitate to drop a note on the contact page or come say hi on instagram. Much love - xo