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Unmet Promises

Do you like being promised something, only to have it taken away or left unfulfilled?  Of course not. But unfortunately, this is something we can all relate to at some degree.  It’s harsh, unfair, disrespectful, and leaves us feeling empty.

Moses is someone who I always pictured as possibly feeling this way. He spent the second half of his life doing his best to live in obedience to the Lord. Stepping into uncomfortable situations with all of his inadequacies, but in return getting to see first-hand the power of God at work in miraculous ways over and over. God placed Moses in a leadership position over a bunch of chronic “grumblers” and in his old age, his temper got this best of him – costing him entry to the Promised Land. I have not been in a position like Moses, but when it comes to leading my mini-human grumblers (aka my kids) at home, I’ve definitely “struck a few rocks” as I completely lost my cool. God’s discipline for Moses never sat right with me. I’ve struggled with understanding how a loving Father could send such a harsh punishment for something that seems so small in comparison to all of the huge acts of faith, dedication, and surrender from Moses up to this point?

Have you ever questioned God’s ways? Like really asked Him, “What are you doing this for?!”  You know, the questions we wrestle with again and again, like “God, how can you let this happen?” or “I thought this is what you wanted for my life. Why are you taking it away from me?” Those really tough questions that we cannot even come close to understanding. I wonder if Moses felt this way.

God’s Best

We’ve all been there and it’s perfectly acceptable for us to bring those uncertainties and struggles to Him. It’s part of “pouring our hearts out” before the Lord and it’s not always pretty. The good news is that God often has an answer ready for us in the midst of these tough questions and I saw it right here, at the very end of Moses life.

In the final chapter of the Torah, Deuteronomy 34:4-7 says this:

The Lord then said to him, “This is the land I promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you will not cross into it.”
So Moses the servant of the
Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the Lord’s word. He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab facing Beth-peor, and no one to this day knows where his grave is. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his eyes were not weak, and his vitality had not left him.

“Okay God, why does it feel like you were rubbing it in Moses’ face a little when you showed him the Promised Land but didn’t let him enter it? And then he dies??!! Help me understand!”

God’s simple response (which also happens to perfectly align with His character) is this:  Because I have something even better for you!

How is seeing the Promised Land God’s best?

I like to see it as closure to years of sacrifice and hard work. Moses was able to see the end result, the final chapter to an epic saga, that all his blood, sweat, and prayers were worth it! He could also see that his God is a promise-keeper. I imagine a dialogue from God to Moses to go like this: “This is what it was all for, Moses! Your faithfulness to me has led my people here, to fulfill a promise I made to Abraham hundreds of years ago.”

How is being led to a mountain top only to die God’s best?

Moses didn’t miss out. He actually got a fast-pass to skip the earthly Promised Land for something even better… Paradise. The waiting was over. It says the Lord was with him on top of that mountain in Moab! Moses was still in very good health at his time of death which tells me that God was just ready for Moses to come home! God’s timing was and always is perfect.

Every second of Moses’ life was accounted for. Not one was wasted. And when the time came where his earthly purposes had been fulfilled, God took him home to be with Him! It says the Lord even buried his body! What great love the Father had for his son Moses! And He has that same love for you! It’s truly unbelievable.

Don’t Lose Heart

You may be in a situation much like Moses found himself. Frustrated, confused at the circumstances, and tired of your surroundings. Here are two major take-aways I want to leave you with.

  1. Moses knew that the Lord was righteous, just and perfect in all His ways. This did not change when Moses couldn’t see what God was going to do or even when God gave him news that may have been hard to swallow at the time.
  2. God always works all things for the good of those who love Him.

Don’t lose heart! When things are jumbled and don’t seem to make sense, stick to the truth you know of who God is. Know that He sees what lies ahead and will never forget about you or leave you behind. He is working it all out to fulfill His perfect purposes for your life and His Kingdom. I can write this today in full confidence because I have experienced it over and over again in my own life. Don’t lose heart!

One final thought: If Moses would have been given the option to stay on earth to experience the Promised Land or the chance to be in the presence of his Father in Paradise, don’t you think he would have chosen to go home? That’s just what he got – to step into the greatest Promised Land of all and hear these words:

“Well done my good and faithful servant!”

Lindsey Pickrel
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