The quiet darkness of the mountain around him settled into his bones. Though still strong and hardy, he felt the vitality of him leak out like air through a tiny pinhole. He could see down into the valley and into the land. Little points of light dotted the landscape as the tribes moved forward. Like a runner whose heart was set on the finishing line, he yearned to charge down the mountainside and lead them on like he had done for so many years before.
Instead, he turned back to his own small campfire and eased his frame down in resignation. He stared at the flame for some time, thinking over the years as recollections passed through his weary mind.
To be so close..
His heart broke to be withheld from the final victory and to see another lead on in his place, but even more he was anguished at the cause of the judgment. He had forgotten why he was here. Years of grumbling and arguing from the Israelites about the difficulties and silence from them about the miracles, made him want to use his staff to beat them all. Couldn't they see how Yahweh had provided for them? But instead, he took out his anger on the rock that Yahweh had instructed him to speak to and bring forth water.
Because he had walked so long with his Lord, he instantly knew what he had done. The trouble wasn't so much with his disobedience or his anger, Moses knew that it was as the Lord said. In that moment, he had exchanged God's glory for his own self satisfaction. Murdering a man had not disqualified him from leading the Israelites out of bondage, but not honoring God as holy kept him out of the Promised Land.
But, as his heart fluttered its last, there alone on the mountain, his God showed him the plan of redemption. Moses would be drawn to his Lord in an eternal embrace and only missed out on the terrestrial Land of Milk and Honey. But, his final act, his final opportunity to shine light on his God, was to be the ultimate example of why the law cannot save us.
Moses epitomized the Law. He was its poster child, its mascot even. The Jews would later taunt Jesus with their knowledge of Moses and his commands. But, the ones who recognized that even Moses could not keep the very law that he brought down from the mountain, also understood that he only pointed the way. They understood that God's Shekinah glory rested on Jesus, the only one able to make us right in God's sight. No amount of good would ever be good enough, especially when the heart of mankind trades God's glory for his own in a thousand little and big ways every day.
Moses, because he understood this more than anyone, surrendered himself to the hand of His God; a willing example, an arrow, a road marker showing others the way. He wanted more than anything to honor His God and his final act was more important to him than his own success, his own agenda or his own triumph.
It may appear that Moses' final act was a resounding failure, falling so short when he was so close. In truth, it was his biggest success, showing that Moses is not the way, nor is his law. Humanity at its best couldn't touch glory without a way being made.
Jesus, oh precious Jesus, Lead us into the way everlasting. Keep us in close relationship with you. We trust that Your glory alone is all that matters and by it we are healed.
Please read Numbers 20:1-13 and Deuteronomy 32:48-52 and explore for yourself how seriously we are to take God's Glory and how Moses ultimately pointed the way through his failure more than through success.
Tracy lives in Hawaii with Richard, her husband of 25 years. She has 2 daughters and 2 grandsons. Writing ministry came after homeschooling her girls and a career in real estate management. Read her blog at: http://tracynunes.blogspot.com and find out why she is a self-described "Mess for Jesus."