July 18, 2020

Death in the Desert

Numbers 20:1, 12, 22-29

“Aaron will be gathered to his people.”

—  Numbers 20:24

People often say there are two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. This passage doesn’t say anything about ­taxes, but it talks a lot about death. Sometimes that may seem morbid, but all of us need to recognize the reality of death.

Death confronted three people in this passage. Moses’ sister Miriam and his brother Aaron both died. And Moses’ death was announced. Miriam’s death was ordinary, while Aaron and Moses’ deaths were connected to their failure to listen to God’s commands.

Death is a common yet painful part of life in the wilderness. Before any of us reach heaven, we are going to die—unless Jesus returns first. Death kills, and for those of us who lose a loved one to death it stings painfully; it’s not something we get over in a short time. We were created to live, not die.

When we are faced with death, though, we must not grieve as people without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We are reminded here that death does not have the last word. God said that Aaron would be gathered to his people. This is not just a way of making death sound nice; it’s a statement that Aaron still belonged to God’s people.

So it is with us. We have a ­resurrected Savior. If we are in Christ, we know that death cannot separate us from his love, and our souls will go to be with him.

Lord Jesus, you have defeated death for us. Comfort all who are hurting and grieving today, and help us to trust in you. Amen.

About the author — Tom Groelsema

Tom Groelsema and his wife, Sheri, have served churches in Minnesota, Michigan, and North Carolina. They have four children and three granddaughters.

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