January 04, 2008

Lessons From History: After Moses?

Deuteronomy 3:21-29

"Commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him ..."
Deuteronomy 3:28


"Because of you," Moses complained, "the Lord was angry with me ..." Out in the desert some time earlier there had been no water, again, and the people had challenged Moses' leadership. "Why did you bring us out here where there is no food or water?" they cried.

God had then told Moses to speak to the rock in front of them, and it would gush with water. But in anger Moses had hit the rock. So God said, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me ... you will not bring this community into the land" (Numbers 20:12).

Moses had brought Israel out of Egypt, led them through the desert, spoken God's words to them, and suffered the burden of Israel's many complaints and rebellions. Now his last task would be to remind the people of what happened in the desert with the God of their salvation. Then Joshua would finish what Moses had begun forty years earlier.

Moses, Joshua, and a host of other leaders served God, but none could fully complete the work God had given them. God gave that ministry to a prophet even greater than Moses: Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2).

Let's thank God that Jesus is better than anyone at doing the will of God our heavenly Father-and that he did so for all who would call on his name.

Lord, help us to do your will, for we are burdened with our own weaknesses and sins. Give us rest, we pray, through Jesus Christ, the only one who can save us. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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