“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’ And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, while the mountain burned with fire to the heart of heaven, wrapped in darkness, cloud, and gloom. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and rules, that you might do them in the land that you are going over to possess.” Deuteronomy 4:9-14.
God does not intervene miraculously without a man to represents Him. He has given man authority to rule the earth, and this has never been rescinded. God added the curse after the fall, and the devil gained entrance to the world through man, who lets him in. For this reason, we are to maintain God’s order through faith in His promises, and to teach them to future generations. If we don’t, and just let them grow up believing whatever they want, the devil will fill that hole we have left.
Parents who neglect their children’s spiritual welfare are leaving them vulnerable. Somebody is going to disciple them into something: paganism, hedonism, materialism, atheism, and much more lie at the door of your child’s soul, and desire to have him. Will you leave him or her empty?
“And I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying, ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’ So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor.
Being the savior of your people is a tough gig. You have to be perfect. This is God’s perspective on Moses. He is not just a man. He is an archetype. He is a foreshadowing of Jesus, the sinless son of God. When he disobeyed God in that small matter of striking the rock, it was an act of disobedience that disqualified him from being that I’m age of Christ.
From Moses’perspective, it seems harsh. Moses even blames it on the people. “But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me.” But God is holy, and sin has it’s consequences. Of course, Moses will still be a revered patriarch. He will one day meet with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. But he falls short of the glory of God, like the rest of us. We all get bitten on the backside by some imprudent action or sin. But not Jesus, who dies as a perfect, sinless sacrifice.
So we went on, away from our brothers, the people of Esau, who live in Seir, away from the Arabah road from Elath and Ezion-geber.
“And we turned and went in the direction of the wilderness of Moab. And the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.’ (The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim. Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim. The Horites also lived in Seir formerly, but the people of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, as Israel did to the land of their possession, which the Lord gave to them.) Deuteronomy 2:8-12.
This retelling of history to the Obedient Generation fills in some interesting details. For one, the Moabites were not on the original list to be destroyed. They only got in trouble when they led the children of Israel into idolatry and debauchery. Also, Lot, the ancestor of Moab, was given this land to displace the mysterious race of giants that go by different names. They are the hybrid creatures that came about when fallen angels bred with humans.
Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to explain this law, saying, “The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.’” Deuteronomy 1:5-8.
The scriptures are not just a story or a series of assigned readings. Once we have read it, we haven’t finished a task and can move on. It must be heard and read again and again to remind us of the majesty of God. Otherwise, we rely on the material world for our wisdom, and begin to believe we are our own gods.
God is eternal and transcendent, and has a totally different perspective than we do. He knows the end from the beginning, and we can partake of His divine nature through faith in Him. This is why we study and savor His word over and over again. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
And Moses commanded the people of Israel according to the word of the Lord, saying, “The tribe of the people of Joseph is right. This is what the Lord commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: ‘Let them marry whom they think best, only they shall marry within the clan of the tribe of their father. The inheritance of the people of Israel shall not be transferred from one tribe to another, for every one of the people of Israel shall hold on to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. And every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the people of Israel shall be wife to one of the clan of the tribe of her father, so that every one of the people of Israel may possess the inheritance of his fathers. So no inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another, for each of the tribes of the people of Israel shall hold on to its own inheritance.’”
A few chapters ago the daughters of Zelophehad, complained to Moses that since they had no brothers, their father’s inheritance should pass to them, not around them to their uncles. Yay, equality! But now a woman with a land inheritance must marry within her tribe, so the land given to each tribe stays with the tribe. The right of the tribe supercedes the right of the individual.
Possessions, and our attachment to them, actually limits our freedom. Our loyalty to our careers, our ambitions, and our rewards often overrule our desire to please God and obey Him, provided you actually love Him. If you believe it’s a no brainer to follow the money, and let God have the crumbs you throw His way, you are actually a slave to the things you really love. And that is idolatry.