Deuteronomy 34:1a, 5a - Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land ... So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab.
One of the hardest parts of the Christian life comes when God says, "No." "No, you may not take that job." "No, you will not have a baby." "No, I will not heal you from the disease from which you are suffering." It can be heartbreaking. Who among us hasn't spent hours on our knees, begging God to change His mind?
Moses surely knew that feeling. After all, he was the one who spent 40 years of his life leading the people of Israel through the wilderness to the land God promised them. He saw to it that they had food and water, led them to their camping spots, taught them God's Commandments, settled their disputes. And he told them what God promised: "a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (see Exodus 3:8). Surely, more than anybody in Israel, Moses wanted to see the Promised Land!
But he would not see it. That was the penalty God had set for Moses' disobedience in the wilderness years before; He said, "because you broke faith with Me ... and because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel" (Deuteronomy 32:51).
Moses could have made a break for it. After all, they weren't far from the Jordan River. Surely, he could have found a way to ford that river—sneak into the land—escape without God seeing him. No, that wouldn't work. God would know.
But I doubt Moses would have tried that anyway. He loved God—the very God who was saying no to his dearest dream. Argue with God? Moses would, and did. Disobey God? No. Moses loved Him too well.
And so Moses went up that mountain and accepted the consolation prize—the chance to see what he could not enter. And there, in God's mercy, Moses died. The "no" was final.
Or was it? More than a thousand years later, Jesus climbed a different mountain in the Promised Land, where He was transfigured before His disciples. And with Him were Elijah the prophet, and yes, Moses! All those years later, Moses finally made it into the Promised Land—by Jesus' gift.
You may be facing a "No" from God right now. If so, you know the pain it causes. And no doubt you are praying, arguing, begging God to change His mind. That's all right. Moses did. But because you belong to Jesus, you know that you are still in God's love during your suffering—that you remain His child—that God can, and will, do abundantly better than we can even dream of in His own time and way. That doesn't stop the hurting. But it does give us one more reason to lean our full weight on Jesus, our Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to deal with the times You tell me "No," and to continue trusting You and Your love. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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