READ: Deuteronomy 34:1-4
(1-3) Moses climbed from the Plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the peak of Pisgah facing Jericho. God showed him all the land from Gilead to Dan, all Naphtali, Ephraim, and Manasseh; all Judah reaching to the Mediterranean Sea; the Negev and the plains which encircle Jericho, City of Palms, as far south as Zoar.
(4) Then and there God said to him, “This is the land I promised to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with the words ‘I will give to your descendants.’ I’ve let you see it with your own eyes. There it is. But you’re going to go in.”
THINK: This section asks us why we think God takes disobedience so seriously, as well as what some of the consequences have been in our own lives for sin.
One thing I can tell you is that I could not even begin to recount all the consequences for my sins, but I know there have been several. And the one thing I have tried to raise my kids to understand is that there are always consequences. I hesitate to use the word because it seems to carry such negative connotations, but the actual definition of the word consequence is:
“a result or effect of an action or condition”
Used this way, it’s easy to see that, regardless of whether you choose rightly or wrongly, there is always going to be an outcome. Hence, there is always going to be a consequence. It’s basic physics: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In regards to our reading today: Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because he was disobedient and struck a rock he should’ve just touched. It seems a little harsh, sure. But, God does take disobedience seriously. Why do I think this is?
The best I’ve been able to come up with goes back to the First Commandment. Exodus 20:3 tells us that we shall have no other gods before us. What we need to realize is that, what Satan was trying to accomplish in the Garden, when he tempted Eve was not what actually happened. Satan had tried to usurp God’s authority by saying that He ought to be on the throne. As a result, God created Hell and struck him and 2/3 of the host of angels who agreed with him, Lucifer, into the lake of fire. In the Garden, Lucifer/Satan took the form of a serpent and slithered his way into Eve’s thinking by – essentially – getting her to doubt God’s goodness, by leading her down a path that led her to believe that God was holding out on them. Satan was indeed right when he told Eve that once they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes would be opened and they would be “like God, knowing good and evil. So, she ate and she gave the fruit to Adam, and he ate, and immediately, their eyes were opened. At that point, they realized that they were naked. And it was at that point, that they first experienced shame. Then, they did what everyone does when they know they’ve done something wrong: they tried to hide their sin.
This is where Satan’s plan for dominion over man went sideways. Instead of seeing Satan as the person who opened their eyes, and to whom they should pay their allegiance, Adam and Eve became gods in their own eyes. And we have all been in a power struggle for our own lives ever since. We desperately want to control our own lives. So does Satan. And God wants us to come back to Him so that He can show us the way He intended our lives to be in the first place: being led by the only being that has always known everything and who always has our best interest at heart.
So…why do I think God takes disobedience so seriously? Because it directly negates the very first commandment. Our disobedience tells God we think we know better what is best for our lives than He does. Our disobedience states that WE will be the god of our lives.
PRAY: “Ask God to help you live a life of faith and obedience, the kind of life that honors him at all time.”
LIVE: “Think of Moses-like people you know–older, godly individuals living faithfully for God. Consider connecting with them and getting to know them and their stories.”
There is an old African proverb: “When an old man dies, a library burns.” There is such a wealth of knowledge inside the heads of those who have lived longer than us, that when they die, it is indeed like a library has burned to the ground, when that person dies. The elderly are so often overlooked in this country, which so prizes youth and beauty. The problem with the thinking that “new and improved” is better is that we forget our history. We have a big problem with that in this country. And a nation that forgets its past is condemned to repeat it.
Why else would God spend so much time reminding the Israelites to write His commands on their hearts and to talk about them all the time, and to share them with their children, and remember that God delivered them from evil, and to never forget. Because they did forget. Repeatedly. And time and time again, they found themselves back in the midst of oppression.
Connecting with and getting to know an older, godly individual living faithfully for God will not make our lives easier, but it will help us to get a frame of reference for the suffering we find ourselves going through. It will help us to see that nothing lasts forever, that while sorrow may last through the night, joy does come in the morning. Sometimes, that’s all we need to keep up our obedience just one day more.