May 17: Face to Face

Read Deuteronomy 34

Since then no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face (v10) . . .

One hundred and twenty years old. That’s how old Moses was when he died somewhere on the mountain. How old he was when he climbed with God to see the place He would take the next generation, the people of His promise. He was old, but not too old old to look over the land God had promised. Not too old to see the Promise that God’s children were about to receive.

He’d been leading Israel for all of 40 years. Leading them as they wandered. I wonder if Moses ever thought about the irony in that. He led the nation of Israel out of captivity and straight through 40 years of desert-meandering. I wonder if he ever pondered the craziness of it. I do not know Moses’ thoughts as he neared the end of his life, but I can tell you this for certain: Moses knew God like no man ever had. Yes, he knew the LORD God face to face.

I read that and and have to think how amazing it is that, although he had disobeyed God in such a way as to be dealt the consequence of not entering the Promised Land, God still counted this man a best friend. He had called Moses to follow Him, to lead His children to do the same. And, oh how Moses had followed. He followed God and led the people straight through the stress and the complaining. Forty years, he endured their wandering hearts even as they wandered the desert. And still, Moses’ leadership had given them the Law, God’s own instruction manual on how they should live, how they could be blessed, how they could survive. Yes, God kept Moses from entering the Promised Land, but still, he allowed him the abundant blessing of knowing Him face to face.

God could have let Moses die without seeing it. He could have left him unaware of the vastness of the Promise He had given. Or He could have just told him about it. But He chose, instead, to show him the whole land. He pointed it out instead. And then Moses was ready to die.

Alone with God, Moses the leader of the children of Israel, passed on from this life and left Joshua in charge. He led them through the wandering as He followed closely behind God. It’s the only way to lead, really, in direct communion with the God of Life, deeply rooted in the true Vine. It was true for Moses. And it’s true of us.