Read Deuteronomy 31:1-29
I imagine the emotion was thick that day at the Tent.
I picture Joshua and Moses stepping up, ready for God to officially hand the reigns of leadership over from the one to the other. I’m guessing both felt some measure of extreme thrill and wonderment mixed with the tiniest bit of angst and maybe even dread.
The moment they had been awaiting, the very purpose for which they had left Egypt those 40 years earlier, was drawing ever-so-near, and God was making the instructions clearer by the minute. The time had finally come for God to commission Moses’ predecessor and make him ready to lead His children into the land for which they had been waiting.
The emotions must have been especially extreme for Moses. I mean, he’d been with these people for the last 40 years. He had led them through the wandering, continually pointing them back to the One who had rescued them from their slave-ridden existence in Egypt. As sad as he must have been to not get to enter the Promised Land himself, I’ll bet he was still pretty darn excited for his people. He might not get to live there, but those he led for all those years would finally arrive at the destination for which they had longed way back at the beginning, before the Red Sea parted.
So when God revealed the news that His people, Moses’ flock of followers, would soon forsake the One who had led them all along, I imagine Moses felt like he’d just been kicked in the gut.
He would be dead soon, and these people, his people, whom he had led and loved, would just as soon forget his faithful leadership. In a short time, they would forsake the very God to whom Moses had been pointing them. The One whose promise they’d been chasing.
I can only imagine the betrayal Moses felt when God told him. I wonder if he felt like his life’s work had just gone to pot.
Here’s the thing, though: when God told Moses about the Israelites’ soon-to-come forsaking, Moses did what God asked anyway. You see, Moses’ success didn’t depend on what the people did with the Word of God. It depended on what he did with it.
The same goes for us. No matter what job God has given us in His Kingdom, whether it be teaching two-year-olds the truth of Jesus Christ or delivering bagged lunches to an elementary school, our call is to do what He asks. Our success does not depend on the responses of those two-year-olds or on how those children receive the truth of God’s grace. What matters is how we respond.