And the LORD spoke to Moses that selfsame day, saying,…
In Moses, Faith had achieved one of her most signal triumphs. From early youth to latest manhood, he had acted and "endured as seeing him who is invisible." No earthly or visible honor had ever enchanted his vision. He had lived very simply "in his Great Taskmaster's eye." Therefore it was that he submitted to be deprived of the earthly Canaan without a murmur, "for he looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker was God." To him death was but a darksome passage to an enduring home.
I. THE GODLY MAN DIES AT GOD'S COMMAND. In this respect, Moses was a type of Christ, and has left us an example deserving our imitation. It should be enough for us to know that God requires it. It is no accident - no unforeseen event. Every circumstance touching the believer's death is wisely arranged by God. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Our Elder Brother has passed the dark valley before us, and his presence lights up the once gloomy way. "I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." At the girdle of our Captain hang "the keys of death and of Hades." "He opens, and no man shuts." To the genuine disciple death is no terror. "It is my Father's voice I hear. I see his beckoning hand. I feel his sustaining arm." "Death is swallowed up in victory."
II. THE GODLY MAN'S DEATH IS PARTLY JUDICIAL, PARTLY MERCIFUL. To the full-grown and ripe Christian, earth has little attraction. Its joys pall upon the taste. We aspire after nobler and better things. "I would not live always." A time comes in the good man's history when he wishes the probation to close, and the real life to begin. The heir longs for his majority and for the ancestral heritage. The believer dies because death is the most convenient portal by which he can enter heaven. Yet judgment is mingled with the mercy. Moses was on the tiptoe of earthly expectancy - on the threshold of a great success, when God required him to relinquish all for heaven. To him it was revealed, in clearest form, that earlier sin required this late correction. For Israel's sake, for the world's sake, and for Moses' sake, his trespass must bear fruitage in loss and sorrow. In the very nature of things, it is impossible that men can sin without privation of some kind. We may flatter ourselves, at times, that God has winked at our folly, and that no ill consequence has ensued. But judge not prematurely. Possibly, in our last hours of life, the remembrance of that sin will rob us of our peace, will impose some serious loss. In the moral realm, "whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap."
III. THE GODLY MAN DEPARTS THIS LIFE FROM THE MOUNTAIN-PEAKS OF PERSONAL ATTAINMENT. There were solid reasons in the Divine mind (partly hidden and partly revealed) why Moses should die upon the mount. He might have viewed the magnificent prospects, and then have descended to die. But mountains have often been selected by God as the scene of grand events. On the summit of a mountain we are inspired with a sense of awe. We take in the sense of the infinite. We are constrained to worship. Thence we are already half disposed to mount and soar to heaven. This is suggestive. When through much active energy of faith we have climbed the heights of practical holiness, we feel that the work of life is done. We have finished our course. There has been steady advancement thus far, and now, what next? We feel that the world is beneath our feet; and from this pinnacle of moral elevation we wait the revelation of the future, we prepare for the strange transition. From such an elevation of faith, too, we clearly discern the scene of the Church's future conquests. The past is a light which irradiates the prospective triumphs of truth and holiness. "Much land remains to be possessed;" but the assurance of success is absolute. Already the foes of God are at our feet. "He must reign."
IV. THE GODLY MAN'S DEPARTURE IS NOT TO SOLITUDE, BUT TO SOCIETY. "Thou shalt be gathered unto thy people." Whatever thoughts, or hopes, or fears this language of God suggested to Moses' mind, it suggests to our minds one of the charms of heaven. We love to think of it as a home. Next to the ecstasy which God's presence shall inspire, is the rapture of reunion with departed friends. "In my Father's house are many mansions." No question need distress us touching mutual recognition. Moses and Elijah were recognized as such when they came down in glorified state, and conversed with Jesus on the mount. Not a faculty shall be wanting there which we possessed here. "Then shall we know, even as also we are known." If men from distant climes shall "sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God," one main element of honor and of joy would be missed unless these illustrious patriarchs were known. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,