And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings…
The two conquests over Sihon and over Og had filled Moses with a sense of God's matchless power. With a warrior's instinct - for he had had a warrior's training, it is believed, in Egypt, in his youth - he saw in this first portion of the fight the assurance of a glorious invasion. He longed to be at its head, and to see the land which God had promised actually won. Will he not get complete the work he has been instrumental in beginning? He pleaded with God for it, but all he gets is a Pisgah-view; he is denied an entrance into the land.
I. IT WAS NATURAL FOR MOSES TO LONG FOR THE COMPLETION OF HIS WORK. The Exodus was his special work. All else in his life was preparatory to this. But the Exodus was to be finished in the invasion of Canaan and the settlement of the people there. Moses is now so interested in the work which he has had on hand for forty years that he is loath to leave it. So with God's servants often. They form plans, plans manifestly Divine, and they long to complete them. But God does not respond always to these very natural desires. Public work is attempted - literary work - but the sowing and the reaping are often separated. One soweth, another reapeth.
II. IT IS A GREAT PRIVILEGE TO BE ALLOWED TO ENCOURAGE THOSE COMING AFTER us. Moses is directed to encourage Joshua. This is something done towards successful invasion. An encouraged Joshua may do better than an ever-present Moses. And the privilege of encouragement is greatly prized. Joshua receives all from Moses that son could receive from father, that a leader could receive from his superior and guide (vers. 21, 22). And our successors should be encouraged by us all we can, as one of life's last and best privileges.
III. A PISGAH-VIEW IS FITTING COMPENSATION, BACKED UP AS IT WAS BY SPECIAL CARE. Moses saw the land at last, and died with God, reserved by the All-wise for an entrance into Canaan at the transfiguration of Christ. The view from Pisgah was grand, but the view on Hermon was grander. His entrance of the land with Elijah in glory was grandee than an entrance at the head of the hosts of Israel. And these views from Pisgah may still be ours if we seek the appointed mountaintop of God. He calls us to mountain-tops of prayer and meditation, and shows us wondrous glimpses of his glory and his promises. To be with him there is compensation for much disappointment.
IV. A FAITHFUL SON MAY EXPERIENCE A FATHER'S DESERVED WRATH. Moses admits that God was wroth with him, and states the reason. It is well to recognize that deserved wrath and chastisement may coexist with profound and tender love. Moses was well beloved, even though excluded from the land of promise. God gave him paradise instead of Canaan. - R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the LORD do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest.