And I sought the LORD at that time, saying,…
There are many things in a man's life which he desires; but these may come and go, and yet leave the real life of the man little touched. But there are few men who have not had once and again in their life, certainly once at least, some great object on which they set their whole heart — some vision that towered over all others, as Lebanon now did to the eye of Moses — some ideal, some supreme good, that kindled their brightest and most impassioned hours.
I. WHAT GOD REFUSES TO GRANT. Take a man who has set his heart on some plan of life. It may have been one of ambition. He has worn himself out to attain it. Every line of his life converges to it; but at length comes his Waterloo, and he is dethroned for ever. It may be some creation of learning or genius. He has brooded over it in chaos, he has gathered slowly all the materials, he is about at last to shape them by the skill and vivify them with the light of the soul within him; but the fire grows dim, and at last dies out, and the great design and the yearning desire stand apart for ever. It is unachieved, and he carries the broken plan to the grave with him; he himself is cut down, while the harvest of his life is left to waste ungathered in the darkening fields. Or it may be some post of honour and influence. But when the time comes to seize it another steps in, and you are left empty handed. Then, too, there are higher visions — visions of the moral and spiritual order — left unfulfilled. Who has not felt times, say, of conversion, when there rose upon the soul the sweet Divine dawn of Christ's salvation, trembling over its calmed waves and revealing transcendent worlds of beauty; or of revival, when at a new turn on the road some heavenly vision met us and blessed us with "a joy unspeakable and full of glory"; or of comfort, when hope sprung immortal out of some dark grave beside which we sat crushed and alone; or of a strange strength front on high, when we had almost altogether perished? Such seasons have been; but see how some failing to pass over the temptation that crossed unexpectedly our path, some mean passion laying its arrest on our onward march, some looking away from the great Lebanons of nearness to God, and fellowship with the very death and resurrection of Christ, kept us from our last crowning step; and the supreme attainment of our lives was, on this side the grave at least, lost for a while, it may be for ever.
II. WHY GOD REFUSED TO GRANT THE PRAYER OF MOSES.
1. The sin of Moses.
2. It was the last stroke of God's chisel that Moses needed to clear away his last infirmity.
3. It lifted Moses to a nobler elevation of character — more unselfish, more Divine.
4. It was an opportunity such as Moses never had before of honouring God, in the midst of disappointment, before all.
IV. WHAT, BECAUSE OF REFUSAL, GOD THE MORE GRANTS.
1. A larger outpouring of grace into the heart of Moses. Grace of forgiveness, grace of restored joy of God's salvation, grace of broken bones rejoicing, grace of fresh communion.
2. The speedier crossing the Jordan of death into the life everlasting.
(Prof. W. Graham, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,