And I sought the LORD at that time, saying,…
I. IN REGARD TO THE PRAYER ITSELF, it may be remarked —
1. That the desire it expressed was a very natural one. He had been looking forward, it may be, to years of honourable service and rich enjoyment, and he might mourn in the cutting off of his days, that he was to go to the gates of the grave, and say, as Hezekiah did under like prospects, in the sadness of his heart, "I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord in the land of the living. I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world."
2. The desire expressed was a benevolent one. It was dictated by his regard to the welfare of the people. It was a desire that he might be spared to assist in effecting their settlement in the land of Canaan, and in establishing such order as might promote their prosperity as a nation there.
3. The desire expressed may be regarded as a pious one, as having been prompted by devout affection. What he had already seen had convinced him that there is no god in heaven or in earth that could do according to His works and according to His might; but he felt that there were wonders yet to be shown in the introduction of His people into the promised land and their establishment there, which might fill his mind with increasing admiration and joy in beholding them.
II. We proceed, then, in the second place to notice SOME OF THE REASONS FOR WHICH, AS WE MAY CONCEIVE, THIS PRAYER OF MOSES WAS DENIED. These may have been such as the following —
1. To mark the Divine displeasure with a part of his conduct.
2. To convey a lesson of reproof and instruction to Israel. "The Lord was wroth with me," says Moses, "for your sakes." There was displeasure, then, with their conduct, as well as with that of Moses, manifested in his removal. And God, by taking him away, might design to tell them that they were not worthy of such a leader.
3. It was in order to satisfy in another manner, and more fully, the affections and desires which were expressed by His servant. The prospect of it showed him how worthy the land was of all that the Lord said concerning it. The reality exceeded, we may conclude, all that imagination had pictured. But there was more in the vision enjoyed than the gratification of a natural curiosity — there was what satisfied benevolent and pious affection. He saw the end of his cares and toils for the people attained, and the truth and goodness of God in His covenant with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob vindicated. And the vision with which he was favoured may have been, as it were, the seal of his own reconciliation to the God whom he had offended, who now came to take him to a more glorious recompense than if he had been spared to reign there for long years over the tribes of Israel. And may we not conceive that when he saw the good land that was beyond Jordan he knew that he saw in type and emblem the better country — that is, the heavenly, which lies beyond death's dark river. The patriarchs who before sojourned in it as in a strange land showed that it was thus regarded by them, and the same faith by which they walked dwelt in him who recorded their history.
(J. Henderson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I besought the LORD at that time, saying,