Wednesday, June 10, 2015

because of YOU!!

“These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness...”.and that’s how the book of Deuteronomy begins. Moses spends a lot of time reminding them about how many times they rejected the Lord -- exposing their grumblings, pettiness, selfishness and disbelief—and reminding them of each time God helped them. It is painful to read, but, they needed to hear it. It was the end of their journey, they were about to enter the land that the Lord had promised them and actually GAVE them. They had traveled a long way, lost all of their loved ones in the process and Moses, their leader, was about to die. It was time for him to go and them to journey on without him.

I have always been in awe of the relationship Moses had with God. ..God talked to Moses as if to a friend. I can’t imagine it. So, the words that Moses spoke toward the end of the third chapter is kinda...well...odd to me.. especially because Moses knew God...really well.

 “Then I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying: ‘O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’ “But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter.”  Deut 3:23-26.

That phrase: “because of you” is really strange to me. I get that Moses had suffered with them, for them and had walked each step of the way in the dessert wondering...camping....waiting...wondering. Moses knew they had him to thank for their lives; He had saved them from the wrath of God...a couple of times. But, it is strange to me that Moses, of all people, blames the people of Israel for his sin. What is most odd about this to me is that God had already passed judgment on this issue (see Numbers 20:12). God was very clear as to why Moses was barred from entering the land- He didn’t trust God and didn’t honor God’s command. Basically, he disobeyed and let his ego get in the way.

But, isn’t it interesting in the passage above that Moses tries to flatter God- reminding Him of His mighty power- and asks Him to change His mind. I couldn’t help but recall all of the conversations that Moses and God had before this in which the Lord gave His word; gave His command and all of the times that the Lord stood by it, never wavering. That’s not a shocker. What, I am really stunned by is that Moses new that and still asked...that Moses knew God and tried blamed someone else for his sin... telling God that it was THEIR fault...THEY had made him do it....It was because THEY would not listen to him that he HAD to strike the rock....right?...yeah...wrong. Moses was a great man; a man of God, but the reason he wasn’t allowed into the land that the Lord had promised was his own one else’s...and no one else is to blame. It is a lonely idea, isn’t it? ---All alone in one’s sin? 

 These are a few small verses tucked away in a long book, but the application to us is obvious isn’t it? Can someone else MAKE us sin no matter how frustrating, ungrateful, grumbling and complaining they are? Will God accept us blaming someone else for our actions?....He didn’t accept it from Moses, the one He trusted to lead His chosen people- in fact, He told him to stop it!.... and I know He isn’t going to accept my excuse either- I too must stand all alone and accept it..... no matter how many excuses I want to offer....I must accept that isn’t because of YOU!

~Tracy Frederick

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