Summary: God did not allow Moses to lead his people into the Promised Land because of the sin of disrespect of God. Many people allow sin in their life to restrict them from God’s promises of blessing.
How would you like to be remembered? Chances are, one of these days, unless the Lord returns soon, someone will have the task to write an obituary for you.
In a seminary class, on "Pastoral Care of Grieving Persons," Dr. Dickens instructed us to write our own obituaries. What would you say about yourself? Probably more importantly, what would others say about you?
In our text for this morning we have Moses obituary. Moses was important enough that others have written about him. As a matter of fact, he is one of the central figures in the history of Jews. But in this very simple passage, we have recorded for us the death of Moses.
But there are some statements in this obituary that are troubling. At the end of verse 6 it says that, "... no man knows his burial place to this day." Does that bother you? Here is perhaps the greatest Hebrew statesman of all time. His contribution to his people is unparalleled in history. He is the singular most significant participant in their history and no man knows his burial place.
I don’t know about you, but I find that rather odd.
Even our most insignificant historical figures are immortalized concerning their birthplace. Oftentimes we name parks and lakes and other significant places after the men and women of the past. I have been to "Jim Hogg Park" in Rusk, Texas, named after a former governor of Texas, and probably better remembered for naming his two daughters... "Ima and Ura."
We don’t obscure the significant people who shape our nation. Yet here is Moses, buried in a place so solitarily obscured for all time. The burial place of other great Hebrews is known and mentioned throughout the Bible. People continued to return to the burial places of people like Jacob and Joseph, and ultimately rendered these places somewhat holy.
But not Moses. Let’s consider another statement in this passage of Scripture that may shed some light.
Did you notice something as I read vs. 4? That verse ends with the statement: "...This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ’I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there."
That is as troubling as the fact that he was buried in anonymity. This is the same Moses who led the children of Israel out of Egypt. He is the same one who led them in the wilderness for forty years. He is the one who went up on the mountain and received the Ten Commandments from Almighty God. He is the one who later would be compared to Christ, according to the book of Hebrews, and he was considered by the Jewish Christians to be slightly lower than Jesus Christ Himself.
Why would he not be allowed to go into the Promised Land? After all, isn’t that what God called Him to do? Exodus 3:10 says, "Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt." The Lord said, "I am going to bring My chosen people out of bondage, and bring them into a land of promise, the same land that I promised their forefather, Abraham. A land flowing with milk and honey. And Moses, you are going to be the guy that leads them."
What happened? Why is Moses on this mountain on the east side of the Jordan River, looking at the promised land, and dying on this mountain. He’s on the east side of the Jordan River. The Promised Land is on the west side of the Jordan river.
What was his crime? Oh, I remember. He was the one who saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave and killed him. That must be what was so horrible. Certainly, the crime of murder must surely be one of the most heinous crimes in the eyes of the Almighty. After all, God created people in His own image. In the image of God created He them. That makes sense. Moses committed murder and because of that,
God is not going to let him go into the Promised Land.
Man, that’s tough. But if that was the reason, why did God call him to lead the children out of bondage at all. After all, God didn’t call Moses until forty years after he murdered the Egyptian? Why would God call a murderer, to do something that would cause him to be one of the most renowned figures in Hebrew history, a man compared to the very Son of God in the Scriptures?
Surely, Moses was not called after the act of murder and then allowed to lead the children of Israel for over forty years and then not be allowed to see the fruits of his labor fulfilled. Can’t you imagine how much Moses must have looked forward to seeing that land that he had heard about all of his life.