|Moses on Mt. Nebo by Thomas Nast|
TO CHEW ON: "Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished." Deuteronomy 34:7
There is an unofficial rule in our society that after a certain age it's time for the shelf. Obviously God and Moses didn't get that memo. Moses would have made a fascinating study for our gerontologists.
At 40 years of age, when we would consider him in his prime, Moses' self-generated plans to realize what he may have thought of as his life purpose (freeing his countrymen from slavery), failed miserably. As a wanted murderer, he had to flee Egypt - Acts 7:22-29.
For 40 years he lived the life of a nobody. He married, he and his wife had kids, but in our estimation he was pretty much a failure with no land, no flock of his own, living with and working for his father-in-law (Exodus 2:16-23; 3:1).
Then at 80 God met him at that burning bush and gave him back his dream. Only now he didn't want it. After a lot of arm-twisting Moses decided to cooperate with God's destiny for him.
The books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy tell the story of Moses' next 40 years (from 80-120 years old). They are an incredible tale of leadership as Moses faced the resistance of Pharaoh, getting a multitude of thousands out of Egypt and through the wilderness, rebellion within the ranks, physical testing and hardship, victory and disappointment…
We meet him in today's reading at 120 years—no glasses, hearing aids, false teeth or walker needed. He's still physically acute and fit and wanting more, though God had said no (Deuteronomy 3:23-29). So he's saying goodbye to this life on a high note, both physically and spiritually.
I take from Moses' life some encouragement for our own lives:
- God isn't boxed into our norms and expectations. If he has a job for us to do, age isn't a hindrance.
- Zest for life can extend into old age. I love Moses' description of his rekindled desire to live on and how he begs God to be able to finish job of leading the Israelites into the promised land (Deuteronomy 3:23-25).
- When it's our time to go, God will take us. (Or we could turn that around and say, God won't take us until it's our time to go.) For Moses it wasn't even a matter of being sick or wearing out. It was simply his time and that was it. But he lived fully right to the end. May we be so blessed!
PRAYER: Dear God, May I live fully and usefully till my last breath, like Moses did. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.