The Lord Exalted: Deuteronomy 33:27-34:12

Deuteronomy 33:27‑34:12  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Deuteronomy 33:27-34:1227The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. 28Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. 29Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places. 1And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 2And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. 5So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. 7And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. 8And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended. 9And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses. 10And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, 12And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses showed in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 33:27‑34:12)
What marvelous words, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” We may feel very low at times, as indeed we often have, but we can never get lower than those everlasting arms which are always underneath. When as a nation Israel comes to realize this and turns to the Lord, then the promised blessings will come upon them in all their fullness in that millennial day. Their land will then yield its increase, and the heavens will drop down dew. Then it will truly be said, as it is prophesied here, “Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord.” All will be fulfilled according to God’s faithful promise, founded upon the work of Christ on Calvary.
Moses Views the Land
After telling of these blessings, Moses then went up to the top of Mt. Nebo at the command of God and viewed the land. As we have noticed before, he could not enter the land, for he had failed to maintain the glory of the Lord before the people, thinking instead of his own position. When we become weary and angry because of the failure of the people of God, we place ourselves above them, when we are not really above them at all. In fact, we only find fault in order to shelter ourselves from the evil we cannot rise above, for if we were really above it, according to God, we would never weary, but seek the blessing of His people according to His mind. This honors and exalts the Lord, who will ever maintain His own glory — by us if we are faithful, or in spite of us if we are not.
The Death of Moses
Moses did not have any ordinary funeral, for he was the only man of whom we read in Scripture that was buried by the Lord. Perhaps the people would have made a great deal of his sepulcher had they known where it was, but the Lord did not allow them to find out, preventing this snare.
It is surely strange how men — even true Christians — will often resist the truth of God ministered by His servants, but when they are gone they will make a great deal of them. How our hearts are always prone to exalt man, but God would teach us to exalt Christ alone! If the truth of God is ministered, let us rejoice, esteeming the servant highly in love for his work’s sake (1 Thessalonians 5:13), but let us not give to any man, either living or having gone before, the place which belongs alone to Christ. Moses was the greatest prophet whom God ever raised up in Israel, but the time came when his service was ended, and then the Lord raised up Joshua in his place. There is only One who never failed, and who lives for evermore above. May we ever look to Him, and to Him alone!
“Jesus, Thou alone art worthy,
Ceaseless praises to receive.”
It is precious at the close of this interesting book to look back and trace the pleadings of the Lord with His people, and how often He exhorted them to walk in His ways. Even though He knew of their weakness and of the sad failure that would mark their history as a nation, He spoke often of their future blessing, which He in His faithfulness would bring in. May we who read these things be stirred up to walk more devotedly for the Lord, always counting upon His unchanging grace and love!
Further Meditations
1. Why might the Lord have buried Moses Himself?
2. Moses did enter the land of Israel but only after his death. When did he do it and what does the incident tell us about God and His faithfulness.
3. There’s an encouraging booklet on the burial of Moses by J. G. Bellett entitled God Exceeds His Promises.