So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.
The honourable character here given to Moses is equal to that of angels, the highest order of creatures. As a servant he was faithful in all the house of God (Hebrews 3:5). Having been faithful to the death, he went to receive the crown of life. The memory of the just is blessed.
I. HOW THE WILL OF GOD IS CONCERNED IN OUR DEATH.
1. The general sentence of mortality is fixed by God (Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Hebrews 9:27). It is the common lot of all men.
2. Death receives its peculiar commission from God. It cannot strike but by His order or permission. Life and death are in His hand.
3. The time is fixed by His will. All the care and skill of man cannot prolong life for a moment.
4. The place where is fixed by His will. Some die by sea, others on land; everyone in his place according to the will of God.
5. The means of death, natural, violent, or casual, are all under His direction. What appears chance or accident to us is all certain and determined with Him.
6. The manner and circumstances of our death are all determined by the will of God. Some are taken away suddenly, and by surprise, others slowly and by degrees; some with strong pain, others with great ease.
II. WHAT SORT OF OBEDIENCE WE OUGHT TO YIELD TO THE WILL OF GOD IN DYING.
1. There are many things not inconsistent with this obedience to the will of God.
(1) Everyone's life is a charge committed by God to him, and he must account for his care in preserving it. Therefore he is bound by all lawful means to cherish and support it.
(2) Conditional requests for sparing mercy are not inconsistent with obedience to the will of God (Luke 22:42; Psalm 39:13).
(3) A due care in settling our worldly affairs before we die is consistent with our obedience to the will of God in taking us away. It was the command of God Himself to Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:1).
(4) A zealous pursuit of religious concerns to the last well consists with our obedience to the will of God in dying.
(5) The strugglings of nature against the bitterness of death may consist with our obedience in dying.
2. Having seen what is not inconsistent with the obedience here exemplified, let us next consider what it implies —
(1) A quiet expecting and waiting for God's call. The circumstances of a person's life may be so tormenting that he would be glad to find the grave and seek refuge in death. Here God cuts out work for patience, and this being the last trial patience may here find its perfect work.
(2) An humble bearing of God's fatherly displeasure, if there should be any tokens of it upon us in our death.
(3) A final farewell to the world, and particularly to those things that render a stay in it most desirable.
(4) A quitting this mortal flesh in hopes of a happy resurrection.
(5) A willing surrender of our soul into His hands from whom it originally came.
(6) An awful and serious preparation to give an account of ourselves unto God.
(7) A thankful entertainment Of our dismission from the body as a real privilege.
(8) A vigorous exercise of faith with respect to an unseen state, when God is leading us on to it (Hebrews 11:8).
III. WHY WE OUGHT TO YIELD THE OBEDIENCE THAT HAS BEEN EXPLAINED.
1. God is our supreme and absolute Lord, who hath an indisputable right to our obedience, and we hold our life by no other tenure but His will.
2. Consider we are His servants, and contradict our own profession if we die not according to His will.
3. Consider the example that our Lord hath given us in this. Should a believer in Christ be backward to follow Him, or seek another road to heaven than that which He hath taken?
4. Another reason why we should yield obedience to the will of God in dying is, that God's time is the fittest and best.
5. This is the finishing act of our obedience to God in this world; it is but holding out a little longer, and then our work goes with us, and our reward is before us (Revelation 14:13).
6. Dying with resignation to the good will of God will have the greatest influence on those we leave behind us.
7. This is an act of obedience from which the chiefest favourites of heaven are not exempted. Abraham is dead. Moses and the prophets are dead. We are not better than our fathers who are dead.APPLICATION —
1. If it be our duty to be obedient even unto death, how much more to submit to all those evils that precede it!
2. If dying according to the will of God is so necessary an act of obedience, it is an act of great goodness in God to spare us; to allow time to prepare those who are not ready.
3. Here we may see that they finish a good life with an honourable death who die in obedience to the will of God, and leave a grateful remembrance behind them. Let us then be exhorted —
(1) To make death familiar to our minds by frequent forethought.
(2) To look upon all the enjoyments of life with a holy indifference, and respect them no further than as mere conveniences appointed by God to help us on in our work and way to a better world.
(3) To live upon the death of Christ as the only foundation of our hope.
Parallel VersesKJV: So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.