So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.
I. CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN. Slowly he ascends the mountain, climbing alone, while the tear-dimmed eyes of Israel watch his ascent. Up! Up! Up! he goes. Every step takes him from those he loves. Every step carries him into a region of divinest mysteries. But what thoughts surge and rush in his mind as he upward toils? He is leaving Israel, the nation whose cradle he has tended, whose ill-humours and impetuosities he has borne. Only God knows what he has suffered for those people through these forty long years. If I ask any mother or father here about the children they have lost, I shall be told that the child for whom they lost most rest — the child for whom they sacrificed the most — was the one that got most about their heart strings. So Moses finds, it is awful to tear himself away at that Divine behest and leave them there, while he goes up yonder to die. He is leaving his life work. It is an awful thing to feel that your life work is done! How does Moses feel as he climbs those slopes? Someone else is stepping into his place that now is his no more. God has superannuated him! Of course, there are people who are not concerned about all this. They belong to the regiment of the lazies! and a tremendously strong regiment it is. They know nothing about these troubles. They know not the agony of leaving a Sunday school class, or of being compelled to abandon preaching. Such people cannot enter into the feelings of Moses at this time.
II. VIEWING THE LAND.
III. THE OPENED EYES. Instead of dusky Arabs, he sees a company of white-robed angels, and his ear begins to catch the music of their song. And old Jericho, which had seemed common place enough, now seems larger, brighter than before. Its walls are sparkling with jewels; its gates gleam pearly white; and the amethystine glory comes streaming over its turrets. The land seems full of light, and joy, and bliss. The angel band is swelling in numbers. The distant hills are radiant with eternal light. The glory heightens. God is opening his eyes, and the transient things of earth are giving way to the things which are eternal. There stands the "city whose Builder and Maker is God." His soul flutters as a caged bird that struggles to get flee. And God is releasing that noble soul. The physical senses are being supported by the spiritual. Insensibly God carries him over the border. He knows not the moment when he ceases to be mortal, and becomes like the angels of God. All the horror of the thing, which makes the heart sick, he misses. He enters, at God's bidding, a larger and more satisfying life, by a path that is glorious with the Divine presence. With Him conversing, he forgets that this is death.
IV. IN MEMORIAM. Moses has gone, but in every generation God keeps up the succession of His saints, who minister to Him here awhile in our sight, and then pass to the higher ministries of Jerusalem above.
Parallel VersesKJV: So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.