So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.
There is nothing more sublime in the history of Moses than the story of his death. Tried by a worldly standard, it seems a poor and shameful ending of such a life. Who so fit, we might ask, to lead the children of Israel into the promised land as he who had, for their sakes, defied the wrath of Pharaoh, who led them out of Egypt, and shared with them the wanderings of the wilderness? Who is the nobler man? he who rejoices in the fulfilment of his hopes, or he who knows how to endure, and see the fruit of, disappointment?
I. THE PERILS OF A CALL TO SERVICE.
1. There are perils in its graces. Godly men will transgress just where they seem most secure, will yield to the temptations against which they seem to be best armed. In a moment the old nature flashes up; the sin of a moment startles out of the self-complacency of many years.
2. There are perils belonging to the gifts of a high calling. Those are not to be envied who are most richly endowed, and can do most for men. They have to be constantly warned against pride and self-sufficiency; to be often chastened and humiliated for relying on their gifts instead of on the Giver.
3. There are perils incident to the fulfilment of a high calling.
II. GOD'S EARNESTNESS IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF HIS WILL. Was Moses startled after he had spoken his rash words to the people, and smitten the rock in his anger? shocked to think that he had been so easily led into sin, and that his sin was great in that he had not sanctified God in the eyes of the children of Israel? If so, the words in which the Lord rebuked him must have fallen blessedly upon his ears. Our first foolish thought is the wish to bide our sin from God; our second wiser thought is to rejoice that He has seen and marked it, for He alone can put our sins away. Our first foolish impulse is to offer our excuses and plead that we be not chastised; our second wiser impulse is that of the spiritual man within us, which welcomes all the fatherly discipline by which we may be purged. Our first foolish thought is to blame the responsibilities of our position, and even to desire to be relieved of them; our second wiser persuasion is that responsibilities are the honours of heaven, and that it is cause of gratitude when God will make us worthy to fulfil them.
(A. Mackennal, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.