The Ultimate Epitaph

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Of last will and testament.. of memories and legacies…

Have you ever wondered how your life is going to end? How? Where? When? Or would you rather not think about it? Christians know of the certainty of death; we even assure ourselves we do not need to fear death. While I am not afraid to die, I pray and hope that it will not be a painful long-suffering journey. I wonder how my final days will be.

There was one man in the Bible who was told how he would die, where and when he would die, and what to do before that. God himself prepared his burial.

Deuteronomy 30-34, (5 short chapters) recorded all that Moses did in his final days. They were like his last will and testament.
1) Moses charged the people to remember God’s word – obey and be blessed, rebel and be cursed. (Ch. 30)
2) Moses passed on the baton. He accepted God’s consequence for his disobedience that he would not enter the promise land (See Num. 20:8-12). He told the Israelites that Joshua would lead them into the promise land. He encouraged Joshua. He read them the written law to warn them to obey God. (31:1-13)

3) Moses heard God’s prediction of his death and what would happen to the people after they enter Canaan. They would disobey him and worship foreign gods. God would bring disasters upon them and hide his face because of their wickedness. (31:14-18)
4) Moses wrote a song and taught it to the people (31:19-22). God’s words for the song were vv.20-21 expanded into chapter 32 as Moses’ song. The song is their life (32:47). What is the song for? So they will remember what God did for them, who God is, so that they will remember to obey God.

Moses’ last conversation with God: (ch. 32:48-52)
On that same day the Lord told Moses, “Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.”

No regret… no more bargaining or plea to enter the promise land – he already did that in Deuteronomy 3:23-28.

5) Moses’ blessings: he blessed each of the tribes of Israel. (ch. 33)
6) Moses’ final moments: (ch. 34)

His last journey: He climbed Mount Nebo. v.1
His last vision: He saw the whole promise land. v.2-3
His last call: He heard God’s final words. v.4
His death: He died in Moab. v.5
His burial: God buried him. v. 6
His autopsy: at 120, his eyes were not weak, nor his strength gone. v. 7
His wake: The Israelites mourned 30 days for him. v. 8
His legacy: Joshua was filled with spirit of wisdom because Moses laid his hands on him. The people listened to Joshua and obeyed what God commanded Moses. v. 9
Moses’ epitaph: vv. 10-12

Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
What a life!

To ponder:

I do not know when my last days will be. When that day comes, what will be said of my life? Will there be a song? Will there be a blessing? Will there be a legacy? Will there be sadness? Will there be a celebration? Will there be a memory of God’s goodness and faithfulness?

I am not Moses nor do I need to be. I might not be able to do such great signs and wonders as Moses did. Or show such mighty power or perform awesome deeds as he did. But at the end of the journey, will it be said that I am one whom the Lord knew face to face? Or rather, will I be able to pass on with certainty that I knew the Lord face to face?

Lord, let me see you face to face in the little details of every day. Let my life reflect your grace and mercy for your glory. Amen.

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