It seems almost cruel, doesn’t it? Moses had tolerated a rebellious group of people for 40 years, and now he doesn’t even get to enter the Promised Land. As you may remember, he had earlier blatantly disobeyed God and struck the rock instead of speaking to it, but still . . .
Here–in this last chapter of the Pentateuch–Moses gets a glimpse of Canaan, and then he dies and is buried in an unknown place. The focus, as always, is on the real Leader of Israel. Taking possession of the land doesn’t depend on Moses, as great as he was. God would lead the people to the land that he had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Here’s a thought: to the very end of his life, Moses “leaned into the tape” . . . he pressed on toward God’s promises. He was certainly disappointed, but along the way he had learned to trust God, and so he and Israel–at the very end of this long chronicle of their deliverance from slavery–anxiously looks ahead to God’s fulfillment of his promises.
We learn from that, of course. We’re reminded that this life will often be characterized by disappointments, by unfulfilled dreams, by goals that lay just beyond our grasp. But instead of becoming disheartened, we lean into the tape . . . we trust that God is faithful. He always keeps his promises.