DEUTERONOMY 3:23-25: “Then I pleaded with the LORD: “Almighty LORD, you have ⌊only⌋ begun to show me how great and powerful you are. What kind of god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and the mighty acts you have done? Please let me go over and see the beautiful land on the other side of the Jordan River—those beautiful mountains in Lebanon.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: How do we respond when we do not get the desires of our heart, when the answer is NO? How we respond in these circumstances says more about our character than how we respond when things go the way we desire. Such is the case of Moses as he approached the promised land with the children of Israel. He is so close, and his heart desires so much to enter it. So he comes to the Lord and pleads with Him – “…Please let me go over and see the beautiful land on the other side of the Jordan River…”
How did the Lord answer Moses?
- “The LORD was angry with me because of you, so he wouldn’t listen to me. He said, “That’s enough out of you! Don’t talk to me anymore about this. Go to the top of Mount Pisgah, and look west, north, south, and east. You may look at the land, but you will never cross the Jordan River. Give instructions to Joshua. Encourage and strengthen him, because he will lead these people across ⌊the Jordan River⌋, and he will help them take possession of the land you see.” (Deuteronomy 3:26-28 GW)
The Lord said – NO!
Our first reaction is – “That isn’t fair!” Moses had spent 40 years with the rebellious children of Israel, wandering in the wilderness, until a whole generation that doubted God had died. Now a new generation was poised to enter into God’s promises, and the one who led them for 40 years was not allowed to enter in with them. Where is the love and mercy of God?
Before Moses approached the Lord, he knew the answer. When Moses disobeyed God in front of the children of Israel, striking the rock instead of speaking to it as he was commanded, this was the punishment the Lord had given him. Why was it so severe? It was because Moses had taken God’s glory and placed it upon himself. His actions made Israel look to him as the source of provision rather than God. This was a serious mistake with serious consequences. This is why Moses “pleaded”. Who knows, perhaps the Lord would be merciful and change His mind. Yet, the Lord showed His mercy in allowing Moses to look upon the land, but he still was not able to enter the land.
How did Moses respond? The writer of Hebrews gives us insight into the answer to this question.
- “Jesus is faithful to God, who appointed him, in the same way that Moses was faithful when he served in God’s house…Moses was a faithful servant in God’s household. He told ⌊the people⌋ what God would say in the future.” (Hebrews 3:2, 5 GW)
Moses was faithful!
This is how Moses responded when the Lord said – NO! He did not whine. He did not continue pleading. He did not turn back from fulfilling the call the Lord had placed on his life. He completed his calling. He finished his mission. He was a faithful servant in God’s household. Why? Because Moses was humble before the Lord. Moses was surrendered to the Lord. Moses trusted the Lord. When the Lord revealed His will – Moses obeyed!
Paul reminds us in I Corinthians,
- “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” (I Corinthians 4:1-2 NKJV)
The lesson we can learn from Moses is that faithfulness must be the attitude and response of our heart – regardless of whether we get the desires of our heart. In fact, we should not be seeking the desires of our heart – we should be seeking the desires of His heart ! Jesus taught us to pray – “…Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is not wrong to have desires, when they are aligned to the Kingdom. Yet, even then, if they are not in the will of the Lord for our life, the question remains – will we continue as a faithful servant in God’s household, as Moses did?
David desires to build God a house, the Temple. The Lord said no. His son Solomon was the one to build the Temple. David remained a faithful servant in God’s household. During the remainder of his life he gathered and stored the material that Solomon would need to build the Temple. He never saw the Temple built, but he looked on it with eyes of faith, as Moses looked upon the promised land – and he remained faithful.
Lord – help me to be found a faithful servant in Your house! Give me a humble, surrendered, and obedient heart like Moses and David.
In Jesus Name!