Moses – His Death

In Deuteronomy 34, we read of the death of Moses. After his rash and self-centred partial obedience, partial disobedience back in Numbers 20 he doesn’t make it to the Promised Land. We see that the Lord takes very seriously being misrepresented or misinterpreted by His leaders to His people.

Moses is taken up to Mount Nebo (apparently modern-day Jordan looking west) and dies in the presence of the Lord (v.5). Moses was, no doubt and as we read, a great servant of the Lord, but even he fell short, didn’t he. For all his leadership credentials, his obedience, his righteous indignation at the sin of God’s people, Moses still fell short.

No matter how hard we try,

no matter how much experience we have in any given situation,

we are still going to fall short of the righteous requirements of an altogether Holy God.

Rather than lament the personal failures of Moses, let us draw hope from the fact he failed. If he were all that humanity needed, if he never died, if he were all-sufficient, then we would never have had need for the ultimate leader of God’s people to come. The truer and better Moses, the ultimate servant of the God did come, didn’t He?

For you, the story of Moses is just another preview, type, foreshadow, pointer to the life of Jesus (John 5.39Luke 24.27). Every not-quite, every failure, every oh-so-close-but-so-far moment in Scripture finds its fulfilment in Jesus.

For you, this means that you have a one-stop-shop, a singular destination to head towards when looking for salvation, for fulfilment, for peace, for acceptance, for forgiveness.

The death of Moses, for you, is another pointer to the person and work of Jesus. 

Spiritual Depression – Fear Of The Future

We are all born different, aren’t we. It is one way we see the wondrous workings of God; all made differently yet able to be so unified in belief, thought, action, heart, and mind. When we think of the future, some are excited, some are worried, some are paralysed with fear, some are confused, so, what do we do?

Importantly, we need to distinguish between thinking about the future well, and worrying about the future unnecessarily. Lloyd-Jones writes that there is a difference between ‘legitimate forethought and paralysing forethought‘. One allows a farmer to plow the field and sow his seed, the other can lead us to a paralysed present because of what-if worries. 

We have talked before about leaving the past in the past, but also just as true is worrying about a future we cannot control. Many times in Scripture we see this idea of ‘think about today, today, and let tomorrow be tomorrow‘ (Matthew 6.25-34 for example). 

When fear of the future strikes us, which it inevitably does despite the varied makeups of our character including those who seem to be unruffled and steadfastly sure, where do we look?

“…God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1.7

The Spirit of power is that which raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8.11), and this power now indwells you as a fully regenerate born-again believer. Now, this is not to say you can go around resurrecting people, but, this needs to be a constant reminder that we give ourselves – the Holy Spirit lives in me, God has given me a spirit not of fear, but of power.

When we are tempted to worry about an unknown future, we must commit our unknown future to a known God as Corrie Ten Boom said. The Spirit of love allows us to know that we are loved by God Most High, that we take the focus off self-love, self-care, self-protection and rest in the fact that the Spirit of love surrounds us, cares for us, and will protect us even from ourselves.

The Spirit of self-control gives us, seemingly miraculously for some, the ability to soak in God’s Word, to understand the timeless truths therein, and to internalise this so deeply that when troubles come, when trials cross our paths, we have a mind that is so saturated with the Word and the truths of God that we can maintain control and not veer off into unnecessary future worry.   

“…God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

2 Timothy 1.7

Lloyd-Jones closes the discussion on future fears like this,

…to those who are particularly prone to spiritual depression through…fear of the future, I say in the Name of God…talk to yourself, remind yourself of what is true…remind yourself of who you are and what you are, and of what Spirit is within you…and you will be able to go steadily forward, fearing nothing, living in the present, ready for the future, with one desire only, to glorify Him who gave His all for you.

Revelation 22.6-21 – An ending of contrasts

So to the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, and it is one of contrasts; we see old and new, concealed and revealed, bringing and taking, cursing and blessing.

6 And he said to me,

“These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me,

“You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

10 And he said to me,

“Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the Bride say,

“Come.”

And let the one who hears say,

“Come.”

And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says,

“Surely I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

In Daniel 8.26 we read that the vision he received was to be sealed for the future, but the words of Revelation are not to be sealed, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.”. This tells us that Revelation is a word for today, 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

John falls to worship the angel, again, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel, as in 19.10, but, as there, John is told to worship God. God and God alone, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, our triune Godhead alone is to be the object of our worship, never the created, only the creator.

We read And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price, and this stands in stark contrast to every other world religion around today, or that ever was around, or that ever will be around.

Religions say bring, Jesus says take.

Religions say do, Jesus says done.

Then, the bigger picture contrast.

The last verse of the Old Testament, God dealing with His people under the old covenant, ends in a curse with things being stored up for destruction;

6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4.6).

The last verse of the New Testament, God dealing with His people under the new covenant of grace by faith, speaks of this very grace, a huge blessing to us, isn’t it, when we get what we don’t deserve, when we get rich at Christ’s expense;

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

What a huge contrast, and what a huge privilege we have to be living now, under the new covenant of grace.

Jesus authenticates the whole book in v.16, and it is now our wonderful opportunity, and serious responsibility to live in the light of the truths, both present and future, of this book…because, in His own words, He is coming soon.

To which we say, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Obadiah 15-18 – Hope for the future

For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations.

As you have done, it shall be done to you;

    your deeds shall return on your own head.

For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,

    so all the nations shall drink continually;

they shall drink and swallow,

    and shall be as though they had never been.

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,

    and it shall be holy,

and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.

The house of Jacob shall be a fire,

    and the house of Joseph a flame,

    and the house of Esau stubble;

they shall burn them and consume them,

    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,

for the Lord has spoken.

So things are looking bad, God’s people have been robbed, chased out of town, hunted down, handed over to their enemies, some even killed. Generally, throughout history, God’s people have suffered. Here in Obadiah, God has pronounced judgement on those who have done wrong, as only the Holy, pure, just, judge can do (Revelation 16.5-7).

But, judgement is not the end…there is always hope for the future. Look at verses 17 and 18 here;

But in Mount Zion there shall be those who escape,

    and it shall be holy,

and the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions.

The house of Jacob shall be a fire,

    and the house of Joseph a flame,

    and the house of Esau stubble;

they shall burn them and consume them,

    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,

for the Lord has spoken.

There will be deliverance for God’s people. 

We know so because the Word of God says so.

It also says 

…the house of Esau stubble;

they shall burn them and consume them,

    and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,

for the Lord has spoken.

and, to the best of my reading around, Edom fought with Israel against Rome between 66-70A.D., were crushed, and were wiped out as a people…the Word of God never fails to come true.

So, yes, there will be deliverance for God’s people, and it came through His Son, the exact imprint of His nature walking in a human body, Jesus Christ. For us as New Convenant believers, living now, to receive this deliverance from slavery to sin, from bondage to fleshly lusts, we need only call on His name to be saved. The Bible says this, a fitting Scripture for us to think on today;

For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

Romans 10.5-13