Daybreak: Deuteronomy 34:1-12
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” (Deuteronomy 34:10)
When I was applying for a job after graduating from college, I sifted through the letters of recommendations that my professors had written for me, and one letter especially caught my eye: this letter of recommendation was very flattering and praised my accomplishments at some length. As I eagerly scanned to the bottom of the letter to learn who had such a high opinion of me, I remembered, to my chagrin, that I had written the letter myself ! One of my less-conscientious professors had told me to type up my own letter of recommendation, and he would just sign it. Needless to say, I was not half as impressed with this letter of recommendation when I remembered that I was the actual author.
A good exercise to make sure that we do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think is to imagine what others might say about us at our own funeral. Moses had a wonderful eulogy recorded in Deuteronomy 34:10-12. As he passed from this earth, the Word of God records that there was no other prophet like Moses, and that the Lord knew him face to face. What are the “good words” that people would say about you if your life were to end right now?
In Stories for a Man’s Heart, Al and Alice Gray record the words that the children of Dick Wimer placed in his memorial service bulletin:
“What a teacher! What a giver! What a heart! He was all those old clichés. Big hearted. Tender hearted. He had a generous heart. He was all heart. It was the best used part he had and he just wore it out giving it to others. Now he will go on living in our hearts.”
What will your family, friends, and acquaintances say about you when your time on earth is through? Will they have many words of praise? What a challenge to all of us to live in a way that encourages and enlightens the lives of all those around us!
Moses obviously did not write the last chapter of Deuteronomy, since this chapter recounts his death and burial. Traditionally, this chapter has been ascribed to Joshua; this ascription has gained widespread acceptance because the last chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy fits almost seamlessly with the Book of Joshua, which immediately follows.
The death of Moses, like the death of many saints, was bittersweet: it was sweet because the Lord took Moses up Mount Nebo to the peak of Pisgah and showed him the land which He had promised unto the Children of Israel, yet it was bitter because Moses himself was not allowed to enter the Promised Land due to his former disobedience. However, it says in verse 5, “Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.” The literal meaning of the verse is, “he died at the mouth of the Lord,” which has been interpreted to mean that “he died by the kiss of the Lord,” suggesting that although Moses did not enter into the Promised Land, his heart was filled with peace when he finally saw all that God had promised.
Disobedience can be costly. Because the Children of Israel disobeyed God and refused to enter into the Promised Land at first, they had to conduct many funerals in the wilderness; if the numbers were evenly distributed, that would come to approximately one funeral every twenty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, for forty years!
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. Historical appendices
E. The death of Moses (34:1-12)
1. His death (34:1-7)
2. His mourning (34:8)
3. His replacement (34:9)
4. His eulogy (34:10-12)
A Closer Look
- Who buried Moses?
- Why do you suppose God kept the burial spot of Moses secret?
- The Children of Israel mourned for Moses for thirty days. How long do you think it takes to recover from the loss of a loved one? What can help a person through such a difficult time?
You do not get to write your own eulogy, but your life is yours to live for the glory of God.
- Deuteronomy Introduction
- Deuteronomy Complete Amplified Outline
- Camp of the Tribes of Israel
- Why So Many Laws?
- Daybreak Unit PDF (Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua)
- Discovery Unit PDF (Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua)
- Discovery Teacher’s Guide Unit PDF (Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua)
- Unit Binder Cover