What a rough ending for poor Moses. I can’t help but think it’d be kinda nice to get a head’s up on death, though. God delivers some disappointing news to him:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘You are about to die and join your ancestors. After you are gone these people will begin to worship foreign gods, the gods of the land where they are going. They will abandon me and break my covenant that I have made with them.” 31:16
Moses spent his entire life leading these people, traveling in the wilderness and mediating between them and God. Now, nearing death, he is told that after all that, they will rebel and abandon their relationship with God.
If you’ve ever poured into someone (this is Christian speak for “have an intentional relationship”), you can imagine how much this would break his heart. It’s tempting to put expectations onto people or turn them into ‘projects’. I hear that a lot. “Don’t treat them like a project.” It took me a while to realize why that’s a bad thing. As a creative person, I love projects. What’s wrong with throwing yourself completely into someone, dedicating time and effort into it because you love them? Because with projects, you have an outcome in mind. There’s an end in sight and you are working until it’s finished. People are never finished. We are a work in progress until the day we are lowered into the ground. Expecting some sort of result doesn’t leave room for grace.
Is there someone you’re mentoring or leading? A co-worker, a foster child, a friend, your kids, a neighbor, a spouse? What are your expectations for them?
When I find myself getting frustrated in a relationship like that, it’s a red flag that my intentions are off. I’m trying to squeeze self-worth out of it, not trusting God and not leading like Jesus.
Jesus leads perfectly. He pursues us, but let’s us make our own choices. He gives boundaries and he gives grace. He loves unconditionally, forgives constantly and asks questions.
Moses’ last move with his people before death is to teach them a song about God. He proclaims God’s goodness, sweeps over Israel’s history with Him and gives a final reminder of the dangers of turning from His ways.
Let’s lead that way: reminding our people what God has done, teaching them to give thanks and steering them away from a life apart from Him.