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©Michael Player

Chapter 32:44-52 (ESV)

Posted on April 18, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 32:44-52 (ESV) - Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun. And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

That very day the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.”

Question to consider: How did Moses not treat God as holy before Israel at Meribah?

Moses had given them the curses and blessings, and now he gave them a prophetic psalm to drive home the importance of keeping God’s Law. All of this would be reinforced when they went across the Jordan with Joshua, and God delivered the promised land to them. They would experience the goodness of the land and still begin worshiping after other gods. Even with all of this “education” on the matter, I bet it doesn’t surprise anyone who reads this study that the people would one day end up in exile because our nature to rebel against God is obvious.

We live in a culture that loves reality television. Here’s an idea for one. Put microphones and cameras on everyone in a family with teenagers and let them stay in a mansion with servants and a gourmet chef for as long as they can keep from violating rules based on the second table of the Law (commands regarding the love of neighbor). As an added incentive, if they make it longer than a month, they win a million dollar prize. Do you think anyone would win the million dollars? If anyone has the power to make this happen, I would propose a good name for the show could be “House Rules”.

I think everyone can recognize it is in our nature to rebel against God, but have you ever considered that every religion and philosophy outside of Christianity treats people as if they have some innate goodness and can earn the favor of their god by their own righteous works?

When people think that God will somehow ignore their sin or balance out their good and bad deeds, I think they should re-read the second paragraph of today’s passage. God told Moses to ascend Mount Nebo so that he could die while looking into the promised land since he would never be able to enter it. If you went through my study of Exodus, you may remember that Moses wasn’t always perfect. He killed an Egyptian while trying to defend an Israelite. He went into exile in Midian and married the daughter of their chief priest, Jethro. He feared Jethro more than God, for he agreed to not circumcise his firstborn son in dedication to Midian. Yet the sin that kept him from the land was when he lost his temper with Israel in Meribah and struck the Rock when he was supposed to speak to it and bring forth water for the people.

As I wrote in yesterday’s study, Paul said “the Rock was Christ.” The first time Moses brought water from the Rock, he was supposed to strike it, for Christ would be struck for our iniquities. However, the second time water was to be brought forth by the word of God. To disobey God’s command in this was to not treat God as holy before the people of Israel.

All of the other things were forgivable because they occurred before the giving of the Law, but this was an act that would teach a generation inheriting the land by faith that God’s word could be set aside, and this was not acceptable. It should definitely give us pause though to know that someone as holy as Moses was kept from the land so we should never think we can stand before God on our own attempts to keep the Law.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for raising Moses up to new life in Christ even though he failed to enter the land here on earth. We look forward to the day when Your kingdom of mercy is fully realized here on earth, and we will dwell with You forever. Amen.