The Death of Moses
After blessing the people, Moses departed and ascended to the top of Mount Nebo (34:1). From the top of the mountain God showed him the Promised Land that he would not be permitted to enter (34:2-4). Ackland comments, “We may be sure that Moses was allowed all the time he wanted to feast his eyes on this magnificent panorama. For this moment he had risked the wrath of Pharaoh, endured the hardships of the wilderness, suffered the moods of a rebellious people, borne with bitter disappointment at Kadesh, advised and governed and judged a pilgrim host for forty years.” After seeing the land, Moses died (34:5) and received a private burial by God (34:6). Jude 9 implies that the body of Moses remained in heavenly care. The people of Israel mourned for thirty days for their departed leader (34:8). Someone has said, “It is infamy to die and not be missed” (Wilcox). It is told that when Augustus died the Romans wished that either he had never been born or had never died. Moses’ ministry ended the same way it began: in the presence of God. Moses appeared again in history on the mount of transfiguration together with Jesus and Elijah (Matthew 17:3; Mark 9:4; and Luke 9:30-31).
Practical Consideration: We contribute the material that will be used in our eulogies. The only thing a preacher has to work with in the preparation of a funeral sermon is the life of the deceased. We should live our lives in such a manner that the person who conducts our funeral will have more than enough good material to use!
Joshua Full of the Spirit and Wisdom
Moses ordained Joshua as his successor. He was given the gift of wisdom and was acknowledged by the people as their new, divinely ordained leader.
Moses’ Place in History
These verses constitute Moses’ epitaph. Notice the following things concerning Moses.
First, Moses enjoyed a unique relationship with God (34:10). Wolfendale comments. “Intercourse with God gives power with man. None [are] great and successful without this.”
Second, Moses was unequaled in the performance of great signs and wonders in Egypt (34:11).
Third, Moses was unequaled in the performance of great signs and wonders among the people of Israel (34:12).
Maxwell notes the following regarding the greatness of Moses.
First, he holds a unique position among God’s prophets.
Second, “he was the first to proclaim the attributes of God.”
Third, “he was the first to give love as the impetus for obedience (5:9; 6:5).”
Fourth, he “was the first to give us God’s law.”
Fifth, “he was the first to give a plan of education in the family.”