Monday January 7: 1 Shevat

It was on this day that Moses was allowed to observe the Promised Land from the top of the mountain but was told that he would not be permitted to cross over. Deuteronomy 3:27-28 reads:

“Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But command Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.”

How bittersweet that experience must have been for Moses, after enduring so much. To see the very land that he had heard of and spoken about to the people but not be allowed to walk in it. One lesson we glean from this is that God is no respecter of persons, not even making exceptions for someone like Moses. It also demonstrates that those who are called to lead are held to a higher standard – not because they are special, but because they are called to do something special. It is the message, not the messenger, that is most important. Not only that, how the messenger presents the message and represents the Creator to the people is equally important. In Numbers 20:11-12, we read:

“Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

By striking the rock instead of speaking to it, in some way, Moses lessened what God was trying to accomplish among the assembly. The people still received water, but Moses’actions cost him dearly. It seems very clear that he struck the rock out of anger and frustration, allowing his frustration to show in the sight of the people. The issue was that his outburst potentially tarnished the people’s view of the Creator. What God had instructed him to do was intended to sanctify the Almighty in the sight of the people. Instead, Moses did things his way.

It is one thing to be human and let your frustrations and anger show occasionally but is another thing, entirely, to give in to those emotions while you are doing something in God’s name. Wherever we go and whoever we encounter, we should be careful how we represent the Creator before others. He is to be sanctified in the sight of those we encounter, whether they agree with us or not; whether we like them or not, He should be glorified by our actions. As His representatives, we need to sanctify Him in the sight of people and not disparage Him. Let these words challenge each of us to do better and be encouraged to overcome our weaknesses.