"Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land.... Then the Lord said to him, "This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendents.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it." Deuteronomy 34:1-4
Deuteronomy 3:21-29 highlights one of the saddest chapters in the Bible for me. Moses pleads almost desperately to be in Canaan, but God silences him and asserts His final decision. For 40 years Moses journeyed through the wilderness, led a nation who constantly grumbled and complained, and waited to experience the Promised Land. But because his actions ultimately dishonored God, he was forbidden to go any farther from Mt. Nebo. After all his hard work, his prize was merely a view from the hills.
This story teaches us many valuable lessons. When we dishonor His name, when we deliberately choose our ways, when we think we're better than God, discipline is not far behind. God will deal with us and have us accountable to them. There will always be consequences for our actions. When Moses struck that rock, his frailty crept up. He took matters into his hands and dismissed God's orders. God dealt with Moses in such a painful and harsh way and I will never understand that. His single misstep undermined 40 years of faithful hard work and service. But this story doesn't end there. If you look and read closely, you will witness a patient and gracious God. He knew things would go awry with the Israelites even before they crossed the Red Sea. But He constantly worked miraculously in their midst and selflessly provided water for the Israelites. He even allowed Moses to still get a glimpse of Canaan. If He was like any other god, He could have turned away. He could have given up. But this is the One True God who stayed. He stayed riveted.
God is gracious NO MATTER what you do. Mt. Nebo may not be the best that you could have gotten, but He is gracious nonetheless. Always pursuing you. Always loving you. May this story not be a story of discouragement, but a lesson centered on the character of God which breathes life and hope.
Pictures taken at Mt. Nebo. It was an emotional experience for me... What more for Moses, huh?