“So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day” (Deuteronomy 34:5-6).
How do you like going to funerals? Funerals bring a sobering reminder that death is something we will all face unless the Lord comes again during our lifetimes (Hebrews 9:27). Some struggle with going to funerals because they do not like thinking about death. Others view funerals as a time to pay their final respects for the loved one, who has passed from this life, and as a time to reflect about life and their relationship with God. How does God view the death of His faithful servants?
The book of Deuteronomy ends with the death of Moses, the great faithful servant of God. Prior to his death, God has Moses teach Israel a song regarding their future unfaithfulness to Him and His undying love for them as He will chastise them for their sin; but, then compassionately forgive them when they repent and turn back to Him (Deuteronomy 32:1-43). Moses encourages Israel to remain faithful to the Lord by following His Word (Deuteronomy 32:44-47). As God calls Moses to go up to Mount Nebo, where he will pass from this life (Deuteronomy 32:48-52), Moses takes one last moment to bless the various tribes within the congregation of Israel (Deuteronomy 33:1-29).
Moses, the great servant of God goes up to Mount Nebo, views the Promised Land, passes from this life, and was finally laid to rest (Deuteronomy 34:1-6). His earthly journey had ended. Though not entering the physical Promised Land himself, Moses was going to the Heavenly Promised Land which is far better. Regarding his epitaph the Bible simply says, “But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10).
As the opening verse above indicates, the Lord buried Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5-6). I see here the tender love of God as God lovingly and gently buries this faithful servant of His. Remember how Jesus wept at the death of His friend Lazarus (John 11:35)? Through the eye of faith, I see God’s tears falling on the body of Moses as God begins throws the first ounces of dirt upon the dead body of His friend Moses as Moses’ lifeless body lies in the grave.
As Christians, it is important for us to appreciate God’s tender love for us. I am afraid sometimes we forget just how PRECIOUS we are to God. King David said, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You” (Psalm 139:17-18). God’s tender love for us is seen in the fact that He has many “thoughts” about each of us.
Over the years at my local congregation of the Lord’s church we have said goodbye to many of our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who have passed from this earthly life. Many of them had reached major milestones in their earthly journeys with regard their earthly accomplishments such as running a business or living long enough to see their great, great grandchildren. Some even made it beyond their 50th wedding anniversaries. However, what is more important is the spiritual milestone they reached upon passing from this earthly life in being saved as a faithful child of God. They have reached their spiritual Promised Land. When we shed tears at the funerals and gravesites of such faithful children of God, we need to remember that God also sheds tears and loves His children with such a tender love. Today, I will rejoice for God’s tender love for me in both my life and my death!
“Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).