Deuteronomy 34:5 says, “And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said.” The title most often used for Moses is not lawgiver, deliverer, miracle worker, or author but servant of God. Servants do not choose their assignments. They don’t come in with expectations, demands, and conditions. Think of those in the armed forces, protecting our nation. They serve our country and go wherever they are called, from the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli.
When God told Moses he would not lead the Israelites into the Canaan, it was a big deal. After 40 years of brown desert, he was ready to enjoy the lush, green hills of Canaan. Five times, in his final sermon, Moses talked about the last-minute change God made to his plans.
In the most revealing passage, in Deuteronomy 3:23 Moses said, “At that time I pleaded with the Lord…Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.” Moses prayed many powerful prayers in his life. His intercession touched the heart of God, and miracles happened. Here he begs for God to reconsider, but God said in Deuteronomy 3:26, “That is enough…Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.” Remember what Israel did when God first told them they could not enter the land? They charged in anyway and were soundly whooped by their enemies.
Every kids favorite word is mine. As grownups, we still kick and scream if someone takes what we want away. God took away what Moses wanted and said, “Don’t speak to me about this again!” It says a lot that Moses set aside his plans, humbled himself, and refused to become bitter and resentful at the Lord. He could do this because he was a servant of God.
Life consists of many unexpected changes – demotions, promotions, closed, and open doors. If God takes something away, that means he has something far better in store. Don’t insist on your little plans, when he has a much better assignment waiting. While Moses wanted to go to Canaan, God wanted him to come home to be in his presence, in place more glorious than he could imagine.
We like titles – reverend, bishop, doctor, apostle so and so. But people do not follow titles. They follow servants. God is not looking for a title to bless, but someone with a towel. Jesus modeled this when he kneeled and washed his disciple’s dirty feet, even those of Judas. This small act pointed to his most significant service on the cross. Philippians 2:7 says, “Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”