- “I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor.” Francois Rabelais (1483-1553)
- “Why are you weeping ? Did you imagine that I was immortal ?” Louis XIV (1638-1715)
- “Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies.” — Voltaire (1694-1778), on his deathbed in response to a priest asking that he renounce Satan.
- “Friends applaud, the comedy is over.” — Ludwig van Beethoven (1770—1827), sarcastic remarks after a priest’s gave him the last rites.
- “Oh my, it’s very beautiful over there.” — Thomas Edison (1847—1931).
This might seem morbid, but have you ever wondered what you will say when you are drawing your last breaths? I’ve been at more than a few deathbeds and I gotta be honest, most people pass from this life in an unconscious or semi-conscious state. There aren’t often very many last minute words. But in the moments leading up to that final transition time, people often have many things to say. Some very endearing, some very unexpected and some pretty mysterious, like Edison’s listed above.
As far as deathbed words go, Moses’ song and words of blessings to all of the tribes is extensive and contains a lot. Part praise of God, part word of warning to Israel, part prophesy. I will say, Moses’ last words say a lot about who he was, what God meant to him and what he thought of Israel. I guess the words we speak prior to our deaths reveal a lot about all of us. Those words are probably spoken with more freedom and truth than any others in our lifetimes. Even the quotes I listed above reveal a lot about the speakers, their beliefs and their state before their deaths.
The thing that sticks out to me in these final chapters of Deuteronomy is how sad Moses must have felt. Here he spent more than 40 years leading Israel, prepping them for the promised land, trying to get them to live for God and follow obediently, but the image God gives Moses before his death is summed up in 31:16 “These people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering.” It must have broke his heart when God revealed that to him. Moses wanted nothing more than Israel to choose life (which we talked about yesterday), and here God is confirming to him that they will in fact choose the opposite. When you lead a group of people, you pray for the best for them, you see the best in them and hope beyond hope that they will follow God into every great thing he has for them. To have those hopes dashed on his way out of leadership and life must have crushed Moses, at least a little bit. Moses’ greatest consolation was knowing that Israel was going to be lead forward by a godly, passionate and well equipped man in Joshua.
Let’s journey with him into Canaan.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Joshua 1-4