March 5

Deuteronomy 32-34, Psalm 64

We see in these final chapters, a man who was at complete peace with his death. Contrast this with some quotes from famous atheists on their deathbeds. Voltaire (famous anti-christian atheist), told his doctor, “Then I shall die and go into hell!” His nurse said: “For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.” The famous skeptic and atheist philosopher cried loud on his deathbed, “I am in flames!”. It is said his “desperation was a horrible scene”. You can contrast this with the peace in which many believers have left the earth. In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” D.L. Moody said on his deathbed, “I see Earth receding and Heaven is opening. God is calling me.” Billy Graham said, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address.” Another time he said, “My home is in heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.”

We see in these final chapters of the Torah a beautiful example of a man, Moses, who cared more for those he was leaving behind than about himself. This is the kind of legacy that all of us, who are called by Christ, should seek. In Deuteronomy 31:7-8, we read, “Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord said, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Moses assures a smooth transition in leadership before all the people. More importantly, he directs all their hope and security on God Himself. We see immediately after Moses’ death in 34:9 that the transition worked, “Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.” Prior to his death, he also gives his final blessings on Israel in Deuteronomy 33. So we see Moses peacefully ascend Mount Nebo, not in fear or with resistance. We read in 34:5, “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab,”.

As a physician, I see patients who have the fear of death (Thanatophobia) and/or the fear of cancer (oncophobia) on a regular basis. This offers me a wonderful witnessing opportunity to share the love of Christ with them. Intertwined in a discussion about what it means to have a relationship with God, I often will quote Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” As believers, we have absolutely nothing to fear. Every breath we are given while here on Earth is an opportunity to do something for and to bring glory to our God. When He decides our time is over, then it is over. We are forever in His arms.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato