Deuteronomy 32-34, Psalm 64
I'm 58 years old and my earthly tent is not what it once was. Both of my shoulders are damaged from years of competitive swimming, I have a slight limp from damage to my left hip, I use glasses for reading my Bible, at weddings once the music starts playing I can no longer hear anyone, I'm on a couple of medications for blood pressure, etc. There are those who say, "If you have your health, you have everything." I disagree, I think the better phrase would be, "If you have Jesus, you have everything." There are literally billions of dollars spent annually to try to prevent the unpreventable, aging. There are anti-aging seminars and formulas, there are all forms of plastic surgery and botox to firm up our earthly tent, there is the use of lasers to rejuvenate many areas of our bodies. The reality is our earthly tents are intended to start failing because this is not what life is all about. Oddly enough, it's actually a good thing, because, seeing our earthly tents slowly fade should get us to focus on things beyond this earth. Once we realize that we can no longer do what we once did, we should focus our attention on what the future holds. In fact, though our bodies slowly decline, if we put our hope and faith in Jesus, our walk in the Holy Spirit, can slowly improve. Our ability to yield to the Holy Spirit can actually get stronger.
Moses is given his instructions by the Lord, concerning his imminent death in Deuteronomy 32:48-50, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses that very same day, saying: "Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, across from Jericho; view the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel as a possession; and die on the mountain which you ascend, and be gathered to your people, just as your Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people;". Being gathered to his people means he wasn't going to cease to exist. He would be with the likes of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and others who had responded to God's calling with their heart. Jesus describes this reality in actuality in the true story of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31 (This is not a parable since parables do not use specific names). We read of Moses' actual death in Deuteronomy 34:5-6, "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." Though this might seem a lonely death, one translation has it, "He died by the kiss of God." What a beautiful picture that God just kissed Moses and put him to sleep.
We can hold onto our earthly tents with all of our strength or we can view it as Isaiah did in Isaiah 61:10, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in My God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." The choice is really ours. He lovingly gives us free will to choose what we worship and focus on. We can worship and focus on our earthly tents which is a frustrating process as our bodies slowly fade. Or we can choose to focus on the One who offers salvation and the One in whom we can be closer and closer to sharing eternity with. Look at Moses' words at the close of his blessing and his life in Deuteronomy 33:26-27, "There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, And in His excellency on the clouds. The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms;...". Jeshurun is a poetic name for Israel. Corrie Ten Boom said, "Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open." This holds true for possessions and our earthly tents. May we all focus on Jesus the only One who offers everlasting joy and reach out to others to do likewise.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: