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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, October 19, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  | Deuteronomy 34:1–12

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”

Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses. Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel. (NRSV)

On family road trips growing up, we played a game. On the trip home it was a contest to see who was the first to spot “our McDonald’s,” the true sign that we were almost home. With it came the excitement of the promise that soon we would be free to run around the backyard to stretch our legs and be able to sleep in our own beds that night.

I feel for Moses in this passage, so close and yet so far away, standing on the precipice, looking at the Promised Land in which he will never get to step foot. At 120 years old, Moses has traveled a long way to arrive on the doorstep of the Promised Land only to never cross the threshold. He is seeing his own almost-home sign without making it home. It is a reminder to us all, that we may never see the fruits of the seeds we plant in life. While it does seem like a cruel taunt to show Moses the Promised Land, it is a gift many of us will never get. Moses was able to see that he had completed his life’s work. He had delivered the children of Israel to the Promised Land. While Moses’s journey had ended, his legacy would continue. I wonder what the legacy of my life’s work will be?

God, grant me peace that the seeds I plant will bear fruit. Help me to know that I may never fully appreciate your impact through me, and encourage me to continue to plant anyway. Amen.

Written by Katie Patterson, Youth Ministry Program Manager

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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