Numbers and Deuteronomy- Session 13- Death for a Believer

Session 13- Death for a Believer

Deuteronomy 32:49-52; 34:4-7

Resources:

  1. Numbers Session 13
  2. Numbers Session 13 Handout
  3. Numbers Session 13 Powerpoint

Subject:  Death

Central Theme: Death for a Believer

Objective Sentence:

 

In this text we see three components of the death of believers.

Component #1- The Inevitability of Death.  (32:48-52.)

Component #2- God’s Grace in Death.  (34:4)

Component #3- The Nature of Death.  (34:5-7)

 

Introduction:

Connection:

  • Have you ever been to a funeral?
  • Funerals happen often around our church.
  • They are not fun occasions.
  • If you long to go to a funeral something is wrong.

Tension:

  • That being said, there is a difference between the funeral of someone who professes Jesus Christ as Savior and one who doesn’t.
  • We are always sad to see people go home to be with the Lord.
  • But we’re not sad for them. We are sad for us.

In this text we see three components of the death of believers.

Component #1- The Inevitability of Death.  (32:48-52.)

And the LORD spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying, Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession: And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people

(Deu 32:48-49)

 

Explanation:

  • Moses has been leading the children of Israel at this point for more than 40 years.
  • The text later tells us that he died at 120 years old.  His service for the Lord really happened between 80 and 120.
  • God tells Moses to head to the place where he will die.  He wasn’t allowed to go into the Promised Land because of his disobedience before the children of Israel.
  • He had not consecrated the Lord in front of them and so God had revealed to Moses that he would not enter into Canaan.
  • From the mountain Moses would be able to see the Promised Land.

Application:

  • Death is something that is coming for all of us.  1 out of 1 people die.  Death is an inevitability for every person.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

(Heb 9:27)

 

  • The implications are important.
  • We ought to live in such a way that we are ready to meet the Lord when we die.
  • That means most importantly that we should be sure to know Christ as Savior.
  • It also means that we understand how our life here will impact our eternity with Christ.
  • Paul knew what it meant to be ready for death and how his life impacted eternity.

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

(2Ti 4:6-8)

Response:

  • Are you ready for death?  We don’t know when it will be.  Do you know Christ as Savior?
  • What is something you can do today that will matter in eternity?

And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people: Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel. Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.

(Deu 32:50-52)

Explanation:

  • Moses was commanded to go into the mountain to die because God had forbid him to come into the Promised Land.
  • What had happened there? Consider the account in Numbers 20:10-13

And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.

(Num 20:10-13)

  • It may seem to some a strict punishment that God was laying on Moses and Aaron.
  • God is just in His judgement, and sees not only our behavior but also our hearts.
  • God is right to hold his people accountable, and the Bible is clear about God’s expectation of leaders.

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

(Jas 3:1-2)

Application:

  • Leaders are influencers.  They influence with their words, attitudes, actions and resources.  As the leader goes, so tend to go those who the leader leads.  With this stewardship comes a greater accountability.

Component #2- God’s Grace in Death.  (34:4)

And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

(Deu 34:4)

Explanation:

  • Moses would not be able to enter the Promised Land.  Although some may see this as harsh, there several reasons why God’s dealings with Moses were gracious.
    • God’s judgment was delayed. God did not immediately cause Moses to die when he sinned against Him.  He still provided water for the people through the work of Moses.
    • God allowed Moses to see the Promised Land. Even though He couldn’t go in he saw what God had promised.
    • God assured Moses the people would enter the Promised Land. Just because Moses didn’t go in didn’t mean the nation wouldn’t.  God kept His promises to Moses and to the people of Israel.
    • God provided leadership for the people through Joshua. Joshua was a disciple of Moses.  God had allowed Moses to groom a leader that He would use for the next generation.
    • God welcomed Moses in heaven after His death. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  Moses was justified by His faith in God and went to be with Him.  God is so gracious.

 

Application:

  • God is just and merciful.  He is both righteous and loving.
  • These may seem to be paradoxical statements but they are true.
  • The best representation of this is on the cross.
    • He is so holy that He will not let sin go.  He punished His own Son for our sin.
    • Yet, He is so loving that Jesus took the punishment that we deserved.  We serve a gracious and loving God who is Holy and Just!

 

Component #3- The Nature of Death.  (34:5-7)

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, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.  (Deu 34:5-6)

 

Explanation:

  • There are three phrases that strike me in these two verses.
  • First, I’m struck by the phrase “the servant of the Lord”.
    • If you were to know Moses’ life, you could have called him several things.  He could have been known as Moses, the Leader of the People, or Moses, the former prince of Egypt, or Moses, the prophet of God.
    • He could have been titled many things, but at the end of His life, the Holy Spirit chose to call him “the servant of the Lord”.  It’s really not a bad title.
  • Second, I’m struck by the phrase “according to the word of the Lord”.
    • This is just saying that what God said about Moses’ death- its’ timing and location- happened.
    • God is in control, and what He says will happen will certainly come to pass.  Remember what the scripture says.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

(Heb 9:27)

 

  • Lastly, I’m struck by the phrase “no man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day”.
    • All we can say for certain about this phrase is that we don’t know specifically where Moses’ is buried.
    • We don’t know it now, because at the time of that writing no one knew then as well.
  • Why didn’t God allow the people to know where Moses was buried?
    • Several options could be submitted, but I believe that at least part of it had to do with the human bent toward idolatry.
    • Human beings tend to worship, and often worship that which is not God.  This is called idolatry.  Knowing the place where Moses was buried would tempt the children of Israel from moving beyond veneration to worship.
    • Moses was the servant of the Lord, and would not want himself to be worshipped.

 

Application:

Three obvious applications.

  • At our best we are “the servants of the Lord. If we order our lives to following and serving Him that is what is best for us.
  • What God has promised He will do. Knowing that this world is temporal, and that we are eternal we must be wise.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  (Eph 5:15-16)

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.  (Psa 90:12)

 

  • We should be careful not to make idols of our leaders. When we have great leaders that impact us, we must remember that at best they are servants of the Lord.  What impacts us about them is God working in them and then through them.  We ought to worship the Lord because of their leadership and not them.

Conclusion:

In this text we see three components of the death of believers.

Component #1- The Inevitability of Death.  (32:48-52.)

Component #2- God’s Grace in Death.  (34:4)

Component #3- The Nature of Death.  (34:5-7)

 

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