Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid.”
Isaiah 51: 12
King James Version
Today’s Study Text:
“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him.”
Matthew 17: 1-3
“The View From The Top of the Mountain”
“In the light of eternity we shall see that what we desired would have been fatal to us, and that what we would have avoided was essential to our well-being,”
Can I think of an experience in my life when a mountaintop view gave me a completely different perspective of the scenery around me?
“We mount to heaven mostly on the ruins of our cherished schemes, finding our failures were successes.”
A. B. Alcott
“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses, and disappointments; but let us have patience, and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.”
The second, forty-year period of time in Moses’ life, was spent in the land of Midian where he married the priest of Midian’s daughter, Zipporah. In Exodus, Chapter 3, we find Moses keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, in the “backside of the desert.” It was at this time when you might wonder big time what God’s plan was all about when the “angel of the Lord appeared unto him (Moses) in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.”
Watching a bush on fire, yet not being consumed, certainly got Moses’ attention, immediately, and it would be appropriate to say that it was at the moment Moses saw, the “burning bush,” when the final panel, I call the “triptych” that made up Moses’ life took a major turn. And again, God’s purpose for Moses was the hinge that held his entire life together.
What from the outside looked like a wasted forty-year period, marching around the desert in Midian with a bunch of unruly sheep, amazingly turned out to be exactly what Moses needed after forty years in Pharaoh’s palace where everyone bowed down to his every wish. Herding sheep, in hindsight, proved to be an effective training ground for “herding” a multitude of slaves, whose ability to follow, obey and be guided was minimal, at best.
And so, for the last forty years of his life, with God leading as a Pillar of Cloud by day and a fire by night, Moses led the Israelites from Egypt, the land of bondage, to Canaan, the Land of Promise.
As we studied this journey several years ago here in Transformation Garden, it was evident that besides Moses having his patience tried by people who were cranky and disobedient and had a desire, on more than one occasion, to return to Egypt, (if you can believe it), finally, after a desert crossing, which I read recently could have taken less than a month, the Israelites landed on the border of Canaan, and including the detour, which kept them in the desert much longer than necessary, this trip’s time-line for Moses took up the last forty years of his life.
What appears so tragic for Moses is that right at the moment when he was finally primed to enter the Promised Land, he lost his cool, struck the rock twice, and was told by God that he would not, “go over thither,” into Canaan.
After this disappointing event, and at the age of 120, God told Moses to take a hike up to the top of Mount Pisgah. The Bible says “The Lord shewed him (Moses) all the land of Gilead, unto Dan. And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the Lord said unto him, ‘This is the land which I swear unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed’” (Deuteronomy 34: 1-4).
God’s purpose for Moses was fulfilled. From his birth to his death God had a plan for his life. It was to get a bunch of individuals, who were held in bondage for 400 years by the Egyptians, to become a nation which was led by God.
While Moses was down on the valley floor on the sands of the desert, all he could see was tent after tent and person-after-person, who seemed like a disconnected group of malcontents. That’s what the view from the valley looked like. But from the mountaintop, what a different sight was visible. No longer desert dwellers, the Israelites, divided into twelve tribes, inhabited the Promised Land – a land flowing with milk and honey. It was a difference in viewpoint, from the valley, to the mountaintop. As one of my favorite hymn-writers, Isaac Watts, so eloquently penned:
“Could we but climb where Moses stood,
And view the landscape o’er,
Not Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood,
Should fright us from the shore.”
When prayers go unanswered, and disappointment, like fog, blocks our way, learning to trust our Father’s view from above, gives me the confidence to keep walking, even if it is through a desert or flood or on some unrecognized path that is blanketed in darkness. However, as usual, when we let God lead our lives, He always gives us something extra. It’s like the frosting on the cake or the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae. Tomorrow’s devotional is about something special that God did for Moses. And what a wonderful answer to prayer God’s surprise was for “His faithful friend.”
“If we could see beyond today
As God can see;
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee;
O’er present griefs we would not fret.
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet
For you and me.
If we could know beyond today
As God doth know,
Why dearest treasures pass away
And tears must flow;
And why the darkness leads to light,
Why dreary paths will soon grow bright;
Someday life’s wrongs will be made right,
Faith tells us so.
“If we could see, if we could know”
We often say,
But God in love a veil doth throw
Across our way;
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more,
He leads us till this life is o’er
Trust and obey.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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