The Lord said to Moses, “Go up this mountain, Abarim, and look at the land that I’ve given to the Israelites…Moses spoke to the Lord: “Let the Lord, the God of all living things, appoint someone over the community…”
His eyes were not on his destiny.
In Numbers 27, this is beginning of the sunset of the most illustrious and decorated spiritual leader not named Jesus in the Bible. God takes Moses on a mountain and tells him to look at the land that he would not get to enter.
It’s a profound moment seeing the long and arduous that God had taken Moses on. From a baby boy, to the desert, to delivering Israel from Egypt, to receiving and administering the law, the priesthood, the commands of God, apexing up to this failing moment.
It is as if an unbelievably straight arrow running from Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers is now heading downwards towards the ground.
And so an aging Moses would not see the promise that God had for him. As a reader, my heart wrenches for him as I think about the destiny that God had deposited in my heart. It empathizes for him as a person, but also wonders if I’d be like him–just on a mountain watching the promise from a distance as my life fades into a cemetary.
Yet before I can pity myself, I am shocked and challenged by Moses’ response.
He says, “Let the Lord, the God of all living things appoint someone over the community…so that the Lord’s community won’t be like sheep without their shepherd.”
Why am I shocked? I am shocked because Moses does not mention a single thing about his destiny. He’s not thinking about his promises, the legacy of his life, or how others will write his story.
His heart, rather, is on God’s legacy.
At the moment that God tells him that he won’t enter the promised land, Moses’ first response is something like “what will happen to your grand plan God?” His heart is set not on his life, his destiny, but as a faithful and loving servant, he looks towards heaven and asks “what next?”.
Like John the Baptist, he was a friend of the bridegroom–concerned not for his place in the wedding, but for the honor of the one who stood for. At the point which we expect him to defend and fight for destiny, he, like John the Baptist, would say, “he must increase, and I must decrease.”
Eyes off our destiny.
Moses’ response should rescue us Westerners from our individualized perspective of our lives and our destiny.
Perhaps his response should remind us that our lives are not about “what we want to do” and the legacy we are leaving behind, but that it would put a fire in our hearts to see his glory fill the earth, no matter what story is written about us.
Eyes off our destiny and onto something greater. Rather, someone–the God of all creation who calls us to make him great before we die.