May 30, 2011
The Prayer Life of Moses
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, the time for you to die is near; call Joshua, and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.’ So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the tent of meeting.”
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As we conclude this series on the prayer life of Moses, we have seen Moses develop a very strong and personal relationship with Yahweh. Moses has come to the point where if Yahweh will not go with him personally, then Moses does not want to take a step. Now the time for Moses to die has come, and God intends a transition to Joshua.
The Time To Die Is Near. Not only did Moses face many difficult times with Yahweh during his lifetime, Moses also heard from God regarding his impending death. For each of us, that time will come, and God intends for us to be ready for it. God specifically told Moses that his death was near (Deuteronomy 31:14). As believers, we know that to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:8). As we pray, we all know that our lives on earth will end some day, and we should be planning for that day. Moses heard from God through his prayer life about the steps he should take before God called him home.
Call Joshua. As Moses prepared to die, God said call Joshua. Joshua had faithfully attended to Moses. Joshua, the servant of Moses from his youth (Numbers 11:28), went up to the mountain of God (Exodus 24:13). Joshua stood near Moses as he descended the mountain with the ten commandments written upon stone tablets. He told Moses that he heard the sound of war from the people below, but Moses knew it was the sound of singing, and then saw the the rebellion of the people as they worshipped the golden calf (Exodus 32:17-24). When Moses spoke with God face to face in the tent of meeting, Joshua stayed at the tent after Moses left to return to the camp (Exodus 33:11). Joshua also had to learn directly from Moses how to curb his jealousy for Moses, as in the case of Eldad and Medad prophesying in the camp (Numbers 11:26-30). Only Joshua and Caleb of the twelve spies sent into the promised land would return to it, and Joshua would lead the people there (Numbers 14:30). Moses had been training Joshua for years, and now the time had come to transfer the leadership to him. For all of us, we should be training up our replacements continually. As part of the discipleship program of the church, we should be praying for the men and women who will come after us, and use their spiritual gifts to the glory of God. Moses had sons, but none of them were chosen by God to continue in the position of Moses. Instead, God said: “Call Joshua.”
Write the Song. God also told Moses to write a final song, so that it would be a witness for God against the sons of Israel (Deuteronomy 31:19). During his lifetime, Moses knew that the people of God had continually strayed from God’s leadership, and now after his departure, they would surely stray from God again after they entered the promised land. There they would serve other gods, and spurn Yahweh, and break the covenant with God (Deuteronomy 31:20). Moses composed his last song, and taught the people to sing it before his death (Deuteronomy 31:30-32:44).
Keep the Law. Moses also concluded his life with an admonition to the people to observe carefully all the words of the law, for by this word they will prolong their days (Deuteronomy 32:46-47). To the very end, Moses only sought the best for the people of Israel, but he also knew that they were prone to forsake God and His covenant.
You Shall See the Land. One of the parting memories we have in Scripture regarding the prayer life of Moses comes as Moses prepared to ascend Mt. Nebo and die. From the mountain, God showed him the promised land, but reminded Moses that he broke faith with God in the midst of the sons of Israel, because Moses did not treat God as holy. God then allowed Moses to see the land which God was giving to the sons of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:52).
So we learn more about the prayer life of Moses.
● Prayer means that we know each of us will die, and so God prepares us for that time. We have the comfort of eternal life with Him, and the resurrection of our bodies. Yet, as we pray, we know that God will prepare us both to live for Him and die at the right time.
● Prayer means that we pray for the people we disciple to take our place when we leave. Just as God prepared Joshua to follow Moses, so also God intends for us to train and pray for our disciples. We must let Jesus teach them to pray through our prayer life with them.
● Prayer means that we spend time with God in holiness. God reinforces for all of us the need to sanctify God in our lives, and especially to reverence Him in our prayer lives.
Application for Today
Moses has set a wonderful example for my prayer life. I have learned to pray for my friends when they attack me and forsake God, and to never forget to use the power God has given to me. I know God as Yahweh and God Almighty, but I also know God as Jesus of Nazareth, my personal Savior. I want to learn the ways of God, so that I many know God better. As I pray, I will meditate upon the word of God, and pray the word of God to God, seeking to learn His ways. Like Moses, I do not want to take a single step unless the presence of God goes with me. Are you ready to go forward in prayer and life with Jesus today?