Jump Start #3238
Jump Start # 3238
Deuteronomy 31:14 “Then 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.’”
I have begun a new study on the life of Joshua. What a fascinating and powerful character he is. A leader. A warrior. Faithful to God. He had the tough assignment of filling the shoes of Moses. Jericho walls falling. Jordan River parting. The sun standing still. He was one of the optimistic spies. Great, great lessons found through Joshua and so many times, by Moses and by the Lord, Joshua is told to “be courageous.”
Our verse today begins the transition from Moses to Joshua. Navigating through changes isn’t easy. Some don’t do well with change. Joshua handles it well. Moses was staying and Joshua was moving on. Moses was the past and Joshua as the future. Moses had been and now Joshua will be.
To accomplish this, Moses and Joshua were to both be at the tent of meeting. There God would put Joshua in charge. But within our verse is this very interesting expression, “the time for you to die is near.” The CEB states this, “It’s almost time for you to die.”
This is worded like a parent telling a child, “It’s bed time.” Or, the five o’clock whistle blows at the factory and someone says, “It’s time to go home.” It’s time to die. Paul said centuries later, “The time of my departure has come.” Paul wasn’t talking about catching a flight. He was referring to his death. It’s time to die.
First, God is the one who decides when that time will be. Sometimes declining health leads loved ones with the strong idea that death is near. They are not shocked when it happens. It is not up to us to decide when that time is. Life and death are in the hands of the Lord and we need to leave them there.
Second, some will never be ready. Give them another complete lifetime and they still wouldn’t be ready. Never thinking of the eternal, never reading God’s holy word, never stepping inside a church building for worship, these out of sight—out of mind folks try to squeeze every drop out of life. Someday, it will be the time to die. God knows that. Do we? God told Hezekiah to “set his house in order,” because he was going to die. It sure seems that there is a lot of lives “out of order” these days.
Third, the value of life is not measured in how long you have lived, but what have you done, or simply, how you have lived those years. Most remember from childhood Bible classes that Methuselah was the oldest man in the Bible. He lived to e 969 year old. He lived. He lived a long time. But what we don’t see are any good deeds, people helped or lives touched for the better. Simply living a long time isn’t saying much. It’s those who have poured purpose and direction into those years that makes all the difference.
Fourth, it’s time to die, is a statement that will be received well by some. Some are ready. Some are tired. Some have done about all that they could do. But for others, they’d like to have a little more time. Still things that they’d like to get done. Still things that they want to accomplish. Some will be glad and others will be sad, when that declaration is made.
Moses seems to have taken well the statement from God. He shows up at the tent with Joshua. He hasn’t run the other way. He hasn’t found the local bar and tried to drink himself into unconsciousness. He doesn’t seem to be angry with the Lord. God has been with him for a long, long time. Incredible things have taken place through him because of God. And, now, it’s time.
I wonder how you and I would handle hearing a statement like this from the Lord? “It’s time for you to die,” can not be mistaken. It’s clear. It’s absolute. And coming from the Lord, there is no higher power to appeal to. There’s no, “going to the top,” with your objection. God is the top.
These words to Moses reminds me of Solomon’s picture of life in Ecclesiastes three. There is a time to be born and a time to die. Every grave has two dates, a birth and a death date. Both are declared and determined by God. We don’t have a say as to when we want to be born, and when it’s time to die, it will be God who determines that. But between those two dates is a dash. That dash is our life. It’s the choices, attitudes and direction that we took our lives. God gives the birth date. God gives the death date. The dash is given to us. What do we do with that time?
So as we launch into a new year, let us be mindful of the days God gives us. Let us use each day for the glory of the Lord and the benefit of others. Let us realize, the time to die is approaching. That can scare us. That can make us fight it. Or, we can use this time to be ready.
I wonder what Moses thought when he heard those words? I wonder what I will think when it’s my time? It’s time to die…