I’ve made lots of mistakes – as a wife, as a friend, as a daughter, and definitely as a parent. I’ve learned valuable lessons through most of them. When I can, I share that “learned by experience” wisdom with my children in the hope that they will not have to learn the same lesson the hard way.
Moses, the great deliverer and leader of Israel, made mistakes. One particular mistake cost him the blessing of entering the Promised Land. He longed for Israel to learn from his mistakes. Let’s listen in on Moses’ last words of wisdom to God’s people:
45 When Moses had finished reciting all these words to the people of Israel, 46 he added: “Take to heart all the words of warning I have given you today. Pass them on as a command to your children so they will obey every word of these instructions. 47 These instructions are not empty words—they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River.” 48 That same day the LORD said to Moses, 49 “Go to Moab, to the mountains east of the river, and climb Mount Nebo, which is across from Jericho. Look out across the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the people of Israel as their own special possession. 50 Then you will die there on the mountain. You will join your ancestors, just as Aaron, your brother, died on Mount Hor and joined his ancestors. 51 For both of you betrayed me with the Israelites at the waters of Meribah at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. You failed to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel there. 52 So you will see the land from a distance, but you may not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.” Deut 32:45-52, NLT
Moses learned a lot through his many years of serving God. But in his last words to the Israelites there were a few things he wanted to emphasize:
- God blesses obedience.
- Disobedience can bring dire consequences.
- Make sure you teach these things to your children!
Moses’ failure to honor the holiness of God at Kadesh (Numbers 20:1-13) did indeed bring dire consequences (Deut 32:51), but Moses humbly learned from his sin. He continued to faithfully serve God the rest of his life and finished well. In his last earthly moments, Moses climbed Mount Nebo and God showed him the beauty of the land the Israelites would inhabit. Then he entered into his reward.
5 So Moses, the servant of the LORD, died there in the land of Moab, just as the LORD had said. 6 The LORD buried him in a valley near Beth-peor in Moab, but to this day no one knows the exact place. 7 Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever. Deut 34:5-7, NLT
Have you made mistakes in your walk with God?
What lessons have you learned that you don’t want your children to learn the hard way?