In Numbers 20 we find Moses and Aaron again surrounded by people who wanted water. The Lord tells them to speak to the rock, but Moses strikes it twice instead. It is here that we find out the Moses and Aaron will not be entering the promised land. Numbers 20:12 says it like this “But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’” This is a tough blow to Moses and Aaron. At the beginning of Deuteronomy, we find Moses telling the whole story of the wilderness to the Israelites, so that they would remember and know it. By this time the generation that refused to go in has died and the Lord has already told Moses that he was going to die as well. In Chapter 3 we find Moses recounting an interesting conversation between the Lord and himself.
Deuteronomy 3:23 At that time I pleaded with the LORD: 24 "O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? 25 Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan-- that fine hill country and Lebanon." 26 But because of you the LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. "That is enough," the LORD said. "Do not speak to me anymore about this matter. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan. 28 But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see."
So, Moses teaches and reminds the Israelites all that the Lord had done and then he encourages them not to forget as well. He is no longer going to be there to remind them, and they can’t forget, so in Chapter 4 of Deuteronomy we hear Moses pleading with them not to forget. Deuteronomy 4:9 says “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
As I was reading this passage during my daily reading the phrase “do not…let them slip from your hearts” jumped out at me. Have we let the memory of the work of God in my life, in lives of those around me, even in the past and stories that we have heard and read, slip from our hearts? That 9th verse has three phrases I want you to think about - don’t forget, don’t let them slip and teach them. I think they key one is “teach them”. If we are teaching them, we haven’t forgotten them, and we haven’t let them slip. Have you been teaching, sharing those stories of the work of God in your life, the movement of God in the lives of those around you, the stories that you have heard from saints in the past, and the stories we continue to read in the scriptures?
I’m sure Moses wanted to go into the promised land and have some fulfillment of this work that he had spent 40 years doing, but I also think part of it was the worry that the people would forget. But it couldn’t be all Moses, the story has to be passed on. If you have given your life to Christ, you have a story that needs to be passed on, don’t let it slip in your heart and don’t let it be forgotten. Who are you sharing it with? Who are you “teaching” it to?
Rev. Lynn Beach is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, and they have two adorable daughters. He has been at Park Church since July 2013.