Tag Archives: church

Passing the Torch: Lessons in Leadership Succession (2 Samuel 1-4)

Daily reading assignment: 2 Samuel 1-4

As we open our Bibles to 2 Samuel, we find David and Israel entering a new era.  King Saul and his son Jonathan have been slain in battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 31).

An Amalekite soldier fabricated a claim that he had slain Saul in an act of mercy to spare him the indignity of falling into the hands of the Philistines (2 Samuel 1:1-10).  The truth was, Saul had fallen upon his own sword (1 Samuel 31:4).

Rather than rejoicing in the death of Saul, David mourned his death and ordered the man who claimed to have slain him put to death (1:11-16). Three times David lamented the deaths of King Saul and his sons (1:19, 25, 27).

The closing verses of 2 Samuel 1 express in poetic tones the grievous loss of Jonathan, David’s confidant and friend (1:25-27). 

Some have tried to paint David’s lament for the death of his friend as a twisted validation of sodomy…it is not!  Not only is sodomy condemned in God’s Law (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; Romans 1:26-27); it would never be rendered in a song for the people to sing.  David’s love for Jonathan was one of mutual trust; such a friend is rare indeed!

2 Samuel 2

David has waited more than a decade to be king.  With Saul dead, David turned to the LORD for wisdom, asking, “Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?”  (2:1).  With the LORD’s blessing, David went up to Hebron and was crowned king by the men of the tribe of Judah (2:2-4).

David immediately faced opposition from Abner, Saul’s nephew who moved to make Ishbosheth, a surviving son of Saul, king (2:9-10).  Abner’s opposition to David, coupled with Ishbosheth’s weak character, plunged the nation into a civil war (2:10-11) that would last over 7 years.

2 Samuel 3 – Three Principles for Leadership Succession

In spite of opposition, God blessed David and he “waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker” (3:1). Three principles are evident in David’s patience in the midst of conflict.

The first: Time is always on the side of the righteous.  The prophet Isaiah assured God’s people:

Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon that is formed [fashioned; made] against thee shall prosper [succeed]; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn [show to be in the wrong]. This [triumph of righteousness] is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [vindication; victory; success] is of me, saith the LORD.”

The second: Truth will triumph!  Men like Abner and Ishbosheth play the fool and are doomed when they oppose the will of the LORD.

The third: The lust for power, position, and influence is self-destructive in politics, business, and ministry. 

It seems to me that three manner of men rise to power and position in our world: the weak who, like Ishbosheth have connections; the strong who, like Abner are driven by greed and manipulate others to promote themselves; the third, God’s anointed who, like David are called, equipped, and dependent on God for promotion.

I have found churches, Bible colleges, and other religious institutions tend to fall prey to the same fallacies for a succession of leadership.

Some believe bloodlines (family) and relationships (friendships, peers, colleagues) will somehow assure success.

Churches, pulpit committees, and boards of institutions look for flashy, well-spoken, charismatic leaders and learn too late they chose the proverbial “flash in the pan” and failed to choose God’s anointed.

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

“The LORD, A Shelter in the Time of Storms” (Psalms 121, 123-125, 128-130)

Scripture Reading Assignment – Psalms 121, 123-125, 128-130

The focus of today’s devotional commentary will be exclusively Psalm 121. Some refer to Psalm 121as the “Pilgrim’s Psalm”, believing it was sung by saints of God on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship during the Feasts, and offer sacrifices to the LORD.

The journey to Jerusalem could be dangerous. When it rained in Jerusalem, deep ravines could suddenly be filled with rushing streams as the waters flowed to the Dead Sea. There was also the danger that thieves and robbers would be hiding in the mountain passages waiting for an opportunity to rob pilgrims going on their way to Jerusalem. The story of the pilgrim who fell among robbers in the parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind (Luke 10:30-37)

I suggest four major points for Psalm 121.

Pledge: The psalmist vowed, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help [aid]” (121:1).  I am not certain the dangers the psalmist faced; however, I know where he looked for help… “the hills” (121:1).  He did not look to himself, live by his wits, or to others hoping they might come and save him.  His confidence was in the LORD.

Promise: The psalmist was confident the LORD would come to his aid (121:2).

 

Psalm 121:2 – “My help [aid] cometh from the LORD [Yahweh; Jehovah; Eternal, Self-Existent God], which made [created; fashioned] heaven [sky; sun, stars, moon] and earth [land].”

The author was confident the Creator of heaven and earth was both Sovereign and Sustainer of His creation. He had faith the LORD would come to his aid in a time of trouble.

Protection (121:3-7). Like a citadel who stands guard, the psalmist twice affirms the Lord is the keeper, guard and watchman of His people. Unlike man whose physical being demands rest and sleep, the LORD never slumbers or sleeps (121:3-4). 

Psalm 121:3-4 – “He [the LORD] will not suffer thy foot [walk] to be moved [waver; shake]: he that keepeth [guard; watch; preserve] thee will not slumber [sleep]. 4 Behold, He [the LORD] that keepeth [guard; watch; preserve] Israel [posterity of Jacob] shall neither slumber [sleep; i.e. be drowsy] nor sleep [slack; i.e. grow old].”

A sentinel may fall asleep at his post. A mother might fall asleep from exhaustion by her sick child. The LORD, however, never sleep or slumbers.  Like a shepherd keeps his sheep from danger, the LORD keeps watch over His people (Israel) (121:5).  He is the “shade,” a retreat, a place of refreshing where one’s strength is revived (121:5).

The LORD is the guardian of His people and protects them “from all evil” (121:7). That does not mean “bad things” do not happen to God’s people; however, it does mean God is able to turn “bad things” into good (Romans 8:28) for those who love Him, are called according to His purpose and place their trust in Him.  David writes the same when he assures us:

Psalm 91:9-10 – “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10  There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”

Perpetual Shepherd – The LORD is a “for evermore” watchman (121:8).

Psalm 121:8 – “The LORD shall preserve [guard; watch] thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore [perpetually].”

Like a shepherd keeps watch over his sheep, the psalmist assures His people, “the LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in” (121:8a).

He keeps us when we rise in the morning until we lay our head on the pillow in the evening.  The LORD keeps us when we are young and strong and when we grow old and frail.  The LORD is with us in health and in sickness! When we travel afar and when our steps lead home, the LORD is with us.  He is with us in our down sittings and our uprisings. The saints of the LORD are forever secure in Him.

 Psalm 23:6 – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

This is Your Invitation to Join Hillsdale for this Sunday’s “Virtual Worship Services”

You are invited to Hillsdale’s Virtual Worship Services this Sunday.
Youth Pastor Justin Jarrett teaches the Teen Bible Study at 9:45 AM, continuing his study of the Book of James. This week’s study is titled, “Playing Favorites: When Style Matters More Than Souls,” from James 2:1-13.
The Pastoral Staff Quintet opens the 10:30 AM service with a great number for trying times: “Walking Through the Flames.” Jenna and Kelly Armstrong, daughters of Steve and Sharon Armstrong, will be singing before the morning message.
The title of this week’s message is, “No Time for Worry or Fear” and is taken from Psalm 27. I trust you will have your Bible in hand and this week’s sermon notes.
With the heart of a shepherd,
Pastor Travis D. Smith

An Invitation and Devotional Commentary titled: Sin Will Rob You of Everything You Hold Dear. (1 Samuel 28-31)

Dear Heart of a Shepherd Followers,

It is my joy to come to you with a greeting and an abbreviated video of today’s devotional commentary over 1 Samuel 28-31. We are closing out our study of that historical book and I trust you will set aside time today to read those chapters.

The pastoral staff and I are looking forward to joining you through our Sunday Virtual Worship Services. Youth Pastor Justin Jarrett will be teaching the Teen Bible Study Hour beginning at 9:45 AM. He is continuing his study of the Book of James and this weeks study is titled, “Playing Favorites: When Style Matters More Than Souls”, from James 2:1-13.

The Teen Study will be followed by an interlude of choral pieces presented by Hillsdale’s choir under the direction of Pastor Steve Armstrong. Around 10:25 AM our services will go live with Ministry Intern Thomas Simpson on the piano and showing slides of current announcements.

After I open the 10:30 AM worship service with a greeting and prayer, the Staff Quintet will sing a great number titled, “Walking Through the Flames.” Jenna and Kelly Armstrong, daughters of Steve and Sharon Armstrong are joining us this week and will be singing before the message.

The title of this week’s message is, “No Time for Worry or Fear” and is taken from Psalm 27.

I trust you will join us with your Bible in hand, my sermon notes (sent out Sunday morning), and the hymns we will send out later today.

With the heart of a shepherd,

Pastor Travis D. Smith

Sin Will Rob You of Everything You Hold Dear. (1 Samuel 28-31)

Daily reading assignment: 1 Samuel 28-31

Knowing Saul was bent on killing him, David and his warriors had withdrawn from Israel and for sixteen months lived among the Philistines (27:8-11). Having earned the trust of Achish, king of the Philistines, David and his men prospered. Indeed, the opening verses of 1 Samuel 28 finds David being invited by Achish to go to battle with the Philistines against Israel (28:1-2).

1 Samuel 28 – A Portrait of Desperation

(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Samuel is dead and Saul and all Israel lament his passing (28:3). Having put away some of the evil present in the land, Saul sees the armies of the Philistines gathered against Israel. Out of fear and desperation, Saul made a pretense of seeking the LORD (28:4-6); however, heaven was silent.

The king had rejected the LORD, and now the LORD rejected him. “The LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim (meaning the high priest), nor by prophets” (28:6).

Desperate and seeking a revelation for the battle he would soon face, Saul disguised himself and reverted back to the practice of divination, the practice he had just recently put out of the land. Saul sought the counsel of a witch (28:7-10; Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31). Asked whom he was seeking, Saul requested Samuel be called from the dead (28:11). When Samuel’s visage appeared the witch realized her guest was the king (28:12).

Saul confessed, “God is departed from me, and answereth me no more” (28:15). Rather than give hope, Samuel warned the battle that would follow would bring the death of Saul and his sons, and the throne of Israel would pass to David (28:17-18). Saul learned the tragic consequences of his sins for himself, his sons, and the nation.

1 Samuel 28:19Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

Terrified, Saul “fell straightway all along on the earth” (28:20).

1 Samuel 29 – A Providential Dismissal from Battle

Unlike King Achish, the princes of the Philistines did not trust that David would war against Israel and demanded he and his men be removed from the battle lest they turn their swords against them (29:1-5).

Achish yielded to his leaders’ demands and dismissed David and his men (29:6-7).  David pretended to protest his dismissal from the battle (29:8) and retreated from the field early in the morning (29:11).

1 Samuel 30 – Tragedy in Ziklag

After a three days journey to their homes in Ziklag, David and his men found the Amalekites had attacked their city, destroying their homes by fire and taking their wives, sons, and daughters captive (30:1-4). Overcome with grief, the hearts of David’s men were stirred to revenge, and some would have stoned him (30:6a).

How did David respond? Like a man after God’s own heart: “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” and “enquired at the LORD” (30:6, 8).  Learning where the Amalekites had taken their loved ones (30:9-16), God answered David’s prayer and restored to him and his men their families and possessions (30:17-20).

1 Samuel 31 – The King is Dead!

One might feel compassion for Saul in the latter years of his life and reign.  The king was old, and the strength and vitality of his youth had faded.  He had made David, the man who had served him faithfully, his enemy. Saul was haunted by the knowledge the LORD was no longer with him (28:6).

On the next day, the battle went against Israel, and Saul received word his sons were dead and the army was in disarray (31:1-2).  Having suffered a mortal wound from an arrow, Saul commanded his armor bearer to slay him, but his servant refused.  Realizing he would soon fall into the hands of his enemy, Saul fell upon his own sword (31:3-4).  Adding to his ignoble death, when Saul’s body was discovered on the battlefield, the Philistines cut off his head, stripped his body of his armor, and “put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan” (31:10; 1 Chronicles 10:8-10).

Sin and disobedience cost Saul everything. He lost his army (31:1), his sons (31:2), his life (31:3-4), and his honor (31:9-10).

Numbers 32:23 warns: “Your sin will find you out” and James concludes, when it is finished, brings forth death (James 1:15b).

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

Your Invitation to Hillsdale’s “Virtual Services” this Resurrection Sunday Morning

You are invited to join Hillsdale’s “Virtual Services” as we celebrate the Resurrection this Sunday morning. You can follow our live broadcast on Hillsdale’s Facebook Page or our website at http://www.HillsdaleBaptist.org.

Pastor Justin Jarrett will be teaching the Teen Bible Study at 9:45 AM. An interlude of choral recordings featuring Hillsdale’s choir will follow from 10:15-10:25 AM.

Hillsdale’s morning worship hour will go LIVE at 10:25 AM and features favorite hymns on the resurrection song sheets 4 15 2020, special music by Hillsdale’s Pastoral Staff, and a duet by Pastor Armstrong and his daughter Jenna.

Pastor Smith will be preaching from Matthew 28 a message titled, “He is Risen, As He Said!” You are encouraged to print out copies of the student outline. He is Risen, as He Said – April 12, 2020 AM student blank

To remind you there is life beyond the 24\7 Coronavirus news coverage, catch up on Hillsdale’s news by clicking on this link: Announcements – 4-12-20

PLEASE SHARE AND INVITE OTHERS!

With the heart of a shepherd,

Pastor Travis D. Smith

You Are Invited to Hillsdale’s Virtual Worship Services

Good morning!

We are continuing our virtual ministry to our church family and friends this morning. At 9:45 AM, youth pastor Justin Jarrett will teach a teen Bible study for the family on www.HillsdaleBaptist.org.

An interlude of recordings from Hillsdale’s choir and musicians will follow at 10:15-10:30 AM.

You are invited to join the pastoral staff for an hour of worship, music, prayer, and Bible study at 10:30 AM.  We will share updates on our ministry, have a time of prayer as a “virtual congregation,” and I will continue my series in Psalm 91.

I am attaching a link for a PDF copy of today’s student outline and invite you to print it out for use during the 10:30 AM service at www.HillsdaleBaptist.org.

Don’t forget, in addition to my daily devotional commentaries (today’s will be posted this afternoon), Family Pastor Eric Peterman and ministry intern Thomas Simpson are posting brief video clips for children on Hillsdale’s Facebook page. You are invited to check them out!

02 – God’s Answer to Worry and Anxiety – Psalm 91.8-13 – (part 2) student blank

With the heart of a shepherd,

Pastor Travis D. Smith

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

Whom or What are You Serving? (Joshua 22-24)

Daily reading assignment: Joshua 22-24

Joshua 22 – A Misunderstanding Led to a Threat of Civil War

The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half of the tribe of Manasseh had requested of Moses to grant them the pasture lands on the east side of the Jordan River (Numbers 32; Deuteronomy 3:12-20).

Seven years had passed before the new land was at peace and the warriors of Israel were allowed to lay down their swords and shields. With Israel at rest and the lands assigned by tribe, the warriors of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh were discharged from their duties and allowed to return to their families and lands on the east side of the Jordan (22:1-9).

Joshua challenged the men returning to their families to be diligent to observe the Commandments and the Law given by Moses. He urged them to cleave to the LORD and serve Him with all their hearts. (22:5).

Erecting a memorial to their covenant with the other tribes, the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an altar on the east side of the Jordan that nearly became a provocation for war (22:10).  A threat of civil war soon followed as the western tribes misunderstood the purpose of the altar and feared the other tribes had departed from the God of Israel (22:11-12).

Wisely, before blood was shed, a delegation was sent to investigate the intent of the structure. Rather than a place of worship and sacrifice as they feared, they found the altar was a memorial for future generations to remember their covenant with the LORD and the Twelve Tribes of Israel  (22:13-34). The investigation embodies a spiritual principle for us all:

Proverbs 18:13 – “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

Joshua 23-24 – Joshua’s Final Challenge and Address

“Old and stricken in age,” Joshua gathered the leaders of Israel for a parting exhortation before his death (23:1-2).  Like the great leader he was, he foresaw the challenges Israel would face in the years ahead when he was departed. Joshua’s words echo the passion of every godly leader who longs to see God’s people walk in the ways of the LORD.

He reminded them how the LORD had fought for and never forsook them (23:4-10).  He challenged them to keep God’s Word (23:6), cleave to the LORD (23:8), and love the LORD (23:11).  He warned: Compromise with the heathen and you will invite God’s judgment (23:12-16).

At Shechem (24:1), the same place Abraham had received God’s promise that his lineage would inherit the land (Genesis 12:6-7), Joshua began to rehearse God’s promises and providences.

He recalled God had chosen Abraham (24:2-4), delivered Israel out of Egypt (24:5-7), and guided them through the wilderness (24:7-10).  He reminded the people that God had given them the land as He had promised (24:11-13) and challenged them to revere and serve the LORD (24:14-28). Lastly, Joshua exhorted the people to declare their devotion to the LORD with a covenant to memorialize their vow to serve Him (24:25-28).

The Book of Joshua closes with the death of a generation of leaders and three burials.  Joshua, the successor of Moses died at 110 years old and was buried (24:29-30).  Fulfilling Joseph’s request (Genesis 50:25), his bones were buried on the land owned by his father Jacob (24:32).  Finally, Eleazar the high priest and the son of Aaron, died and was buried (24:33).

Like it was with Israel, so it is with every man and woman reading this devotional:

We must individually decide whether or not we will serve the LORD with our whole heart (24:14-24).

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

Slackers Stumble, but the Faithful Claim God’s Promises (Joshua 16-18)

Scripture Reading – Joshua 16-18

Today’s devotional reading does not have the drama of battle or the clash of personalities we have observed in earlier chapters. For the Twelve Tribes of Israel, this begins the division of the Promised Land after the heathen, idolatrous people were driven out of Canaan.

We have considered the land assigned to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and the half-tribe of Manasseh on the east side of the Jordan River (Joshua 12:6, 13:8, 15, 23-32). Of course, the Levites would receive no land for an inheritance, but the tribes would allot them cities and land in their midst for their service to the LORD (13:33; 14:3-5). The tribe of Judah was assigned its land (14:6; 15:1-63).

Joseph, the eleventh born son of Jacob, was abundantly blessed for his faithfulness to the LORD in Egypt, and his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, born in Egypt, were each given their own inheritance in the land (Joshua 16:1-4). The inheritance of the tribe of Ephraim, Joseph’s younger son, is outlined (16:1-10) as well as the failure of the tribe to drive out “the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer” (16:10).

Joshua 17

The tribe of Manasseh, Joseph’s eldest son, received a double portion, not only a portion of the land on the east side of Jordan, but also on the west side of Jordan (17:1-18). Two daughters, born to a father who had no sons and therefore no male heir, had petitioned Moses, and Joseph was reminded they ought to receive an inheritance in the absence of a male heir (17:3-4). Like Ephraim, we notice the failure of Manasseh to “drive out the inhabitants” of the land (17:12-13).

A humorous exchange takes place between Joshua and Ephraim and Manasseh when those tribes complained they were not receiving a rightful portion of land based on the size of their tribes (17:14-18). Joshua challenged them to go to war against the “Perizzites” and the “giants” in the land and claim the land for their children (17:15). Joshua refused to accept their protests and challenged them a second time, “Thou art a great people, and hast power” (17:17-18).

Joshua 18

The LORD commanded the Tabernacle to be erected in Shiloh where it would remain throughout the era of the Judges (18:1). The narrative concerning the dividing of the land among the twelve tribes continues in Joshua 18.  Seven tribes had failed to claim their land and Joshua confronted them saying, “How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?” (18:3)

Joshua then set forth a plan for dividing up the remaining territories among the seven remaining tribes (18:4-28).  He challenged them to survey the land and come back with a description of the towns and the land to be divided up at the Tabernacle in Shiloh (18:10).  The tribe of Benjamin was also assigned its land with its boundaries stated (18:11-28).

Half-hearted (18:2-3), what a tragic flaw of humanity we see in the seven tribes that we too often see in ourselves! The land was at peace and theirs to claim and settle, and yet they were slackers. They failed to take and possess what the LORD had given them!

Let us not be numbered among the spiritually half-hearted slackers.  May we, like Joshua, be diligent in following the LORD’s commands, claim the blessings that come from faithfulness, and rest in His love, promises, and bountiful care.

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

An Obituary: “The Greatest of Men Have Their Appointment with Death” (Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalm 91)

Daily reading assignment – Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalm 91

Deuteronomy 32 – The Elegy of Moses

The Lord commanded Moses to write and teach the nation of Israel a song (Deuteronomy 31:19-22); the purpose of the song was to memorialize the LORD’S covenant with the people, and remind them of His promises. As a song, the words would serve as “a witness for [the LORD] against the children of Israel” (31:19). While some foolishly dismiss the law and commandments today and contend they are irrelevant; the fact is they serve for us as a reminder that God is holy and requires the same of His people.

Deuteronomy 32:1-43 records the words and message of the song Moses was to teach to the people before his death. Verses 1-2 serve as the introduction to the song and admonishes the people to “give ear,” listen up, open your ears.

Notice a contrast is drawn between the character of the LORD and the character of the people He had chosen (32:5-6).

The LORD is described as the “Rock,” and compared to the vastness of a great boulder, a mountain, a place of refuge. He is perfect in His work. His judgment is truth, without sin or prejudice. He is a just, righteous God (32:5).

The people, however, were “corrupted,” decaying, dirty, wasting, and perverse (32:5-6). The LORD had blessed them with His loving favor; however, Israel was a rebellious nation (32:6).

Moses invited the children of Israel to remember the LORD had preserved them from generations past, and even before they existed as a nation, He counted them as His people (32:7-9). Like an eagle stirs up her nest and protects her young with her wings, the LORD had watched over, loved, disciplined, and provided for Israel as a father (32:10-14).

Yet for all the good the LORD had done for them, the nation had rebelled and turned from Him to worship idols (32:15-18), and provoked the LORD to jealousy (32:19-43). When Moses’ song was finished, He challenged the people to “observe to do, all the words of this law” (32:44-47).

The LORD then commanded Moses to go up into the mountain where he would see the “land of Canaan” as God had promised and there he would die and “be gathered unto thy [his] people” (32:48-50). Moses was reminded he had sinned against the LORD and would not be allowed to accompany Israel into the Promised Land (32:51-52).

Deuteronomy 33 – The Blessing of Moses

Before Moses went up into the mountain he graced the people with words of blessing and affirmation (33:1-3) and reminded them how the LORD had been with them and established His covenant with the nation.

The Twelve Tribes of Israel are individually named and each received its own blessing from Moses (33:6-25). His blessings being ended, Moses rejoiced in the LORD’s care of His people and reminded them God was their refuge, their fortress, their security (33:26-27). He promised them the land would be fruitful because the LORD had chosen to bless them and He alone could preserve them (33:28-29).

Deuteronomy 34 – The Death of Moses

What an incredible, intimate moment we are permitted to share when the LORD takes Moses up mount Nebo (34:1), and the faithful old servant is shown by God the land He had promised Israel for an inheritance. We read,

Deuteronomy 34:44  And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

Moses died that day and the LORD buried him “in a valley in the land of Moab…but no man knoweth of his sepulchre” (34:6). Some suggest the LORD, not man, burying the body of Moses was intended to preserve it from decay. I believe the place Moses was buried was never revealed lest some in Israel be tempted to memorialize the man, and not the God he served.

Though old in years, the scriptures indicate God had preserved Moses from some of the ravages of old age; “his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (34:7).

Moses never came down from the mount and for thirty days (34:8) the people mourned His death. There was never again a prophet-leader like Moses “whom the LORD knew face to face” (34:10-12). His passing was not only the passing of a man, it was also the passing of an era. God had already chosen and prepared Joshua, a man “full of the spirit of wisdom” (34:9), to lead Israel into the Promised Land

When the days of mourning were past, the LORD gave Joshua the command, “arise, go over this Jordan” (Joshua 1:2).

Psalm 91 – Providentially, my scripture text for this Sunday morning’s message to the Hillsdale church family is Psalm 91.

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith