March 24, 2022 Jason Hovde

God Decides

God Decides

As we continue our plunge into the book of Deuteronomy, this Sunday we will look at how Moses only got a glimpse of the promised land across the Jordan. If you haven’t listened to the sermon from March 20, click here:

Deuteronomy 3:23–29 (ESV)

23 “And I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying, 24 ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? 25 Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ 26 But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan. 28 But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’ 29 So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor.

Moses seemed to hope that perhaps the Lord would relent and allow him to complete the mission he had started on so many years prior in Egypt. In scripture, sometimes God relents. Usually, this is based upon the contrition and repentance of those who receive an extra measure of grace. A fair question often arises in dealing with passages where God relents. Does this mean He changes His mind? What about the other scriptures that tell us He is unchanging?

God is indeed unchanging. Also, His actions are not affected by human decisions. So when those passages arise where God had decreed a judgment and then relented, we may scratch our heads and ask what is happening in these cases. To help understand this, we need to realize that what seems contradictory on its face is not necessarily so. We do not have God’s perspective on everything. We know He can provide mercy in place of judgment. He may stay his hand in punishment or discipline. Ultimately, He does what will bring Him the most glory.

So when Moses asks to be pardoned of his unfaithful act and enter the promised land, why doesn’t God give Moses what he asks for? Since we are not all-knowing, or omniscient, like God is, we cannot see all the ramifications of God’s decision. We can trust that God is always just and will always do that which is right (Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 111:7, Zephaniah 3:5). All He does benefits those who love him (Romans 8:28).

Finally, we know God will always do what brings Him the most glory. So denying Moses entry into the promised land in his lifetime is for the good of Moses, since he loved God, and ultimately will bring glory to God. We must not question God’s motives or decisions. As Paul wrote in Romans 9, God has mercy on whom he will have mercy. We are on shaky ground if we question God about His sovereign decisions.

Ultimately, God’s glory is most clearly shown in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And the glory of Jesus is to be clear in His church (Ephesians 3:21).

I’m sure it disappointed Moses that God did not allow him into the promised land, just as we regret the consequences of our own sin. Just as in Moses’ life, believers will not fully experience all the glory of God in their physical life, but since He works all things for the good of those who love Him, we can rest in knowing that despite our failures and the consequences we face in this life, we will certainly join fully into the glory of Christ in eternity if we are among those who put a saving faith in Him.

Lord, may we trust in your love for us enough to endure with patience the trials we face, including those trials that may result from our own disobedience to you. Help us to press on towards the prize, with your help. Amen

Thank you to the deaconesses for the wonderful and delicious "Spring into Life" meal they provided! It was so exciting to see the energy of Oasis Church as we move into another season of ministry. Thanks to everyone who contributes to the ministry and health of the church in so many ways. I appreciate all of you more than you could know. 

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