32 Looking Over the Jordan

Choose Life

By David Young, August 08, 2021

Sermon Notes PDF

Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the LORD showed him the whole land. (Deuteronomy 34:1)

Crossing Jordan

Each of us is sustained by hope—the belief that the future is brighter. Hope comforts us, unites us, and draws us forward. When the Israelites stood on the bank of the Jordan,their hearts were filled with hope. One day, we, too, will cross the Jordan, and this hope sustains us even today. “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

The Death of Moses (34:1-12)

  • Deut. 34:1-4. This is the land. God was faithful to the promise He had made to Abraham 400 years earlier. Mt. Pisgah. A peak on Mt. Nebo. City of Palms. Jericho is the lowest and oldest city on earth, (1,200 ft below sea level) still known for its many date palm trees.
  • 34:5-8. Buried there. Moses died on Mt. Nebo, and his grave was left unmarked, perhaps to prevent Israel from worshiping him. Cf., Jude 9, which mentions an argument among the spirits as to the body of Moses. A mosque on the west side of Jordan (Nabi Musa) is claimed by locals to be the site of his grave. Thirty days. Egyptians mummified the dead for 40 days, and mourned another 30 days (Gen. 50:1). For Moses, Israel only mourned for 30 days, perhaps indicating an end to Egyptian burial practices for the Jews. Finally, the days of Egyptian sway in Israel were over.
  • 34:9. Joshua. A Hebrew name meaning “The Lord saves,” it is the same as “Jesus” in the NT. Joshua was discipled by Moses himself.
  • 34:10-12. No prophet. Until Jesus came, there was no leader who rivaled Moses in prominence, though Jesus is infinitely greater than Moses (see Matthew 17:1-5). Though Moses was a sinner, He was also a mighty man of God who knew God face to face, stood up to the most powerful king in the world, and performed many miracles. For a glimpse into the heart of Moses, see the melancholy song of Psalm 90, attributed to Moses and perhaps written about Moses’ own failure to enter the land.

Moses and Jesus

Though Moses was a great prophet and man of God, Jesus is the actual Son of God—God incarnate. This makes Jesus infinitely more important than Moses (cf., Acts 3:18-26). Jesus teaches us that we must preach and practice Deuteronomy (Matt. 5:17-20), but only through the eyes of Jesus. We embrace the timeless precepts of Deuteronomy, but not the actual statutes (see Matt. 5:17-48; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 10:26-28; 24:44-46; etc.). The early church rightly understood that the actual statutes of the Old Testament were limited to Israel—a specific time and people-group (Acts 15:1-31). Jesus is of greater honor than Moses (Hebrews 3:3). He is the Son over God’s house where Moses was only a servant in God’s house (Heb. 3:4-6). Jesus brings a greater Sabbath rest than did Moses (Heb. 3:7-4:11), a greater tabernacle, a greater covenant, and a greater salvation (Heb. 9:1-10:31). Though Deuteronomy is our book (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11), we read it through Jesus, God’s beloved Son. Listen to Jesus!

Obedience and Hope

  1. At the beginning of this lesson series, you were challenged to select and strengthen your obedience in 2 or 3 areas of life. The top five areas given by North Blvd members were that we would (1) grow in our prayer life/quiet time, (2) become a better spouse/parent, (3) lose weight/eat healthier, (4) develop a more positive attitude, (5) grow in trust and shrink in worry. Are you still praying for these? How has it gone? Rate your growth from one to ten: . What should you do next?
  2. Regardless of where you are in life, Christ can always open a new chapter for you. What chapter do you need Christ to write next? What obedient steps should you take next?
  3. One day you will cross the Jordan yourself. What do you hope to find there? Who do you long to see? What are you eager to leave behind?

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

King Josiah and Deuteronomy

In the late 7th century B.C., King Josiah of Judah sent some servants to clean out the Temple in Jerusalem. While there, they discovered “the book of the Law,” which had been neglected for years (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35). When Josiah realized that the Israelites had not been faithful to this book, he tore his clothes and called a meeting of Israel’s leaders to discuss the need to repent. They read the entire book to the Jews. Then, in obedience, they banished the worship of any other god and removed any remnant of Baal worship in Israel. They reinstituted the Passover and made many other reforms. Most scholars believe that the book Josiah found was none other than the book of Deuteronomy, and through his obedience to the book, Josiah averted the book’s penalties and enjoyed its blessings. May you, too, rediscover the book of Deuteronomy, and enjoy the blessings that come from obedience to the Word of God!

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