Deuteronomy 32:48-49, “And the Lord spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying, Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:”
Deuteronomy 34:1, “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,…”
Moses, the servant of the Lord, lived 120 years upon earth. I realize that’s a few more years than we expect to live today, but I’m more than sure they passed swiftly to him. In Deuteronomy 32, Moses has come to the close of his life. He had sinned against God in Numbers 20 and the Lord spoke and said that Moses would not go over Jordan into the Land of Canaan with the Children of Israel (Numbers 20:12).
When the Lord commanded Moses to “Get thee up into this mountain”, I’m amazed as I consider the three places mentioned in scripture and how they are very similar to a child of grace’ experience in this world as they grow older and come closer to death. Please consider:
(1) Abarim (Deuteronomy 32:49). Abarim is a mountain range across Jordan, east-southeast of the Dead Sea. The name means a region beyond. As Moses walked toward the place where the Lord would take him home to Glory, he could see these mountains from a distance. When we consider Abarim and Moses experience as he neared this mountain range, it’s very similar to a child of God in their youth. Even while understanding death is real, it seems at such a distance it’s rarely something meditated upon.
(2) Pisgah (Deuteronomy 34:1). Pisgah is a ridge of mountains in Abarim. One of the definitions for Pisgah is the divided rock or rocks. It probably looked like a crown upon the mountains of Abarim, because of the way it would appear to the eye of a person who beholds from a distance (Nelson’s Bible Dictionary; Wycliffe Bible Dictionary; Ungers Bible Dictionary). When Moses drew near to Pisgah, he looked up to the jagged crown of rocks, or he could turn his eyes and look on the land of Moab. In Numbers 23:13-14, Balaam’s eyes were toward the land of Moab when he was in Pisgah. This place in Moses’ travel is very similar to a child of grace’ experience when they begin to think more on death and going home to heaven, yet they still have a grip on the things of the world. The eyes of a person in this place could look up to the Lord and meditate on their heavenly home, or have a mind drawn to the plains of Moab (this present world).
(3) Nebo (Deuteronomy 32:49). Nebo is the highest mountain of Pisgah and Abarim. It was there that the Lord took Moses home to Glory. One of the definitions for Nebo is the lofty heights. It was here where Moses came to the lofty heights of his experience of that day. It was here where he knew it was time to die. Moses pleaded with God earlier (Deut 3:25) to allow him to live and enter the Land of Canaan, but not here. In Nebo, Moses seems content to go with the Lord. This experience in Moses travels is very similar to the child of grace who has come to the end of their days. Knowing death is near and becoming weary with the struggles of this world, they are content to go with the Lord and even at times, beg the Lord to take them home to heaven. Often you will find people who feel sorry and sad for such a person, but may I say that I have rejoiced with children of God in such a state! When the child of God comes to the place when the world has nothing to offer them and they long for the better land above they have truly come to the lofty heights of their experience in this world. In 2 Timothy 4:6-7, we find a man who has come to this blessed place in his experience. Paul said “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing.” The Apostle Paul was at the lofty heights of his experience in this world. I heard an old preacher once say, the world has lost its shine and has nothing that I really want. Dear child of grace, when you see someone in the lofty heights of their experience, don’t feel sad, but rejoice with them as they draw near to the place when their sufferings and burdens of this world will end and the Lord, who redeemed them, will gather them home to glory.
Dear reader, in closing, I would like to share a precious experience the Lord blessed me to have this past week. I was asked to speak at a beloved brothers funeral service this week. I visited with him many times in the last several months and he talked to me about his desire to go home to Jesus Christ, his Savior. He, as Moses on Nebo, had come to the lofty heights of his experience in this world. The only difference was, this brother was a member of the visible Church, the Kingdom of God in this world, and Moses was not. The brother under consideration was blessed to have his view from Mount Zion, looking all around at the precious blessings of God, instead of only viewing the Land of Canaan from Nebo as Moses did. Dear child of Grace, unless the Lord returns to take us home, we all shall face death one day. My prayer is that each one of you will be comforted by the comfort of the Holy Spirit in knowing the time is near when you will see your Savior face to face. Yet, I also pray that you will understand the rich blessings of being on Mount Zion when that time comes. David said that Mount Zion was “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth”, for it is the “city of the great King”, and to that I say Amen!