Day 24

Joshua takes Moses’s Place

from the Deuteronomy reading plan

Deuteronomy 31:1-23, Numbers 20:2-12, Hebrews 13:5-6

BY Rebecca Faires

It was just after sunset and all the fireflies were out. We only have them for about three wondrous weeks in Tennessee, and the show from our hilltop is breathtaking. Walks to see the fireflies are special. 

My youngest son, Leo, and I were starting a trek up the hill in the fading light. Rowan ran out of the house to join us. I really like him too—just as much as I like Leo. But this was a walk for two. I sent the older fella back and we kept walking up the hill. On his way back to the house, I know he didn’t think it was quite fair.

It’s definitely not fair.  But I often wonder if we really want fair, or if we just want things to go our way. When my own heart cries “no fair!” I have to check myself against the Word. And anytime a child tries to plead fairness with me, I try to lead them right down the Roman Road: we are all guilty, we all have earned death, Jesus died to pay our debt, and in Him we have glorious salvation. 

The gospel isn’t fair. It’s gracious. It seems so unfair that Moses didn’t get to see the promised land. He was a man of the law. But he was forbidden from entering because of a single offense. God brought the Israelites, who spent years complaining in the wilderness, “into the land [He] swore to them” (Deuteronomy 31:23). The faithfulness of God has never been dependent on the faithfulness of men. It isn’t rooted in our sense of fairness, our timing, or our preferences. Every good gift is from God’s own hand. Every gift is full of grace.

And boy, do we need that grace because we just don’t have the full picture here on earth. Our hearts clamor for temporal fairness, but God offers us eternal grace. Moses didn’t set foot in Canaan, yet he inherited eternal fellowship with God. Like all of us Israelites at heart, he received grace upon grace, to inherit a promise that he did not deserve.

From our earthly perspective, it’s pretty hard to parse out what we do or don’t deserve. Did Rowan deserve to walk with us to the top of the hill to see fireflies? I could have taken him along, but he also needed the blessing of a good night’s rest, and Leo needed some extra time with his mama. I’m an imperfect caretaker. But God is perfect, and He invites us to join Him on some walks and to see some wonders in His good providence. We can fix our hope on the God who replaces “fair” with “beauty, goodness, and truth.” Thanks be to God.

Post Comments (47)

47 thoughts on "Joshua takes Moses’s Place"

  1. j d says:

    I was also concerned about the treatment of the children here. The point surely is that neither child ‘deserved’ a trip up to the fireflies and neither should ever have to deserve, or earn such a trip. Sending one child back as a consequence for bad behaviour if they had been well warned in advance might be ok, but sending back a child simply because the parent wanted them to learn life isn’t fair seems very harsh on little ones. Let them both enjoy the grace of a special trip and don’t deny one of them a special nature experience, and particularly don’t justify being harsh on one of them with some theological explanation. It did sort of have echoes of coercive control, where the parent, int his case, runs the roost and gets whatever they want when they want it, regardless of any one else’s feelings.

  2. SarahGrace says:

    I’m very much hoping Rowan is the husband and not another child. Even for a spouse I don’t think what this lady did was great, surely if someone wants to see the beauty of the fireflies they should be free to, even if she didn’t want him with them, he could go separately, to see the beauty and the wonder…It really unsettled me, and it didn’t seem about fairness at all, but more about control, it felt like she was trying to control Rowan’s life.

  3. Gwen Dunn says:

    How distracted and blinded the world and I can be judging God’s “unfairness” rather than praising Him for all the blessings poured upon us/me! How good you are, God!

  4. Sam says:

    Early this morning, I battled a fresh case of morning sickness on my way to drop off my husband for yet another deployment. My heart was screaming “This isn’t fair!”

    So thankful for this devotion reminding me that God can use this time where I want fair to show me His “beauty, goodness, and truth.” Though, I know I will feel alone during this time I am choosing to focus on Deuteronomy 31:6 “For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; He will not leave you or abandon you.”

    Thank you SRT!

  5. Alexandra Dent says:


  6. Karen Roper says:

    Thanks for that devotion. Often we want fair at someone else’s expense. May I continue to show grace when circumstances don’t seem fair❤️❤️

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