Joshua takes Moses’s Place
Open Your Bible
Deuteronomy 31:1-23, Numbers 20:2-12, Hebrews 13:5-6
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.