The Death of Moses

Open Your Bible

Deuteronomy 33:1-29, Deuteronomy 34:1-12, John 1:14-18, Hebrews 3:1-6

Cemeteries are filled with epitaphs engraved on tombstones, honoring the lives of departed loved ones. With just a few words or short phrases, they give insight into who the person was and what they meant to those whose lives they touched. Deuteronomy 34, the shortest chapter in the book, is a beautiful epitaph to a life lived in dedication to God. 

So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the LORD’s word (Deuteronomy 34:5).

The writer of this section of Deuteronomy could have added more titles to this verse: prophet, great lawgiver, and worker of miracles. Instead, Moses is simply referred to as the servant of the Lord. Some of his works are listed later, but “servant of the LORD” (v.5) captures the essence of Moses’s life.

For decades Moses faithfully served the Lord, leading the people God had entrusted to him out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and finally to the borders of the promised land. However, he could not enjoy Canaan with them because of a disobedience committed earlier in their desert journey (v.4).

It’s tempting to focus on the unfairness (from our perspective) of Moses missing out on a long-awaited reward because of one failure. Of course it’s a disappointing reality. But we’ll miss out on the broader narrative of Moses’s story and the message of Deuteronomy if we only stay there.  

Moses’s life, summarized in this capstone chapter, reflects all of his instructions recorded in the previous chapters. Deuteronomy is for us a picture of a loving God who calls His people to covenant, responding to His goodness by loving Him—faithfully walking in His ways. The call to faithfulness, in Moses’s lifetime and our own, doesn’t overlook our brokenness as humans. Instead, it directs us to turn to the One who has called us and trust in Him to help us walk in His ways.

These final verses from a book that some regard as harsh or legalistic actually underscore the beauty and truth reflected throughout Deuteronomy. As servants and children of the Lord, our God invites us to get to know Him through His instructions, through His Word. Because He is a just God, He will not overlook our sin. Sometimes our disobedience does cause us to miss out on some wonderful things. But that doesn’t mean that He will abandon or disown us. At the end of the day, Moses is still the servant of the Lord, in spite of his failures. 

Centuries later, the writer of Hebrews reflects on Moses’s faithful service to point us to Jesus, who has secured our identity as God’s forever people (Hebrews 3:2–3). We are His, and every day is an opportunity to live in honor of this truth. 

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41 thoughts on "The Death of Moses"

  1. Gwen Dunn says:

    How legacies seem to be such an admirable goal Servant of God would be the greatest legacy one can leave.

  2. Carlee N says:

    May we all seek that same legacy – a servant of the Lord who pointed people to Jesus.

  3. Cindy Hanna says:

    Mandy Ferrugia, Mari V, Gwendolyn Vincent and Victoria E. Your prayers and condolences are welcome gifts. Thank you very much.

  4. Sky Hilton says:


  5. Sky Hilton says:

    To be honest, I didnt rrally understand most of thereading today, but these few verses stuck out to me:

    “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in saftey by him; and the Lord shall cover him in all the day long.”

    “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms”

    “Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord.”

    I think the way Deuteronomy ended was beautiful. Moses saw the promised land before dying, which is a great thing to see. He was such a amazing leader for the Israelites, and an even more amazing servant to the Lord. I pray that we would all be as obedient like Him.

    Also, this is the first book of the Bible I ever read through and finished!!!!

    Have a great weekend sisters! May God bless you all ❤️❤️

  6. Mandy Ferrugia says:

    A point that I think gets overlooked is God’s graciousness in calling Moses to the top of the mountain so He can show him the land they will soon be possessing. Yes, Moses messed up and the resulting consequence was he did not get to cross over into the promised land. However, in God’s great mercy and love, he was at least allowed to see it before he died. And not just see a glimpse, but Deuteronomy describes that God showed him every bit of the land, even detailing each section. I got emotional when I read this – even though we are sinful and mess up some times (many times), God is still so good to have compassion on us and show us grace. I’m sure Moses had wanted to enter the promised land, but even just that magnificent view from the top of the mountain must’ve been an incredible gift. He was probably expecting nothing as a result of his failure, but God was still good and gave him something. God never left him or forsake him. Such a comforting thought, when my own sin tries to rear it’s ugly head daily.

  7. Margaret W says:

    I have a suspicion that God may have had more than one reason for keeping Moses from entering the Promised Land: 1) He had earned his eternal reward, and 2) It was time for a new leader to step in. That transition would be much less awkward without Moses around. Also, we read in the New Testament that Moses DID get to be in the Promised Land when he appeared with Jesus on Mt. Tabor at the Transfiguration.

  8. Dorothy says:

    For me the main theme of Deuteronomy is obedience to God. Since I’m not perfect, (no one is) I have to ask God for forgiveness and I know I have it since Christ died for me. I just finished reading Joyce Meyer’s book, “Help Me I’m Stressed”. It is an older book but it is great. Those of you who have anxiety problems I would highly recommend it. It’s only 80 pages and larger print so it doesn’t take long to read. One of the last things she says in her book is, “God uses our obedience in the little things to transform our life.” After I read that I got to thinking about how true it is.
    Be blessed and have a wonderful and restful weekend sisters.
    Oh and to those who believe the Sabbath is for resting, I agree but but there are a few professions that if they didn’t work on the Sabbath the care of others would not get done.

  9. Mari V says:

    Oh Cindy Hanna Praying right now for you and your family.

  10. Mari V says:

    Praying right now for you Donna

  11. Victoria E says:

    Praying for you Donna that the appointment will go well , the Lord will give the doctor wisdom, and that He will calm all your fears.

  12. Victoria E says:

    Cindy Hanna I am sorry to hear of your father’s passing but glad to k is that you are at peace over this. Blessings to you

  13. Traci Gendron says:

    MELANIE – Praying for your in laws. That has to be scary.
    LAURA – I understand your feelings. I have found myself to be on the downside lately. I’m tired of covid amongst trying to help my son with his illness. It makes everything so much harder. My husbands health situation. I’m just plain tired. I cannot imagine what you have to deal with. Covid, students, the parents….
    CINDY HANNA – prayers. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    DONNA WOLCOTT – Prayers for a good report.

    This has been a good study. When you look at our world today, people are grumbling about the most ridiculous things. Eyes have been taken off of God and His perfect ways. I pray that I keep mine focused on Him. To not let the world pull me in a different direction.

  14. KimN says:

    LAURA – praying hard for you! As a parent who has had to wrangle kids online for school at various points of this pandemic, I have often lifted teachers in prayer & expressed my appreciation for all the extra work they have had to do.
    Praying for refreshment for your soul, for guidance and wisdom, for all those in leadership roles at all levels for good policy, for peace and comfort for your heart! For all the teachers out there!

  15. Victoria Fowlkes says:

    Moses may have missed out on entering the promised land but when Satan tried to contend with God over his body, God hid him. Later it is revealed that Moses was there at Jesus’ transfiguration. Matthew 17:2 states that Jesus “was transfigured before them; his face shining as the sun, and his garments became white as the light.” At that point the prophet Elijah representing the prophets and Moses representing the Law appear and Jesus begins to talk to them

  16. KimN says:

    I wonder if Moses not entering the promised land is a case of letting go of good to receive God’s best. Moses is described as being in relative good physical health when he dies (Deut 34:7) so perhaps it was a case of going to be with the Lord which is infinitely better than anything on earth.
    Once they crossed the Jordan, the book of Joshua is filled with all the battles involved in taking the land. Maybe God preventing Moses from entering was actually a gift to him.
    It was a reminder to me regardless that God sees the whole picture and to trust in His plan and provision!
    Happy Friday sisters!

  17. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    Deuteronomy finished! Wow, what a journey and a wonderful reminder of how loving, compassionate and kind or God truly is. I am amazed at the fact that Moses was 120 years old and had great eyesight and had physical strength and health! It’s always sad to read that Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land, but he did get to enter a far better one – heaven! God’s way is perfect. God is holy. He commands us and expects us to faithfully follow and obey Him…Not to much to ask really if you consider the rewards in doing so! Thank you Tamishia and all of you ladies who have brought us this wonderful and very needed study!

    @Melanie – praying for your FIL and MIL and especially for you, that God will give you the strength to carry on.

    @Laura – My heart goes out to you and all teachers in public schools, I know this is not what you “signed up” for. It’s a whole new learning curve and takes lots of patience and praying. Praying for you this morning.

    @Donna – praying for you this morning as you go to your Dr visit. May God take away your anxiety and replace it with His peace that passes our understanding. Praying that you get answers, and good news.

    @all my SRT sisters- Have an abundantly blessed Friday and a wonderful weekend! ❤️

  18. Cindy Hanna says:

    Last night at 5:53pm. My father went to Jesus. This morning I awoke to read about the death of Moses. “Servant of the Lord”. Sitting with all my feelings this morning and am at peace. God cares. God hears. God answers. Blessings to all SRT sisters.

    1. Gwendolyn Vincent says:

      Sending condolences to you and your family. Praying for your continued peace.

  19. Kathy says:

    LAURA, a fellow teacher here. I’m praying for you. Teaching has always been an adventure, but right now it feels like an extreme sport. Hang in there. I teach high school and which is so different from 1st grade. High schoolers are a little more independent, but it’s still hard to get them to do the work when they’re quarantined. I can’t imagine doing online with 1st graders. I pray that God will speak truth into your life and that His voice will be clear on what you need to do.

  20. Sarah Ritchie says:

    Beautifully said Angie, thank you for your post. I look forward to reading your wisdom. ❤️

  21. Allison Jones says:

    Praying for you Donna.

  22. Donna Wolcott says:

    Dear sisters, may I ask for prayers today. I have an appointment this morning with a pulmonologist for a diagnosis. I have waited 5 months to get in and I am anxious. I know my Lord will be with me. Thank you and God bless you all.

    1. Linda J says:

      Praying for God’s peace for you, His guidance of the physician and healing.

  23. Erica Chiarelli says:

    When reading about how God Himself showed Moses the land God was giving His people, it feels so beautiful. I picture them walking side by side, like 2 friends. Moses was called a friend of God, which is amazing to me. Imagine just hanging out with God, physically? Then He reminded me that I do, I can, & someday we will spend eternity with Him, face to face! Glory, Hallelujah!!

  24. Aimee DiCicco-Ruhl says:

    What a good good Father!

  25. Sydney Merino says:

    Just here to celebrate finishing Deuteronomy—what a beautiful and needed reminder of God’s holiness, purity, singlemindedness, goodness and love and complete worthiness of our trust! God agrees with us that evil hurts and any trace of brokenness requires a perfect savior. Thank you, God.

  26. SarahJoy says:

    When I attend a funeral for a faithful follower of Jesus, the joy and grief intermix. The testimony of God shown in a life of love and relationship proclaims God. Moses had lived and loved. He had lead God’s people despite the difficulties and frustrations (and even convinced God to give them another chance!). May my life speak of God’s love and faithfulness to those in my path. May my life end and the next words I hear be: “well done, good and faithful servant.”

  27. SarahJoy says:

    LAURA – public education is indeed a mission field. You have been called to a place of deep need. Even if you aren’t overseas, perhaps ask God to provide for you as if you are in a foreign land. The world certainly feels foreign to me regularly these days! May God grant you clear direction and His strength for the path He shows you! What a trying time to be a teacher. My friends who teach echo all of what you’ve said. Saying a prayer for you as you minister to those sweet ones in your care. They desperately need Jesus followers bringing them His Light and Spirit into their lives.

  28. Phoebe says:

    Over the course of Moses’ life God showed Himself as powerful, consistent, faithful, and patient. And Moses didn’t waver from following Him, even in the end when he wasn’t allowed to enter the land. I see Moses’ faith as an indicator of God’s goodness rather than of Moses’ “worthiness”. Moses knew God intimately for years and years, trial after trial, adventure after adventure, and still found Him worthy of his trust and obedience. May I do the same!

  29. Laura says:

    I want to be a servant of God like Moses. Right now I am struggling to know what that looks like. God called me to be a teacher when I was still young. I have always been grateful to Him for the opportunity to serve in this profession and I have done my best over the years to be a light in the darkness of public education. But I am starting to feel like I can’t do it anymore. I have lost my joy in this profession because of all of the nonsense. I still love teaching, but the things I am required to teach and the ridiculous covid rules are starting to wear on me. I am not saying that covid is ridiculous, but at least in my district, the quarantining rules make no sense. We can all see that they are a ruse and not keeping anyone any safer, just basically following some formula that truly does not make any sense when it comes to spread or infection. The teachers at my school are tired of it, tired of working twice as hard because we are teaching in person students and then supplying work for the quarantined kids somehow at the same time. Parents do not value education anymore – they have been led to think that on-line equals in-person (I teach first grade and I can guarantee you that this is not possible). I have been in school for 3 weeks and have yet to have my whole class in attendance. So…I am praying that God show me what is next. I want to have a servant heart, but I’m not sure I can continue. I need to be prepared for God to say – keep going – or to show me something else. I want him to show me something else but I have to be prepared for the other.

    1. Chris Swan says:

      Praying for you and all teachers. I’m a retired teacher also. I know you long for “normal” —- God is certainly providing us all a time to trust Him!!

  30. Melanie says:

    It seems daily I need to remember to be more faithful like moses and not be like the Israelites which I do all the time. I want to be better I want to be more Christ focused. I live how Moses trusted God so much and God used him in so many ways. Ladies I’m struggling in so many ways. My FIL who just got a kidney is now in the hospital with COVID. He is frail due to the surgery and now this. My MIL a also tested positive. I’m so tired I crawl into bed but way up around 315. So I’m barely making it through dinner before I act like a toddler who is over tired. Please lift up our family.

  31. Angie says:

    The Israelites began Deuteronomy on a journey, traveling through lands and battling as they went. Battling enemies, battling with self, called to obedience. Worshiping the one True God was taught and given a place, there were also places of refuge, the Law and commandments; even the greatest commandments were given. Commanded to remember and obey knowing blessings and curses followed. (Chapter after chapter) Day by day specific guidance was given. As time passed God circled back and reminded them again and again of His covenant, blessings and curses, and the call to return to the LORD. A song of worship is created and passed down through the generations. Human leadership changed, the torch (so to speak) is passed on from Moses to Joshua, and the servant of God blessed the tribes of Israel using specifics for each and then climbed the mountain heading Home. Moses, a man, a servant, whom the Lord knew face to face.
    Doesn’t God do similar for us as well? We are on a journey. We battle the enemy around us and the “self” within us. We are called to obedience and worship. We have the Word of God, and the indwelling Holy Spirit to give specific guidance in every situation. Choices made lead to blessings or curses, and we are called again and again to return to the Lord. May our lives be a song of worship, and may that worship pour out of our hearts and mouths. May we pass on to the next generations the truth and blessings God gives us, specific for each one. When we go Home, may we be known as faithful servants to the one True God and rest in the joy of knowing we will see Him face to face as His eyes, heart, and hands, welcome us Home.

  32. Kelly says:

    Like a father blessing his children, Moses blessed each tribe.
    “Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his eyes were not weak, and his vitality had not left him….No prophet has arisen again in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”
    Moses was given the supernatural ability to see every part of the Land, not just what could be seen from the mountain top-God showing His love for His servant.
    Moses was not weak and frail, but strong and of a sound mind-God’s kindness in sustaining His friend.
    Moses had seen the “backside” of God’s glory, but with his death saw God’s face-God’s promises coming to pass.
    Moses was not perfect, but he was faithful. Lord, help me to be as well.

  33. Kristen says:

    @ Ariana so true. I’m guilty as well. I do the comparison thing. At least I don’t do this or that. When in reality, I’m just as bad as others or worse. He is Holy. Seeing the depths of my sins isn’t fun, but is necessary I need a Savior! How beautiful is the love and sacrifice of Jesus! As you said, there is none like our God.

  34. Blessed Beth says:

    Oh what an honor, Servant of God, imagine those simple words being spoken about you? I am sure in Moses’ heart it was enough. We all make errors, but how blessed we are to have a faithful God to serve and forgive us.

  35. Sandi Wellnitz says:

    Servant of the Lord,
    Faithful Leader,

  36. Sandi Wellnitz says:

    Servant of the Lord,
    Faithful Leader,

  37. Sandi Wellnitz says:


  38. Arina says:

    “The call to faithfulness, in Moses’s lifetime and our own, doesn’t overlook our brokenness as humans. Instead, it directs us to turn to the One who has called us and trust in Him to help us walk in His ways.”

    Sometimes I’m inclined to think, I could do what the Israelites couldn’t. How hard can it be? Just follow the rules. But then I look to my own life. Maybe I follow the rules most of the time, but it’s also about having the right heart posture. Loving God above everything, obedience, faithfulness. God knows we fail, He knows we aren’t able to reach perfect. That isn’t good but it can’t stop God from loving us. He is faithful and has provided also for our imperfectness. There is none like our God. How happy we are.