Among the most poignant stories in the Bible are those dealing with the last days of great leaders. No leader loomed larger than Moses did. He was the lawgiver and recorded the earliest history of mankind. He was out front of a moving mass of humanity and led them from captivity to the Promised Land. He performed miracles. He is beloved by Christians and is important to the majority of people on our planet right now. God dearly loved him. “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10). Only about David and Jesus did God say something similar.
The run-up to Moses’ death was a spectacle that impressed upon Israel one more time what God had done for them. Moses renewed their covenant relationship with God. He reminded them of the blessings that come from obeying God and the consequences of disobedience. He reviewed laws he brought down from Sinai. He endorsed Joshua as his successor. He sang one last long benediction over them. Then this 120-year-old man with good eyesight and God’s vigor climbed the mountain where he would die. He looked over a land his life was all about but would never set foot in. And then it was over. The people grieved over him as they should have. God buried him somewhere. To this day no one knows where that is. We do know that “no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did” (Deuteronomy 34:12).