Today’s reading begins with the naming of Joshua as the successor to Moses and concludes with the foretelling of Moses’ death.
The reading for today once again highlights what must have been an absolutely devastating time in Moses’ life. The naming of a successor to Moses was to be expected to some extent. Moses knew that he wouldn’t live forever here on earth so that time must eventually come. What is tragic about the reading today is foretelling of Moses death and the reiteration that he was forbidden to enter the Promised Land because of his disobedience in the Wilderness.
God takes the actions of leaders very seriously and it’s obvious from the consequences of a single, sinful action against the word of the LORD that the actions taken by leaders carry far greater consequences than those of the common man. After all, the people of Israel over the course of their 40 years of wandering in the desert disobeyed God time and time again. They grumbled against God time and time again. Many of them were forbidden from entering the Promised Land, but not all. Moses committed a single action of disobedience against God and the goal of the toil of the previous 40 years was laid waste.
I generally don’t take into account the consequences of my sin and I think I probably live the delusion of thinking that consequences won’t happen to me. This tragic end to the wandering the wilderness should serve as a warning to me of the consequences of disobedience, but I fear it won’t.