Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go up to this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the sons of Israel. When you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was; for in the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)
Moses reaches the edge of the land, but can’t go in. Lots of teachings have been given on this passage and the relevance and symbolism of Moses not taking Israel into the Promised Land. Moses, as a symbol of The Law; the Old Covenant could only bring Israel to where they could see the Promised Land. It required Joshua — a symbol of the New Covenant; Grace in Jesus (an alternate form of Joshua) — to bring Israel into the Promised Land.
All of that is good and should be addressed, but I found myself stuck on the fact that Moses was barred from entering the Promised Land because he failed to treat God as holy. Something similar could be said of the believer under the Grace. God makes mention in the NT of a fullness of blessing that He wants to bring the believer into. Now blessing, due to the modern world’s materialistic bent, tends to be misinterpreted as financial or tangible. Blessing is any good and perfect gift from the Father of Lights. Blessing can be love or joy or peace or patience or kindness or goodness or gentleness or self-control. A person trying to eat healthier and stick to a workout regimen can tell the value of self-control. A depressed person can tell the value of joy. A heart in turmoil can tell the value of peace. We undervalue these things because our hearts are prone to the sin of Laodicea: thinking we’re wealthy and insightful and stylishly clothed when we’re really poor and blind and naked. We think we have peace in our hearts until the crisis hits. We think we have self-control until we visit the buffet. We think we have the blessings of God until the circumstance that would make those blessings evident reveals their absence.
In the end, we lack these blessings because we fail to treat God as holy. Holy means unique; special; different. God should be treated uniquely, because He is unique. There is no other God. There’s just Him. God should be treated as special, because He is. He loves me so much that He was willing to suffer and die for the ability to love me close to hand. That’s pretty special. God should be treated differently, because He is perfect and just and adheres to the rules He has set down for Himself. I don’t know the rules that govern God, but I know they exist and are as immutable as He is.
Moses lost sight of this; lost sight of the fact that God is unique and special and different. The people complained and complained and complained — and I empathize with Moses, that much complaining would make me blow a gasket or twelve — and Moses was told how to get them to stop complaining this time and he let anger get the better of him and did not do what God had instructed. Moses’ failure to obey did lots of things, but it mostly broke fellowship between him and God and blocked Moses from receiving the fullness of blessing. Moses could see it; could know what it looked like, but could not receive it. So, too, when I break fellowship with God do I block myself from receiving the fullness of God’s blessing. Moses lived under The Law, so there was no way to restore fellowship, only to defer judgment.
But I live under Grace and fellowship can be restored. And in that fellowship is the fullness of blessing.