The beginning of a New Year often brings us to consider how fleeting time is. We get settled in our ways and become well engrained into our daily routines until a time like a birthday, an anniversary or a New Year comes around and brings us to ponder, to reflect on the past and on the future as well; Job put it well when he said, Now my days are swifter than a runner (Job 9:25) or Moses who, after a ministry of 40 years leading Israel in the wilderness pondered concerning man’s life and said in Psalm 90:10 that the days of man’s life are so soon gone and just fly away. And Moses’ profound concern with time is also echoed elsewhere when he was at a point in his life where he had witnessed the death of over 1,200,000 people in a 38-year period.
This would be the entire adult population which left Egypt, those from age 20 years old and upward. All this because they had disobeyed God. Beginning with the Golden Calf until Kadesh Barnea where they had refused to enter the land because of the threat of the giants. They neglected to put trust in God’s protection. Disobedience reached its peak and God could not allow this generation to enter the land. Their eleven day journey turned out to be a 38 year journey instead. It must have been such a disappointment for Moses.
It is in Psalm 90 which was written at around the same time as Deuteronomy where Moses says in Vs.14-15, Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, The years in which we have seen evil. Moses longed for the wellbeing of his people. He knew that he was about to enter his eternal abode, and reach heaven or that city, as it is spoken of in Hebrews 11, a city he longed for so much. This longing, however was overshadowed by his concern for his people.
And the best description of Moses’ state comes, perhaps, from the words of Paul in Phil.1:23-24 when he says, For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Messiah, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. Both these men of God shared the same task in ushering the people into a new dispensation, and both shared the same people so to speak and the same struggle.
However, while both Paul and Moses were different in character, they are very similar in that they also both shared the same love toward the people they were sent to. And so, Moses knew and understood the depth of the sin of disobedience. He knew and experienced the fleeting of time. He knew God intimately and he loved his people so much. All of this is so very practical for all of us today, as our lives, our struggles and our journey are so much alike that of the Israelites.