For the week of July 14, 2001 / 23 Tammuz 5761
Torah: Bemidbar / Numbers 25:10 - 30:1
Haftarah: I Kings 18:46 - 19:21
Replaced by: Jeremiah 1:1 - 2:3

Keeping Perspective

Moses said to the LORD, "May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD's people will not be like sheep without a shepherd" (Bemidbar / Numbers 27:16,17).

Moses was nearing the end of his time. And what a time it had been! He had been appointed by God to lead two million ex-slaves from years of bondage and to prepare them for nationhood in their own land. Facing obstacles at every turn, he served both God and the people until the end.

In these latter days of his life he had to deal with the great disappointment of not being allowed to enter the Promised Land himself. I frankly don't know how Moses did it. After holding steady through all the years, he was finally pressed beyond his limits. Still, no matter how he felt about his situation, he continued to serve.

It would have been so easy to give up and become bitter. After bearing the problems of these people for so long, and then not to be allowed to participate in the very goal for which he had been called, his attention could have so easily turned to himself - but it didn't. He continued to put God's plan and the welfare of the people first.

How was it that he was able to keep this perspective? I believe that it was due to a couple of reasons. First, he recognized that the Lord was the God of all. He did not lose sight that God was still God even though the circumstances he found himself in were not his personal preference. Moses accepted that whether or not he was to enter the Land was God's prerogative.

Second Moses remembered that the people he had been leading were ultimately God's people and not his own. They were accountable to God not Moses. Moses was only an intermediary. Indeed his role was very important, but the mission was not about him. It was about God's plan and purposes.

Being God's people not only meant that they were ultimately accountable to God, but that God was ultimately responsible for them. The burden of their success did not actually rest on Moses' shoulders. In reality it was God who delivered them from slavery, revealed his Torah to them, and protected them and provided for them in the wilderness. Now it would be God who would bring them into the Promised Land.

Having understood these things, Moses was able to stay objective and discern their need of a new leader. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he kept perspective, and was able to seek God for their good.

Comments? Please e-mail:

E-mail this TorahBytes to someone? Click here

Subscribe? To have TorahBytes e-mailed to you weekly
enter your e-mail address and press Subscribe

[ More TorahBytes ]  [  TorahBytes Home ]