Moses died on the weekend. His death was not unexpected. Still, I was moved by his final words and the loss of this great man, especially coming so close on the heels of spending much of the week with friends from Israel.
On Monday of last week, a friend emailed to say he was out of town but had some friends from Israel arriving in Ottawa with Members of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and wondered if I could help them out. It was a privilege to chauffeur and hang out with this group for most of the week, including a private reception with MPs and the new Israeli Ambassador to Canada. What an amazing week!
Friday, my new friends went home.
Then, on the weekend Moses took his first and last look over God’s promised land, shared his last words and died. I don’t know how many times I’ve read the story of Moses – leading the Israelites out of Egypt and then not entering the promised land himself – but I know every time God speaks to me through it; and, almost every time it seems applicable to what I’m experiencing personally in life.
I believe the Bible. I don’t believe “in” the Bible, I believe the Bible. I have confidence that He Who inspired this Book did so for a reason; and, I can’t help but notice how reading it impacts my life, daily.
Over the years, I (and many I know) have used devotional books – thoughts penned by others like Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis or J.I. Packer on passages of Scripture – to focus my mind on what God is communicating through His written Word. I, and friends, have had the similar experience of comments penned long ago and set down to be read on a particular day become key to encouraging and impacting a crucial life situation on that very day. I believe the Bible. I believe in Him who inspired it. And, I believe, like the apostle Paul, the written “Word of God is alive and active.” (Hebrews 4:12)
In addition to Deuteronomy, I’m also currently reading in the Book of Jeremiah. A little over a week ago I met with another friend who noted in conversation that he thinks we in Canada are living in a time like that experienced by the Israelites in the Book of Jeremiah. The Christian foundations of our nation are being wrestled away by people opposed to them and we are being called to be faithful, to call others to be faithful, and to seek the peace and prosperity of the nation in which we live as if – because of our faith – in exile (Jeremiah 29:7).
Most certainly, recent decisions of the Law Society of Upper Canada and Nova Scotia Barristers Society to not recognize graduates of a Christian law school at Trinity Western University convey that impression. So does the pronouncement by the leader of Canada’s Liberal Party to disallow membership or candidacy for elected office to those convinced that children in the womb are deserving of protection in Canada, a policy position most frequently held by people of faith in God. (My Israeli friends were shocked to find out that Canada is an outlier nation, one of less than a handful on the planet that places no legal restrictions on the abortion of a child at any point until birth.)
Those who know me, and those who take a quick read through my résumé, will recognize the pursuit of peace and prosperity for the place in which I live as something that is ingrained in me and has marked both my employment and personal service in the community. The recent conversation with my friend was positive reinforcement from a kindred spirit. This sense of life purpose prompted my scheduled participation at several events last week, overlapping with and supplemented by the time with my new friends from Israel.
The hustle and bustle of wrapping up details with the EFC, entering into the events of last week’s ARPA reception on restorative justice, the National Prayer Breakfast, March For Life and National Day of Honour to commemorate Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan and chauffeuring visitors from the promised land kept me steaming through the week. And then, not unexpectedly, Moses died.
But not before placing his hands on Joshua and praying wisdom for Joshua to take the next steps in the great adventure of His story (Deuteronomy 34).
Monday morning, Joshua took up the mantle of leadership vacated by Moses. The Lord spoke to Joshua, reminding him that the past was past and now is the time for fulfillment of promise. Great adventure comes with great challenge. “Be strong and courageous,” He said. “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Timely words for Joshua. Timely words for me. Perhaps, timely words for you.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And, wisdom to know the difference.