The time always seems right to receive God’s blessings. After all, we could use some. But sometimes, we need to pause and remember what God has done already. The Plains of Moab give us that much-needed view.
When we focus so much on the needs of right now, we can lose sight of the fact that God has already brought us so far. Without that truth firmly rooted, we may miss the right-now blessings in front of us.
After wandering 40 years in the wilderness, Israel camped on the Plains of Moab, poised to enter the Promised Land. But before receiving the blessings ahead, they needed to remember the blessing that lay behind them.
Here’s how you can do the same.
At the end of Israel’s wilderness wandering, the twelve tribes “camped by the Jordan . . . as far as Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab” (Num. 33:49). From this same location, Moses ascended Mount Nebo, viewed the Promised Land, and died (Deut. 34:1, 8).
While camped at Shittim in the Plains of Moab across from Jericho, several key events occurred:
The king of Moab hired Balaam to curse Israel, but God caused the prophet to bless Israel instead (Num. 23-24). God will fulfill His promises to His people, regardless of the evil intensions of others.
Balaam did succeed, however, in enticing the Hebrews into immoral sexual relations with Moabite cult prostitutes—and God disciplined Israel with a plague (Num. 25). Part of God’s promises to His people includes disciplining them when they willingly disobey Him.
Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy to remind Israel of the essential role that obeying the Law of God played in their success in the land.
The first two events gave weight to the third. God is committed to blessing His people, but He will not hold back from discipline when necessary. These two elements of blessing and cursing played an integral role in Israel’s success in entering the Promised Land.
(Looking north, the Plains of Moab were east of the Jordan River, north of the Dead Sea. Map courtesy ofSatellite Bible Atlas)
Do You Remember What God Has Done for You?
The very fact that Moses wrote a “second Law”—the meaning of the name Deuteronomy—underscores the necessity for God’s people to remember what God has done.
Some of the reminders Moses gave God’s people in the Plains of Moab are timeless—reminders we too should bear in mind all our lives:
The motivation for obeying? Your love for God—stimulated by remembering what God has done for you in Christ Jesus (John 14:15).
Indeed, we need to breathe deeply from these lessons given on the Plains of Moab.
Looking back offers some of the best help for moving forward.
Deepen Your Faith
Learn the top 6 Lessons from Visiting the Holy Land more than 20 times in 21 years with Dr. Wayne Stiles, a longtime devotional scholar who is passionate about sharing the practical application of bringing God's Word to life.
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