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.
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:
- Courage: We needn’t be afraid of the enemy that faces us—even though stronger than us (Deut. 1:21).
- Hope: We should remember what God has already done for us—to give us hope that He will do what He has promised (Deut. 4:10).
- Priority: Nothing should come before our love for God (Deut. 6:5).
- Determination: We must maintain our commitment to obey God, fear Him, and hold fast to Him (Deut. 4:30; 5:29; 10:20).
These timeless truths of faith, hope, and love remain lessons for us as well.
You’re Standing on the Plains of Moab
It’s a helpful mental exercise. Here’s what I mean:
- You face an unknown future only God knows—against forces too strong for you, which only God can defeat (Eph. 6:10-17; 1 Pet. 5:8).
- He promises that the only way you’ll have success (as He defines it) is to maintain your commitment to obey God—no matter what (John 15:4-5).
- 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.
Tell me what you think: What helps you remember to love and obey God? To leave a comment, just click here.