We’re standing with the Israelites on the doorstep of the Promised Land. They’ve tasted victory against some formidable foes, but the greatest challenge lies ahead … and it’s not with the people that are currently living on the land that’s destined to be theirs.
The military battles ahead will be fought with God at their side. More accurately, God will be leading the battles and providing miraculous victory.
No, winning the promised land isn’t as much of a problem as keeping it.
And that’s where we find Moses today. The closer the Israelites get to realizing the promise made to Abraham, the closer Moses is to his own death. For 40 years, he has guided a rebellious bunch through the desert. More often than he ever could have imagined, he found himself face down, pleading with God to turn back his wrath and spare the people from a fate they richly deserved.
Like a father on his deathbed imparting final lessons and reminders to his son, Moses recounts the covenant with God and the journey that the people have taken thus far. It’s a final warning in which he sets the way of blessing and the way of cursing before the people.
In the midst of this, we find a simple sentence with world-changing implications.
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’” – (Deuteronomy 18:15-16 ESV)
A prophet like Moses.
One from among the people of Israel.
One who will speak for God.
One who will intercede with God on behalf of a rebellious people.
Stephen thought so. The first martyr quoted the words of Deuteronomy 18:15 in his speech before the Sanhedrin in which he rebuked the Jewish ruling council for their role in the death of Jesus.
Peter thought so. Like his Teacher before him, Peter used a miraculous healing as a springboard for the gospel.
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. – (Acts 3:17-24 ESV)
A prophet like Moses has come, but He was more than a prophet. He is the Saviour.
Today, listen for his voice and remember that even as you’re sidetracked, worried, hassled and stressed, this Prophet like Moses is interceding for you at the throne of God.