Parashat Mattot (Tribes) Numbers 30:2-32:42
Haftarah: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
Since we have observed the fast of the 17th day of Tammuz earlier this week, we have entered into the three weeks of mourning, when we remember some of the most difficult things that happened to the Children of Israel. As far as this week’s Torah reading, there is instruction concerning the death of Moses. HaShem tells Moses the following:
“Avenge the Children of Israel from the Midianites; afterwards you will be gathered to your people.” Numbers 31:3
The question which needs to be asked is why is Moses told to execute vengeance and then immediately informed that he is going to die soon thereafter? The primary reason for this is to show the reader that he should not be consumed with any thoughts about his death, rather only about fulfilling the word of G-d. Moses did not delay in obeying this commandment. This fact teaches that obedience to G-d is more important than one’s own life. In other words, give no thought to your death; rather simple carry out the work which HaShem has entrusted to you. This is good counsel for those who are of course saved by Messiah Yeshua and who are prepared for the Kingdom.
Most people, including believers, place far too much significance upon their life coming to an end. Death is only the release of one’s soul from the shell of a human body, so that he or she can be in the presence of Messiah Yeshua. This is of course the outcome for a believer. Hence, believers should not fear or dread this day, but have great excitement when HaShem deems the time appropriate for us to meet Him. The non-believer, on the other hand, should fear death. The problem is, his fear is misplaced and is irrational. Instead of desiring to lengthen life or get all the earthly pleasure one can while he is living, this fear should cause him to do the sensible thing and prepare himself for a blessed experience after his physical death. Fear is often the result of having failed to take the proper actions to ensure the desired outcome for the future.
I know a few people who are approaching death, as their health is clearly failing and it is obvious to all that the time their soul has left in their body is short. Why not join me in speaking to those who you know who are running out of time. Your words may change their eternity. Here is a true story that shows what a few sentences can do.
A good friend of mine by the name of Robert Bennett accompanied me on a hospital visit. We visited a woman in her eighties who had just suffered a serious heart attack. She had no idea that she only had days left. We had spoken to her doctor as he was leaving her room. After a short visit, we prayed with her and I had intended to leave her. Both Mr. Bennett and I knew she had not accepted Yeshua, although she had heard the Gospel many times. I felt that I had shared Yeshua with her previously and the decision was up to her now. Mr. Bennett, who had not spoken during this visit, began to address her. He told her she needed to accept Yeshua now! In a weak voice she said she had heard this many times and she was considering these spiritual things. Then Mr. Bennett said, listen to me, we just spoke to your doctor, he said you are not going to make it. You are dying, not that you are going to die, but you are dying now. It was obvious to me that her time was indeed short and I had incorrectly assumed that she knew this as well, but this was not the case. When she heard Mr. Bennett state these words she was confronted with the reality of her impending death. She began to weep. Mr. Bennett told her tears would not help; only Yeshua could give her eternal life and to accept Him would ensure that death would only be a departure from this world into the Kingdom of heaven where He would receive her.
She had for many years understood the Gospel, as her sister had been a Jewish believer for years and had witnessed to her repeatedly. This day however, as the reality of her death was so near, she invited Yeshua to be her Savior and forgive her of her sins. Mr. Bennett and I had promised to return to see her, but she died the next day. Mr. Bennett, a few years later, also died.
This story is a testimony to how important it is to share the Gospel until the very end, the angels of heaven do also rejoice over a death bed acceptance as well.
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