What I Learned at Pisgah
Three friends and I spent a few days hiking in the Loess Hills of Iowa, a lovely area of steep hills, green forests and prairies, and small rural communities. One of those tiny towns is Pisgah. We stopped for maps at the state forest visitor center and had dinner at the only restaurant in town. We wondered about the name. One of us thought it was Biblical, and a quick search proved this true.
We read this passage in Deuteronomy 34:
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land...Then the Lord said to him, "This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it."
40 years earlier at Meribah, Moses had disobeyed God. When instructed to speak to the rock to bring forth water for the people, Moses struck the rock--not once, but twice. Because of his lack of trust in and respect for God, he would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land. I always thought Moses must have been greatly disappointed. But as I stood high on the hills above the Iowa Pisgah and considered Who God was, these were my thoughts:
1. Moses's "children" were safe. Joshua, hand-picked by God and mentored by Moses, would lead them into the land God promised to them, the land Moses viewed from the mountain top. Moses had done all that he could for the Israelites.
2. Moses had accomplished everything that God had purposed for him. He led the Israelites out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, and through the wilderness. He gave them the Ten Commandments and laws from God. And he prayed for them every step of the way. Moses had completed his task.
3. Moses was headed Home. Even though he had sinned, God planned for him a Savior, whose death would provide the way to forgiveness. And Moses stood at the Heavenly Gates.
Frederick Faber said, "There are no disappointments for those whose will is buried in the will of God." Moses was buried in God's will. I think instead of disappointment, it was a mountaintop, glorious moment. Perhaps, as Moses stood on Pisgah, he heard God call his name and God give him the assurance, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
Eventually, we will all stand on our own Pisgah. At my age, I think frequently about the time God will call me home.
As I look out and view what I leave behind, I hope to be able to say:
I have done all I could so my children (biological, spiritual, or through circumstances) will be safe.
I have accomplished all God has purposed for me.
I am ready to go Home.
What can we do today to prepare to stand on Mount Pisgah?
Susan Lawrence taught elementary school for 33 years before hanging up her chalkboard to write and speak. She writes novels for both adults and middle grade children. Susan lives in Iowa with her husband and short-legged Lab, Molly. She has 3 children and 7 grandchildren who love to hear her stories.