Tough Love

Michael Wittmer

READ : Deuteronomy 3:21-29
Deuteronomy 32:48-52
Deuteronomy 34:1-8

Although you may view the land from a distance, you shall not enter it. (32:52)

I am an easy mark. If my son refuses to eat his dinner, I’ll often allow him to have a snack before going to bed. If a student misses a paper deadline, no problem – he can turn it in next week.

So it is hard for me to understand the way God handles Moses. Moses was God’s faithful servant, the one he tapped to lead his people out of Egypt, the one who kept the faith even when everyone else had lost theirs. Couldn’t God understand why Moses, frustrated by the grumbling of his people, might angrily strike rather than speak to the rock? Why doesn’t God have pity and permit Moses to enter the Promised Land?

Because God loves Moses – more than I love my son and way more than I love my students. He refuses to fix Moses’ situation. He holds Moses accountable, requiring him to accept the consequences of his actions, as if his choices mattered. This wasn’t an enjoyable experience for either Moses or God, and no doubt God wept as he gently buried his body in Moab, just shy of the Promised Land.


Father, give me patience to accept the consequences of my choices and courage to demand the same from others.