Oct 11, 2016

Journey to Jordan: Finding Mount Nebo

Sunset over the Dead Sea 
On Monday our merry band of pilgrims journeyed to the top of Mount Nebo, the Biblical site where Moses was offered a panoramic view of the Promised Land. And indeed from the pinnacle you could glimpse the Dead Sea, Jericho, and the Sea of Galilee.

Moses, of course, despite being the emancipator, leader, and great prophet of the Israelites, never made it to the "land flowing with milk and honey." While the exact location is unknown, tradition holds that Moses was buried on Mount Nebo.

At one level, this feels like such a raw deal. Moses led his people out of bondage in Egypt through the waters of the Red Sea, handed down the 10 Commandments, and put up with their kvetching for 40 years of wandering in the desert. If anyone deserved to taste the fruits of his holy labors, surely it was Moses. But in the end, all he get is a glimpse of the Promised Land; a "look but don't touch" moment.

But at another level, the story of Moses on Mount Nebo is not merely a story of unrequited promise and death. It is a powerful moment of continued covenant between God and God's people. Because, while Moses does not make the final journey himself, his people do. Mount Nebo is also the site of the transfer of leadership from Moses to Joshua. Joshua takes up the mantle of Moses and the relationship between the Israelites and God continues. Covenant transcends the individual. And this is the power of Mount Nebo.
Pointing to the Promised Land

Approaching the ultimate Scriptural "scenic overlook" was indeed like walking on holy ground. As we approached this site, the sun was just beginning to set over the Dead Sea, a gentle breeze was blowing, it was quiet. I felt the presence of the prophet and reveled in unbroken relationship with the God of the covenant.

Mount Nebo is a place pregnant with promise. But it's promise on God's terms, not our own. And I'm reminded of the saying about our posture towards prayer: "Is it my plan for God or God's plan for me?" It remains a question worth reflecting upon.

1 comment:

Maria Nolletti Ross said...

I always amazed that these biblical places are, you know, right there!