“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.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.’” - Deuteronomy 18:15-19
The majority of Deuteronomy is the last speech of Moses to Israel. In many ways it resembles a love letter, full of Moses’ last requests and advice for a nation that he’s led through some of the most incredible happenings of the Old Testament. It’s a plea to follow the God who freed them from Egypt no matter what happens next, all the while reminding them of his steadfast love and character.
In our passage today, Moses references the time the people of Israel became too afraid to listen to God directly, so God spoke through Moses instead (Ex 20:18-21). The sheer majesty of God’s presence and voice was too frightening, so God made a way for them to worship and approach him. The problem wasn’t that God decided they were unworthy to approach him, the problem was with the people. They were too weak, too scared, and too nervous to approach God even though they knew that he was the one who had saved them. The problem was sin.
So there, in the desert, God made a way. He chose to continue in relationship with Israel regardless of their weak faith and flawed response to his presence. He didn’t change who he is. He didn’t change the effect his presence had on the world he’d created. He didn’t dumb down his majesty or power. Instead, God used his prophet Moses to deliver the message Israel needed to hear.
Here, Moses reveals that God’s choice held a deeper purpose and pointed toward someone better, yet to come. Moses standing before God was a temporary solution to the problem of sin that separated the people from God. So, God promised that he would do the same with another prophet that hadn’t yet come. This prophet, of course, is Jesus. He is the forever Moses, the forever solution, the One who stands before God on our behalf, just as Moses did for the Israelites.
Do you fear God the way the Israelites did? Turn to Jesus and rest in the promise that we can approach God with confidence because of Christ.