by Clarence E. Macartney

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The Prayer of Moses (5 of 13)
Series: The Prayers of the Old Testament
Clarence E. Macartney
Deuteronomy 3:25

One of our hymns asks that we may be taught the ''patience of unanswered prayer.'' We have before us now a prayer that was not answered, and an exhibition of patience in the man who prayed but did not receive. The unanswered prayers of the Bible, the prayer of Abraham that Ishmael might live before the Lord, of Balaam that he might die the death of the righteous, of Paul over the thorn in his flesh, of Jesus over His cup of agony, are in many respects the most profitable to our instruction and comfort.

Israel's forty years of wandering were at an end. From the Red Sea to the Jordan, Moses had led his people, and they now lay encamped on the other side of Jordan ready to pass over into Canaan. We can imagine what the feelings of Moses must have been. The work for which, at the beginning, and many a time since, he had felt himself unable, had been brought to a successful consummation. The people were ready to pass over. The land that had been the goal of all his labors and the content of all his dreams lay just there, on the other side of the river. At the time of a past offense, Moses had been warned that neither he nor Aaron would be permitted to bring the assembly into the land which God had given them. That word of the Lord came back to him now as he stood so near the promised land. He could not bear the thought of not crossing over and entering the land with the triumphant people. In his valedictory he tells Israel of his prayer: ''And I besought the Lord at that time, saying, O Lord Jehovah, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy kindness, greatness, and thy strong hand; for what god is there in heaven or earth that can do according to thy works and according to thy mighty acts? Let me go over, I pray thee, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain and Lebanon. But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and hear ...

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