The Vision Can See Through Death

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made excellent use of the story of Moses being prohibited from entering the promised land. God gave Moses that view of the land (Deuteronomy 34:1-12). This is a very interesting use of this text. King speaks of his desire for a long life, but he also faces the reality that he would not see his dreams fully accomplished.

This might be seen as a tragic story, but it is certainly not that different. It is the same story as the ancient people of faith who did not see the promise fully realized, but had to embrace them from afar off. (Hebrews 11:13).

Is This A Tragic Story?

It does seem tragic to work your whole life for something that you will never fully experience. It seems tragic to desire a promise only to have God tell you that you will not receive it and must sleep in the grave. It certainly looks like a tragic tale from the outside.

But somehow Dr. King found a way to celebrate this moment. This celebration is made possible for two reasons. First, he celebrates that “we” will get to the promised land. American Christianity has all but eliminated the “we” from our religion. We have turned the essentially corporate promises of God into individual ones. We no longer have need for anyone else, but the Hebrew religion was based in the “we.” Certainly we individually decide whether we will be true to the covenant, but the promise was given to Abraham and his descendants (the we). The children of Abraham corporately inherit the land. (Genesis 12:1-7) Paul says that we are “Grafted in” to the “we.” (Romans 11:17) We are a part of the body and we all must do our part if the body as a whole is to function correctly. (Romans 12:4-8) King saw the importance of “we” and celebrated that “we” will get to the promised land.

How Could King Celebrate?

Next, Dr. King found a way to celebrate the moment because he could actually see that better day that was on the way. He knew it was coming, he knew that his people would get there, and he celebrated that ultimately God’s will would be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

As we go live our lives today, let us remember that we may not always see the fruit of our labors, but if we would both recognize the importance of the “we” and if we would embrace the vision of the future it will brighten our dark days and lighten our load until our Lord will make all things new.

Posted in American Christianity, Children Of Abraham, Commentary, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Hebrew Religion

    Brother that was a powerful sermonette. I thank you for that BONE……………Now you don't mind if i use that BONE and put some meat on you ! I promise to make reference to you ! WOW To God Be The Glory !

  • Sherman Haywood Cox II


    If you can throw some meat on dem bones then praise the Lord and preach it Doc…

  • Brady Williams

    You are so right about the we problem but let me expand your vision on why Moses did not enter the promise land. When God first called Moses He told him to go speak the power of God to the people and to Pharaoh.But Moses fail to understand the sovereignty of God.This wonderful portrayal of Gods' sovereignty could be seen as a tragedy except for the fact that Moses appeared on the Mt. of transfiguration with Jesus. this indicates that that anchient event was not so much as a tragedy for Moses as it is a very important message for us today. God wants His ministers to teach His people that He God dwells in thier hearts and that they are a Holy Priesthood.Moses failded to administer this truth and it cost him dearly. That is why Moses explains three times in the book of Deuteronomy that he will not go into the promise land for thier sakes (Deut.1:37,3:26,and 4:21). so we see that Moses did learn the lesson but only after he had contaminated the people with his own way of doing things. God told Moses and Aaron in the book of Nimbers 20:12: because you believe me not to sanctify me in the eyes of the childeren of Israel, you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is probably the reason for most church failures in the world today.

  • Sherman Haywood Cox II

    Yes the disobedience of Moses as the reason why he could not go into the promise land is something that I did not include in this piece. The omission was intentional, but let me tell you why.

    The question I asked was “How can one (primarily lay people) celebrate in the light of disappointment” and I used the story of Moses as an illustration to answer that question. Thus that is why the emphasis on the “we” and “the vision.” I didn't even address or need to address WHY he didn't go into the promised land, because that was not something I needed to illustrate in this piece…

    Let me say, your presentation has a very different but valid question “How can the story of Moses help leaders to live with more integrity?” Or something like that. That is another good question that you powerfully dealt with by keying in on Moses' disobedience to Divine Sovereignty. Your and my presentation demonstrate how the same Bible story can illustrate different truths and both be correct…

    I would also say that a balanced preacher will ultimately hit the point you bring out and the point I have brought out as needed….

    Thank you for your comment and please continue to comment.

    God bless…