So matter-of-factly does the Lord speak to Moses: “Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people” (31:2). There is still work for Moses to do, but that work will be accomplished and, then, Moses will die. No mournful lamentation here. No regrets or complaints. A life lived in faithfulness to the Lord, when it is time, can finish out with contentment and confidence in the Lord. In the dealings with Midian, as so often was the case throughout Moses life, the summary statement was that Moses did exactly as the Lord had commanded him (31:31). He was faithful and obedient.
When Israel had first entered the land, the tribes of Reuben and Gad requested land east of the Jordan River. When they had fulfilled their promises and responsibilities in helping the tribes take Canaan, they were given what they were promised. Another example of faithfulness.
The greatest example of faithfulness, of course, was that on the part of the Lord himself. These closing chapters recount Israel’s travels through the wilderness under the faithful care and provision of God. He had promised to go with them and provide for them, and that he did. The people are now encamped east of the Jordan and getting ready to go into the land. They can do so with the confidence that the God who has been with them until now will continue with them. God is faithful! That’s why we can sing with such confidence:
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
and cast a wishful eye
to Canaan’s fair and happy land,
where my possessions lie.
I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land;
oh, who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.