According to Deuteronomy 34:7, “Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.” How was Moses able to live to 120? And how was Moses able to live to 120 yet still have his strength and vitality?
The life of Moses can be divided into three periods of forty years. According to Acts 7:23, for the first forty years of his life, Moses was essentially a member of the Egyptian royal family. Once Moses determined to side with the people of Israel instead of the Egyptians, he was forced to live in exile for the next forty years of his life (Acts 7:30). After returning to Egypt to free the nation of Israel from slavery, Moses lived another forty years (Acts 7:36). So, Moses was a prince for forty years, an exiled shepherd for forty years, and then the leader of a nation of freed slaves for forty years.
One would think that what Moses learned as a prince of Egypt for forty years was what prepared him to be Israel’s leader during the forty years of wilderness wanderings. But the Lord also wanted Moses to learn humility. Moses’ forty years as a shepherd taught him to be humble and to rely on the Lord. Numbers 12:3 declares, “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” Moses’ experience and training during the first eighty years of his life prepared him to be Israel’s leader. But it was his face-to-face relationship with God that truly made Moses a powerful and godly leader (Exodus 33:11).
It is interesting to note that, when Moses died at the age of 120, he did not die of old age. This is despite the fact that, by Moses’ day, the typical lifespan was much shorter than 120. Moses had been supernaturally strengthened and protected from the effects of aging; he died because God had completed what He had planned for Moses. God had used Moses to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, record God’s Law, and deliver the Israelites to the borders of the Promised Land. Because of Moses’ failure to obey the Lord in Numbers 20:1–12, God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land with the Israelites. So, when the Israelites were ready to enter and take possession of the land, Moses went up Mount Nebo and saw the land from an overlook, and then the Lord took him home (Deuteronomy 34:1–7). The 120 years of Moses’ life are a perfect example of a follower of God being “indestructible” until God’s plan for him or her is completed.