Last week Moses prepared Israel for the renewal of the covenant and encouraged them to recommit to it. He listed curses for not keeping the God’s laws and blessings for keeping them. He ended by telling them they have a choice – life or death, blessings or curses. This week Moses is about to die. God gave him 2 final assignments: commission Joshua and write a song.
Deuteronomy 31 –Moses' Charge to Israel
Moses’ life was about to end and he wouldn’t get to cross over to Jordan to the Promise Land with the others. I feel very sad for Moses. He had served God faithfully for many years. The first 40 years was spent in Egypt where he was raised in Pharaoh’s palace. Then his life began to grow harder. He spent the next 40 years tending sheep in the wilderness. His last 40 years he spent leading Israel through the wilderness. He had a hard life and now he could not cross to the Promise Land. We may think it’s sad for him not to realize God’s promise, but I don’t think he looked at it that way. He lived a life of faith (Heb. 11:23-27). Faith doesn’t live with regrets of earthly comfort. Faith is living with heavenly hope. In the book of Hebrews several who were faithful to God are mentioned. In Heb. 11:13-16 we see that all those faithful died in faith without receiving the promises. “... I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” - Rom. 8:18.
Principle: Faith doesn’t live with regrets of earthly comfort - faith is living with heavenly hope.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Heb. 11:1.
Do you live a life of regrets or do you live with heavenly hope?
How are you living by faith?
How would others describe your faith?
Moses reminded the people that it was God who got them this far not him. God gave him 2 final assignments: commission Joshua and write a song. Moses charged the people to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid, because the Lord would go with them. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deut. 31:6. Moses then charges Joshua the same words in Deut. 31:7-8.
How are you encouraged by others?
Are you strong and courageous or are you fearful?
Where do you turn when you are afraid?
How has this promise help you when you are unsure or fearful?
Moses charged the priests to read the law every 7 years during the Feast of Tabernacles. This was “so the people could listen and learn to fear the Lord our God and follow carefully all the words of this law. Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” – Deut. 31:12-13. The priests were to place the law in the Ark of the Covenant.
The most important thing we can do is keep reading God’s Word. Why should we read and study the Bible? The Bible is “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). It’s His very words to us. It’s how we get to know God and His ways. It is a guide for us to live by and we are to teach it to our children. God does not change and man’s nature does not change so the Bible is relevant for us as it was when it was written. There is a lot of false teaching in the world and the Bible give helps us distinguish truth from error. It equips us to serve God. It helps us know how to be saved from our sin and how to get to heaven. There are many people in the Bible like Moses that we can learn from. We can learn from their victories and failures. We can ignore the Bible or we can learn from it.
Do you spend time reading and studying God’s Word each day?
How do you teach your children about God and His ways?
Principle: God wants us to follow carefully all His Words.
God knew Israel would rebel in the future and would serve foreign gods. They would forsake God and break the covenant. Because of their rebellion, God would bring disasters and difficulties upon them. So God told Moses to write a song for the people were to learn and sing so it would be a witness why God would be against them.
How have you rebelled against God?
Deuteronomy 32 – Moses’ Song to Israel
Moses recited the song for all the people to hear just as God commanded. He began by calling upon creation to confirm his message to Israel. He praised God by calling Him the Rock and said that His works are perfect and all His ways are just. He is a faithful God who does not wrong. He is upright and just. These attributes of God show Moses’ love and trust in God. He knew God could do anything and was totally dedicated to Him. Moses recited how God had showed His unfailing goodness to His people; how He gave them their inheritance through Jacob, how He always protected them, and how He was always with them. (Deut. 32:1-14)
Are you totally dedicated to God?
Is He your Rock?
Principle: God is our Rock and His ways are perfect.
In Deut. 32:15 - “Jeshurum grew fat and kicked.” In other words when Israel was blessed, they rejected God. They abandoned Him and rejected the Rock. They made God jealous by worshipping foreign gods which angered Him. They rejected Him and He rejected them. He would bring judgments on them. He would bring calamities upon them, spend arrows against them, and send famine and pestilence and plagues. He would scatter them and blot out their memory. (Deut. 32:15-26)
When Moses spoke the words of the song to Joshua and the people, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you – they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” – Deut. 32:44-47.
“The spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” – John 6:63. God’s Words are of great importance and are words to live by.
Do you live by God’s Word?
What has happened in your family or church when you take to heart God’s Word?
Then God told Moses to go to Mount Nebo to view Canaan. There he would die and be gathered to his people just as Aaron was. Both of them broke faith with God in front of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh. They didn’t uphold God’s holiness and were not permitted to go to the Promise Land as we learned back in Numbers 20. Moses would not cross the Jordan into the Canaan, but was permitted to see it from a distance. Moses would die, but he would live on with his family and countrymen who have died before. (Deut. 32:48-52)
Principle: God demands loyalty and obedience.
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