The poem I just read from the Law of Moses is referred to as a song. It occurs at the end of his life. Moses is about to die. He’s passing on the leadership of Israel to Joshua, who will lead the people across the Jordan and into the Promised Land. Deuteronomy is known as the second teaching. A review of their misadventures, and of God’s providing through their 40 years the wilderness, is told by Moses to the people. The purpose of Moses’ second teaching is to remind the Israelites of God’s goodness to them and warn them of their tendency toward idolatry.
The song of Moses begins with praise for the Lord and His providing, but it soon falls into prophetic warnings confronting Israel’s wayward heart. We only read the half of the song, the praise part. It helps to know we are reading material that was assembled either while in exile in Babylon or soon after Israel’s return from exile in the period of restoration under Persia. The author has the advantage of reading Israel’s history of slavery, redemption and shaping through the trials of the wilderness, through the lens of epic failure and defeat at the hands of Babylon.
If you were the leader of people, what would be your last words as you are handing the reigns of leadership over to your successor? Moses found it of utmost importance to impress upon the people the consequences of their choice to worship false gods. God will hand them over to Babylon, a senseless nation of idolaters. The Israelites will suffer defeat and terrible loss. Other prophets will describe their suffering at the hands of Babylon as something akin to rape. But as it true with most prophetic oracles, the Lord will not remain angry forever, but will restore Israel and punish the nation that God had sent to punish them. Moses wants Israel to know what happens when you turn your heart away from the living God and toward empty and lifeless idols.
The Rock, his work is perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God, without deceit,
just and upright is he (Dt 32:4)
Consider the Lord and how He provides for you in your journey through life.
He is the Father who created you and called you as His own.
God sustains you with the breath of life, God’s own Spirit.
God protects you from 1000 dangers, without your knowledge.
Like a tender mother eagle that spreads her wings over her young, God shelters you in Her loving embrace. When you are feeling lost, God guides you and answers the deep searchings of your heart. God provides what you most need.
As David wrote, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.
When I give my last words, let them be filled with praise for the Lord who is ever faithful. Even when I strayed from the path to life, God remained ever vigilant for me. Though I suffered greatly for my foolishness, I was spared death and redeemed by His faithful love through Jesus Christ. All the vain things I have given my heart to, have never given me the security and satisfaction that God does. Only in The Lord is there life abundant. And God gives freely to all who turn their hearts to Him in faith.
Remember the days of old,
consider the years long past;
He set you upon the heights! Remember your God’s faithful love and come to Him for life everlasting.