Deuteronomy 31

Deuteronomy 31 has Moses finishing up his preparation for death and the movement across the Jordan to the Promised Land.  “I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in. The Lord has said to me, You shall not go over this Jordan”.  Moses knows what is not going to happen.  He isn’t making the trip across the river to receive God’s promises.  Yet he didn’t ever stop leading.  It would have been easy for him to just throw up his hands long ago when he was told he could never receive the final gift.  But he never stopped, and to his death he remains focused.

He tells the people to “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you”.  Moses knows God is faithful.  He won’t let them down.  Now he has to transition power.  “Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel….It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed”.  Moses makes sure everyone knows that Joshua is the man in charge.  He makes a very visible transition for all to see.  “Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tent of meeting….the Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud”.

He then talks to the priests, whose task it is to keep the people walking with God.  “At the end of every seven years….you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing….Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land”.  Moses wants the people reminded that they have to walk in obedience with God.

But Moses and God know that the nature of the people is to walk in their own way.  So Moses is instructed to “write this song and teach it to the people….Put it in their mouths”.  God wants a way for His people to remember His commandments, and a song is how He instructs Moses to prepare them.  Those words come in the next chapter.  For the prediction is this: “when I have brought them into the land….and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant….I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give”.  God knows our hearts.  We are tempted to do the wrong things.  We have to walk with Him in obedience.  There is no other option.

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