His faithfulness will be your shield

Deuteronomy 32-34, Psalm 91

Deuteronomy 32 46 47 NIV

Even things that were written with a specific audience in mind can contain principles that we can apply, too.  Our look at this section of Deuteronomy this week has shown us a number of these principles.

As we dig into these final chapters, I want to back up a smidge to chapter 31 from yesterday’s reading.  It fits a bit more to mention it here, as a lead-in to the close of the book.  What I thought after reading chapter 31 was this:

How depressing for Moses.

Here he is about to die, and God decides to tell him that, by the way, these people that you served all these years…they’re going to totally screw up and abandon me.  (I believe the phrases God uses include, “prostitute themselves to foreign gods”, “forsake me” and “break the covenant they made with me”)

Clearly God knows what he’s doing, though, as he further prompts Moses to take this information and write a song that the Israelites can sing as a reminder.  (Showing what a great teacher God is, knowing that songs stick in our minds!)

Blackout Poetry

The song of Moses can be found in Deuteronomy 32.  I want to take a look at it by singling out certain words and phrases.  Blackout poetry is a form of poetry in which you take an already printed piece (article, story, anything) and black everything out except the words you want to shine a light on.  In this instance, I think it can help us get a feeling for the heart of God in these words.

Listen

Proclaim … Oh, Praise the greatness

He is the rock…A faithful God who does no wrong

To their shame they are no longer his children…warped and crooked…foolish and unwise

He made you and formed you

Remember

He found…He shielded..cared for..guarded…fed

Abandoned God…Rejected the Rock

Jealous…Angered

“I will hide my face from them,” he said… “They angered me with their worthless idols.”

Fire kindled by my wrath

Heap calamities upon them…wasting famine…pestilence…plague…fangs…venom

Perish

Scatter

“If only they were wise and would understand”

The LORD will judge…and have compassion…When he sees their strength is gone and no one is left

I have wounded and I will heal

Rejoice

He will…make atonement for his..people

 

Speaking of poetry, Psalm 91 is a beautiful picture of God’s protection and provision.  (You can read it here  https://biblehub.com/bsb/psalms/91.htm )  One phrase I want to single out is in verse 4.  It tells us that

“His faithfulness will be your shield.”

In Moses’ song, he says that our God is,

“A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”

We are foolish and unwise, weak and broken, and often fail.  But we can depend on God’s faithfulness.  We can trust that he does what he says he will do.  After all of this Moses tells the people in 32:47, and I remind you today:

“They are not just idle words for you—they are your life.”

 

Susan Landry

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+32-34%2C+Psalm+91&version=NIV

Tomorrow we will begin the book of Joshua (chapters 1-4).  Don’t miss out – Be Strong and Courageous – as we charge ahead on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan.

And if you haven’t started consistent daily Bible reading yet…now is a great time to start.  Come read with us and see God at work – through the books of Old Testament history – and in your heart.

The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32-34)

Thursday, September 22

deut-32-pic

By Jill McClain

Moses lived an incredible life, but at 120 years of age he realizes that he is about to die. He names Joshua as the next leader of the Israelites.  Then Moses teaches the people a song.  The song reminds the people of their history with God. It tells of the people’s repeated failures to follow and trust God, despite his repeated faithfulness and protection.  The song tells again of the punishment that awaits people that do not follow the commands of their Heavenly Father, but it also tells of God’s grace when his people repent and return to him.

In Deuteronomy 32:48-52, Moses is told to climb Mount Nebo where he will be able to see the Promised Land that God is giving to his chosen people.  However, God reminds Moses that he is not going to enter Canaan because of a sin that he committed earlier.  God loved Moses throughout his entire life, even in the midst of his sins.  God never left Moses side, but there were still consequences for his sin.  The same is true for us.  God has offered us grace and forgiveness when we fail and sometimes when we make poor choices we are able to avoid all possible negative effects.  However, other times, like Moses, we may have to face the negative consequences of our errors, but God still loves us and will always be with us through it all.

In chapter 33 Moses blesses each of the tribes of Israel.  Then in chapter 34 Moses climbs Mount Nebo and after seeing the Promised Land he dies.  “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt – to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land.  For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)

 

Crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 14-16)

Although God had rescued his people out of Egypt through the ten plagues, he was not finished yet.  Once they were gone, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart one last time.

Exodus 14.4
And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh.

Exouds 14.18
And the Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.

The Red Sea was part of God’s master plan.  He wants to demonstrate his power so that everyone will know that he is the great God over against the idols of the nations.  As Babe Ruth is known for hitting home runs, Steve Jobs for iPhones, and Mark Zuckerberg for facebook, Yahweh is known for rescuing his people from Egypt.  Years after this, Rahab told the Israelite spies what she had heard about their God:

Joshua 2.9-11
“I know that Yahweh has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.  For we have heard how Yahweh dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction.   And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for Yahweh your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”

Rahab, living far away in Jericho, has heard the rumors about Yahweh.  Because of his mighty power, shown through partying the Red Sea, she knows he is “God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”  Splitting the Red Sea was not haphazard or happenstance, it was God’s plan so that people would hear, so that he would get glory over the Egyptians, so that five hundred years later they would write psalms about it, so that thousands of years later you would praise him for it.  The ten plagues and the Red Sea are all about Yahweh showing the world who he is.

Once the children of Israel got through the Red Sea and the chasing Egyptian chariots, horsemen, and footmen perished, God’s people took some time to praise him.  They wrote a song about how he saved them and how he decimated Pharaoh’s army.  Miriam took up the tambourine and led the other women in dancing.  This is the appropriate response when God delivers his people from something–worship.  Has God delivered you from anything?  If so, then testify to it.  Share it with others.  And most of all, worship him for his steadfast love to you.