“Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe 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 which you cross the Jordan to possess.”
And the LORD said to Moses: “Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ And I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they have done, in that they have turned to other gods. “Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant. Then it shall be, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in the mouths of their descendants, for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land of which I swore to give them. ””
Deuteronomy 31:12-13, 16-21 NKJV
WOW! Warned but determined to do the opposite of what we’ve been warned about. Why do we put up gates when our children begin to show independence? Why do we put covers on electrical outlets? Why do we have locks on the lower cupboards? Why do we warn about the stove, crossing the street etc.? To protect the vulnerabilities of our children. Our Heavenly Father does the same thing for us. But as parents we all know that no matter how many safety protocols we put in place, they’re only temporary. Eventually one or all of the protective warnings will be ignored.
God told Moses to speak in the hearing of Israel and the foreigners among them His protective laws, He wanted to be sure there was no excuse for rebellion. He is a Just, Righteous and Holy God. He had been faithful throughout Israel’s sojourning. They had lacked nothing. He provided and protected. Now the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had come full circle. It was time to enter the land flowing with milk and honey. The place where abundance flowed. But, He cautioned against turning to other gods and forgetting His laws.
It’s one thing to face something you’re not prepared for, it’s quite another to be told in advance what you’re capable of doing but make no preparation for changing it. God told Moses, I already know what they’re going to do, but to prevent them from saying that the Lord was unjustified in His punishment, which was inevitable, He had Moses warn them ahead of time. I’m sure we as parents can understand why, we do the same thing as evil as we are. The “I told you so” has been used by all of us when our warnings were ignored.
God told Moses to write a song and rehearse it in the ears of the Israelites so that it would serve as a reminder of the warnings they had received. How many times after we had gone against the Holy Spirit’s warnings, do we say these words. ”I should have followed my mind?” It wasn’t your mind, it was the Holy Spirit. The uneasiness, the racing heartbeat, the questioning of the decision, that was the warning of the Holy Spirit. But we’re guilty, like Israel of being warned yet...
The Bible tells us that what we read of Israel’s transgressions are warnings not to repeat their mistakes. Their rebellion is our teacher. Are we listening? From the looks of things, we’re not doing a good job of heeding. The fear of the Lord is not among us. Do we even know what it means to fear Him? As I read verse 48 of chapter 32, I had this sense of overwhelming reverence. God is POWERFUL! He is to be believed and revered. We do not know at what point in our lives our loyalty and obedience will be put to the test, but we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, strive to live a life of surrender to His will and ways. Obedience at every level will equip us to overcome the temptation of rebellion. We never want to make the mistake of saying what we won’t do, but we can have confidence in the indwelling Holy Spirit to stand up in every situation and overcome the flesh and it’s desires.
Israel’s mistake was their confidence in their own abilities. God knew that no matter what they said with their mouths, without a reverential fear of Him, they would fail. He told them that the foreigners among them, would learn to fear Him by them being observant to His laws. The same applies to us. The world at large is watching and listening for our responses to different events, to learn who God is. God had done so much for Israel and was about to do so much more, so it must’ve hurt His heart to say; “They will forsake Me and break the covenant I made with them.” Is He having to say the same of us?
The song He had Moses write and sing, is a culmination of all He had done, but also a warning of what was to come. You may read it in chapter 32. Very intense. But God doesn’t have surprise punishment. We are, as Israel was, warned. We have a choice to make. We can ignore or comply. God, knowing all this, kept covenant. He brought them to the land of promise. They enjoyed all the benefits, saw everything He did, still they forsook Him. I pray that our hearts will be broken as we read. That we will purpose in our hearts to daily, with the Holy Spirit’s counsel, live a life that pleases Him. I pray we’ll heed the warnings and protect our hearts and minds by the daily washings of the Word. The more we know and obey, the less opportunity we give ourselves to forsake His laws. Listen to this question in the song; Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?
May our hearts break and yearn to be completely His. No false gods, no self worship. May our desires conform to His will. He only wants the best for us. Why don’t we believe Him? Repay Him by your obedience, by remembering all He has done for you. Let Him teach you what it means to fear Him. Let’s get it right! He deserves our best.
Prayer: Go to Him now. Confess your sins. He’s faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Why He loves me I’ll never know. But I’m forever grateful. Aren’t you?
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit