Focal Passages: Deuteronomy 32:1-9, 36-39, 43
There is a tradition among recent American presidents. They write memoirs. They set up presidential libraries. They consult with the “next” president, giving insight into both domestic and foreign policy. Internally, each of these leaders is preparing himself for the personal and family transitions that will be occurring as they move from “public” life back to “private” life. Today’s lesson features Moses during the last months of his “public” life. He was now 120 years old. He had led the Hebrews (Israelites) for 40 years. No doubt his hair had also turned “very” gray. Transitions of leadership were already in place. Joshua would be the next leader (Deut. 31). He was a godly man, and was exhorted to be “strong and courageous, God goes with you and will never leave you” (Deut. 31:6). Additionally, Moses put the final touches on the writing of the law (Pentateuch), ensuring it would have its proper place to help lead the people into their future. Finally, Moses would give his farewell address/song, part of which is found in Deuteronomy 32.
Moses’ last song would have at least three important themes. Verses 1-4 speak to the awesomeness and worthiness of God. God is called the Rock – He is “rock solid” for us. He is “great,” His decisions and actions are “perfect,” His ways are “just,” He is “faithful,” and He is without “prejudice.” God is the One we can trust and depend on. Verses 5-9 shift from God’s nature to our own. It is here that personal and corporate reflection is needed.
Left to our own whims, we rebel against God and sin; act foolishly and become dangerously self-centered. Thus, Moses signaled a warning. Adopt a right perspective. Realize God created you. Realize He gave you what you have. Realize He has a plan for your life that is better than what you have the ability to create for yourself. Finally, verses 36-39 and 43 speak to the sovereignty of God. As such, He is an “avenging” God, preserving His people from their enemies.