Our Goal in life

Deuteronomy 31


Jerry A Collins



v          What does it mean to be a leader?

v          What is our responsibility concerning God’s Word?

v          Is anyone indispensable to God’s Plan?


Sometime od also when your feeling important and indispensable; the next time you believe you would leave a hole no-one else could fill, then take a bucket and fill it with water. Put your hand in it up to your wrist and wait a few seconds. Pull it out and the hole remaining is the measure of how much you will be missed—how necessary you really are in the scheme of things. You may splash all you please when you enter the water, but stop and you will find in a moment that all is just as it was before. This illustration is a way to remind us that no man is indispensable—especially when it comes to participating in God’s plan. Here we have a transition from Moses to Joshua. Moses had provided continuous leadership for the nation for the past forty years but had to admit that both his age and God’s plan meant he would no longer lead the nation. So this chapter makes provisions for the nation as they prepare to lose their leader and follow the replacement.


This section gives us things about Moses. He is 120 yrs old. He could no longer come and go. God told him he was not going to cross the Jordan 1-2. The outworking of God’s program, here for the nation of Israel, did not depend on any one human leader. This could be discouraging if you believed otherwise. You are not indispensable. But God is going to cross the Jordan with them vs 3 and he will use another person, Joshua, to do that. God always has a person He can use and in this case Joshua will lead the nation into the same kind of exploits Moses did vs 4-5. God raises up one person and uses him and then raises up another to replace him. Some principles from these verses: (1) God uses human leadership (Moses then Joshua). So the hope is that God will use us. (2) The leadership God uses goes ahead of the people into the direction God is going. The leader must first know where God is going—today that is in the commandments we have in the scriptures—and then have the courage and strength to lead the people there vs 6. (3) A leader knows that he/she cannot participate in what God is doing without God’s power because of the nature of the work vs 6b. Leaders understand the need for inner fortitude and backbone to move forward. (4) God destroys the enemies vs 4-5, but the human leader can be useful to help the people drive out sin. Of course, the problem with all human leaders, is they can lead the people the wrong way, they can be harmful. This was also true in the case of Moses but God still used him and now the mantle passes. So know your limitations as well as your strength and weaknesses. Your strengths will build your confidence and your weaknesses will build your faith. But never think you are indispensable to God. If He could replace a Moses, He can replace you. Serve with gratitude & humility that God would even use you. (5) Leader understand that moral and spiritual courage is a choice vs 7. It is a decision based on confidence in God not based on the circumstances you may have to respond to. (6) Leaders are confident in the character of God. So they know that the Lord goes ahead preparing the way—that He will not fail to give what is needed and will not leave you ill-equipped. So don’t fear vs 8.  2. OUR REPONSIBILITY IS TO COMMUNICATE GOD’S WORD SO PEOPLE LEARN TO FEAR HIM

First, Moses tells the people how he wrote this down and gave a copy to the priests 9. This symbolized transferring the responsibility for enforcing the Law, to the priests. Second, at end of every seven years, they should read the entire law to the people at the feast of booths—an ideal time to hear and receive the Word while in a spirit of faith acting out in this feast something of the original Exodus from Egypt 10. This mixture of faith and Word would be a means each year of renewing their devotion to God and learning to fear Him. So the priests were to replace Moses’ function of 6:1—of teaching the law like a poker prodding them with it to comply. This was in addition to and not replacement of the teaching of the Law by the parent’s in the spiritual development of their children. So, today, our responsibility as believer priests is to communicate the Word of God so that people can learn to fear the Lord, but that responsibility extends to the next generation vs 12-13. The whole point of this is that the people might follow God—His ways, His will, His desires, His expectations. The idea is to be ‘careful’ vs 12 to do all the words of the law not just some of it and we must get this across to the people. 3. DON’T MEASURE SUCCESS IN TERMS OF PEOPLE’S PROGRESS

Here we are at the commissioning of Joshua to replace Moses vs 14. While preparing to do this, God articulates how the people will stray from the Word and their God before officially commissioning Joshua in vs 23. This prediction of Israel’s rebellion and consequent judgment is disappointing news to say the least. God first appears to Moses in a pillar of cloud to inform him of this news 14b-15. He then informs Moses that he is about to die vs 16. God also tells Moses what would happen after Moses dies vs 16-22. The people will play the harlot after other gods, they will break the covenant and God’s anger will be kindled against them 16. Even tho Moses had repeatedly warned the people about this all throughout the book and their journey of the dangers of idolatry and of the need to obey the stipulations of the covenant, still the Lord knew that they would acquiesce and defect from God vs 17-18. They will be consumed by many disasters with no relief in sight because of this. They will conclude that God is not among them. God says He will hide his face from them in that day. If Moses’ life work was the restoration of Israel morally, holly, distinct people of God, then God told Moses at the end of his life that his entire life was a failure. All of the work that Moses did in writing and teaching the law would be ignored and spurned by the people. The people would forsake God. The point is—if you measure success in terms of people’s progress, you will, in general, be disappointed. But in verse 19, God tells Moses he did not do this for them, he did it for God. So God is giving him a song vs 19, 21-22, He wants as a witness between Him and them. This point of writing the song and teaching it to the people was not to have something to convict the people that the Law did not do. It was that they memorize it so they would remember the warning of the judgment to come when they did rebel and the need to repent. If your goal in life is to get your children to follow God, or to have the people you disciple, the ministry motivating people, to follow God, your life will be a failure according to the predictions of Deut 31:16-18. If we focus on getting others to follow God we will often be disappointed. Our goal should be to ‘follow God’ and others following will only be a product of our following God not a goal in and of itself. Moses is even convinced that while he was still alive and with the people they were rebellious against God, how much more after he dies vs 27-29.  

1. God will use you if your usable.

2. That use is communicating God’s truth. 3. People may or may not listen (Exekiel) but success not measured that way but by your following God. If you are doing what you are doing what you are doing for people, you will sooner or later be disappointed. God said to teach His Word not because they will change but because it is a witness of Him.