Faithful God and Corrupt People

Deuteronomy 32

Jerry A Collins





v          How does this song choose to describe God?

v          What should our teaching proclaim about God?

v          Why does God give us His Word?


When we make a contrast we are showing the differences by comparing. We set something in opposition in order to reveal or emphasize the differences. We have a contrast in Deuteronomy 32 between the faithfulness and loyal love of God with the unfaithfulness and perversity of His people. Moses displays this contrast in the form of a song 31:30 & 32:44. There are other songs in the Pentateuch (Gen 49; Ex 15; Num 24). This song was spoken to the whole assembly of Israel 31:30; 32:44. It is part of the continual covenant-renewal ritual ceremony to be sung by the nation acknowledging at least two major themes. (1) Their obligation to obey the Lord as stated and restated by Moses. (2) The righteous and clear character of their judgment if they forget God. The instructions are given at the end of the chapter and comprise the following 44-47: (1) Take to heart all of the words in the song. Listen to the words not just the music. Consider very seriously what these words convey. The words of this song should have some type of impact upon them. (2) This song is a warning to the nation of Israel. There is a degree of threat associated with this song and they better pay attention. The threat will be in the form of god’s judgment upon them. (3) This song is commanded to be carefully obeyed as well as all of the law they have received. (4) The words of this song are not flippant or offhanded matters of human opinion but words that lead to the very living of their lives. Their existence, prosperity as a nation of people, their longevity depends on their obedience to God’s commands. So this song is a tune that must motivate Israel to never fail God in the future as their families had in the past. We can learn lessons to motivate us to do the same today.


In this first paragraph vs 1-4, the appeal to the heavens and the earth meant that the song has significance for the entire created order 1. The rain and the dew and the droplets and the showers 2 reveal the freshness and vitality that comes into one’s life when this teaching is applied. The content of that teaching is all about the character of God. That the singers would recognize God’s greatness and give the most serious consideration to the character and work of God. This would demonstrate two things; (1) That you trust in Him and (2) That you expect Him to be the source of every blessing in your life. So God is the Rock—stable and permanent. The only stability in life is clinging to Him. His works are perfect and just in all His dealings with us. No one can accurately accuse God of injustice. He is faithful—He can always be counted upon. God can only do what is morally right—he is incapable of doing any wrong 3-4. So our God is reliable, stable, consistent, always correct. Proclaim this and ingrain it in your life.


The contrast is stark. Warped in the sense that they bear no family resemblance to their father vs 5a. Perverse and crooked they could almost be counted upon to be sinful. They are reminded of who they belong to vs 6—God bought them, made them, established them. Is this how they repay God? So they are doubly foolish for their corruption. They ignored His grace in choosing them and then forgot His power in making them—especially since He could also unmake them. So the call to look back and remember vs 7—the theme of the book (4:10 ff 16 more times). The elders and fathers could verify all of this—that is all of the boundaries and inheritance God had given to the nation vs 8-9. God owns them and He is absolutely sovereign over all nations. We are depraved and prone to forget God not in sense that we cannot do anything good but in the sense that all of our goodness is stained—like coffee there is a lot of good water in it but it is stained. This, unfortunately is our problem contributing to forgetting God and getting us into trouble with Him.


Out of all of the nations, God made one nation. Here is a graphic description of God’s choice and care for Israel 10-14. The desert is probably reference to Egypt. The howling waste reference to their experience there. There in the desert, in the howling waste of life for them, God was there with them 10. Encircling them, protecting them, caring for them. The eagle metaphor 11 speaks of God’s wise and protective care. He was even there to ‘catch them’  when needed. Even in the most barren places, would become fertile 13. God’s daily goodness seen in the varied and rich food supplied to them 13-14. God cares for His own and He takes seriously the security and sustenance of His inheritance.


Here we have the details of Israel’s rebellion 15-18. We learn that prosperity is a more dangerous trial than adversity. In the one we know how desperate our need is to depend upon God and the other to forsake Him. The forsaking took shape in worship of idols 16-17. These are actually demons explaining the hold idolatry had on the nations throats. Paul says 1 Cor 10:20 says the same. This luxurious living lead to neglect and forgetting God. Same thing James talks about in 5:1-6. Only most perverse person forgets his father’s and mother’s love 18 and Israel was corrupt. Negro spirituals are about heaven because with so little to have and hope for here, they longed for heaven where it would all be made right. Watch out for prosperity—the more you have the more responsibility you have to use it and honor God with it—it is not an indication of God’s blessing. 

5. GOD WITHDRAWS FELLOWSHIP FROM  UNREPENTANT BELEIVERS God will hide His face from them as a result of their corruption 19-27. Once God has been provoked count on Him being angry with you. God is never pleased with any sin. There are awful consequences and comprehensive nature of God’s discipline that you can expect 23-27. From general in 19-22 we now have details for judging Israel. Famine, pestilence, deadly plagues, wild beasts, vipers, severe wars, the sword and no one is spared. Yet He will not annihilate them so enemies will not question his motive 27. God is always present with us even tho He withdraws His fellowship and guidance with us. He leaves us to ourselves and consequences of our own devices unless we repent!  

6. GOD GIVES US LAWS TO OBEY EXPECTING THEIR USE FOR UNDERSTANDING NOT JUST OBEDIENCE.  Without discernment Israel’s judgment would reach horrifying depths. Unable to discern the catastrophic end to which her rebellion was leading, and without the Rock to help them, they will be vulnerable and shamed by their enemies—poisoned and bitten by them. We need to gain understanding to have wisdom to live our lives in God’s expectations—that which is closest to His heart. You can do the rite things and lack comprehension about the implications and direction they take you. Susceptible next time to a different path or action that will bring more baggage not less. Eventually it all combines to deceive you about the path you are taking.

7. ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE ARE FROM OUR SOVEREIGN GOD  In 34-43 the vengeance of God is an extension of the righteousness of God. Giving life, death, sickness, health are ultimately not from my enemies, not from demons, not from my own stupidity but from the sovereign hand of God. God’s goal in judging Israel not to annihilate her but to bring her to point where she understood there is no God beside the Lord 39. (1) Don’t forget God and (2) Honor and enjoy your rela with Him