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.
1. OUR TEACHING SHOULD PROCLAIM GOD’S GREATNESS
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.
2. WE ARE TOTALLY DEPRAVED, WARPED AND PERVERTED
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 ( 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
3. OUR VALUE IS IN FACT THAT WE ARE GOD’S INHERITANCE
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.
4. LUXURIOUS LIVING LEADS TO TENDENCY TO FORSAKE GOD
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 FROMUNREPENTANT 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
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 LIFEARE FROM OUR
SOVEREIGN GODIn 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