Through the Bible Day by Day
And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel.
THE GREAT LAWGIVER’S PARTING INSTRUCTIONS
This chapter is a link between sunset and sunrise. God buries His workers, but carries on His work. None are indispensable. Moses is succeeded by Joshua; Stephen by Paul. “The grass withereth… but the word of our God shall stand forever.”
The old Lawgiver passes on the assurances on which he had rested. After all, men are but the figureheads of movements which are greater than themselves. God goes before; God destroys; God accompanies and delivers. Let timid souls take courage. When the Good Shepherd puts them forth He precedes them, Joh_10:4; the iron gates stand open at His summons, and the big stones are rolled from the door of the sepulchers, Act_12:10; Mar_16:3. “He will not fail thee,” etc., reappears in Heb_13:5, as the right of all believers. It is for me and thee!
And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.
THE CHARGE TO HIS SUCCESSOR
Moses had already announced that Joshua would succeed him; but in view of the great difficulties which confronted the new leader, it was expedient that the guiding pillar should give him the symbol and pledge of God’s endorsement.
Two other sources of their allegiance were proposed. First, a song. National songs lay hold on memory and have a powerful effect in stirring the deepest emotions. This song, composed under the divine impulse, embodied the substance of the preceding pleadings and exhortations, and was suitable to be taught to the generations that followed. Be sure that nothing more efficiently preserves religion than noble hymns! Learn and teach them! Secondly, the book. See Deu_31:24, etc. We have already heard of this. See Exo_17:14; Exo_24:4-7. No doubt it was to this necessity of recording the Law and chronicling the story of the Exodus that we owe the origin of the sacred books which bear the name of Moses. See Joh_5:46.
And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.
MOSES’ SONG: THE LORD’S FAVOR UPON ISRAEL
The song of Moses, like the fabled song of the swan, was his last and sweetest. It is probably the noblest ode in the whole compass of the Bible, and is the source from which subsequent singers derived suggestions for their noblest outbursts. The marginal references prove how deeply it dyed the national sentiment.
It excels in the names and designations of the Almighty. He is the Rock: Deu_31:4; Deu_31:15; Deu_31:18; Deu_31:30; Jehovah: Deu_31:6; Father: Deu_31:6; the Most High: Deu_31:8; God: El, the strong, Deu_31:15, etc. What a study are the names of God, scattered through the Bible! Each was coined to meet some need of the human soul. What the rocks of the desert are to its shifting sands God is amid the changes of this mortal existence.
This earlier part of the song is very tender. We are God’s portion; the apple of His eye; as young eaglets, whom the mother-bird is carefully teaching to fly, the favored recipients of God’s richest gifts, Deu_31:13, etc.