MOSES’ LAST SONG; JESUS’ REQUEST; WHAT KIND OF INSTRUMENT ARE YOU?
MOSES’ LAST SONG
Some songs stick with us for a lifetime. When we hear them, they can rouse foundational convictions, stir up youthful silliness, or trigger the memory of a particular person or place in our past history. They can subtlety persuade us to vocalize a philosophy we do not truly believe. They can guide us to ways that are true or false. We hear just the hint of a familiar melody from our school days and our brain will boot up an old recording and we will find that the song is being played repeatedly in our heads throughout the day, complete with lyrics.
Moses was told to put a strong prophetic warning to Israel in the form of a song. Moses would be gone, but his prophetic voice would continue to be heard. The Lord wanted the new generations to know the truth. They would one day turn away from their covenant loyalty to God and suffer the consequences.
They might think– How could this happen to us? They were the new generation! They could rise to any challenge! We have experienced the dealings of the Lord first hand! We are the generation that has learned lessons from the past and we are the ones to take the land!
Once they settled down and had become prosperous, however, the deceptions would come. They would slowly turn away from the true God to worthless idols.
Moses was to write and teach them this sad song recorded in Deuteronomy 32, that they might recognize the deceitfulness of Canaan’s counterfeit gods, and return to faith in the Sovereign Lord of Israel as soon as they had opportunity.
The song reminds us that false gods leave us disillusioned, bankrupt, and miserable.
God promised to deal with His people. He would do so out of love.
Deuteronomy 32:39 (NASB) 39 ‘See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
The children of Israel were to receive this word as their means of salvation. They were to believe it. This instruction points to the Living Word, the New Torah, Yeshua (whose name means salvation). This Greater Joshua will bring us into what God has promised of a greater inheritance than that of Canaan. He brings us into the gift of forgiveness of sins, the inheritance of eternal life, and participation in His righteous rule throughout the ages.
Deuteronomy 32:47 (NASB) 47 “For it is not an idle word for you; indeed, it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”
Moses was told that the time had come for him to die. He was to go up to the top of Mt. Nebo where he would be able to look out at the Promised Land of Canaan. Whereas Aaron climbed Mt. Hor (Sinai), where the Law had been given, and died there, to be gathered to his people, Moses would climb Mt. Nebo overlooking the Jordan Valley, the threshold of promise, and see the Promised Land. The purpose of the Law is to bring the diagnosis (the commands of God revealing the sinfulness in our hearts). But the Law also points out the cure- The Tabernacle, where God comes to dwell among us, put away our sin and reconcile us to His Holy presence in the Holiest of All, Jesus Christ.
Moses represents the Law. He can point to the righteousness that God requires, but he does not have the power to bring us there. He can point to the Promised Land, but he cannot enter it. The Promise is to be received as a gift by the means of Another.
Deuteronomy 32:52 (NASB) 52 “For you shall see the land at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel.”
NEW TESTAMENT READING: Luke 12:35-59
Jesus gives several parables reminding us to live each day as if it could be our last. We need to be prepared to meet Him. We will meet Him when we go to Him in death, or when He returns to earth. He calls us to be ready, watchful, faithful, wise stewards, and generous ministers.
(We heard these parables before when reading the Gospel of Matthew (Matt 24-25) when Jesus was on the Mount of Olives teaching of His Second Coming.)
Jesus is teaching that His followers must live in the light of an appointed Day of Reckoning that awaits us in the future.
Hebrews 9:27-28 (NASB) 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
In His first coming, Jesus came to take away sins. In His second coming He will take away saints, that is, He will be gathering believers to serve with Him in His kingdom, either with rewards, or having suffered loss through neglecting fellowship in His grace. Those believers who suffer loss will be saved as by fire (1 Corinthians 3:15). Those who are false believers suffer a worse fate.
The first picture is one of servants ready to receive their master when he comes home from a wedding feast and knocks on the door seeking entrance into his home. He will surprise and bless those servants who greet his arrival, even if in the middle of the night, by having them recline at the table and he will dine with them and serve them! (Luke 12:37)
Jesus continually demonstrates His unsurpassed humility, even in His kingdom, as the one among us who serves.
Luke 22:27 (NASB) 27 “For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
Whereas the first picture is one of our being ready to answer the door when he knocks, the second is a matter of our not being watchful when He breaks in like a thief. This parable emphasizes that His coming will be sudden and unexpected.
Jesus then speaks of the “faithful and wise manager” who has been appointed to give a portion of food at the proper time. He is consistent and reliable. He will be blessed by his master by being given responsibilities over all his possessions. This person lives each day with such excellence that he would be pleased if his master would come that day.
Jesus contrasts this faithful and wise manager with one who lives for himself rather than to please his master. He is cruel and unjust towards others and self-indulgent in his practices. He is punished rather than rewarded when his master comes. Jesus dramatically illustrates him being cut up and assigned a place with the unbelievers (See Matt 24:51; Luke 13:27-28). These metaphors for judgment indicate the eternal punishment and separation from God that awaits the one who has so dishonored his master.
The fourth picture (in verse 47) is that of a slave who knew the master’s will but did not get ready or act in accordance to his will.
BE GENEROUS WITH WHAT HE HAS GIVEN- GOOD STEWARDS
When you are given the knowledge of the will of God, you are required to do it. When we are given material blessings, we are to ask our Master how He would have us use them in His service.
Luke 12:48b (NASB) From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
BE READY TO COUNT THE COST (TO SACRIFICE)
It costs something to be ready, watchful, faithful, reliable, and to be a good steward. It costs you your reputation, for these values are countercultural. Jesus speaks of division being caused on account of Himself. If we are faithful to His Word, diligent in doing His will, we must be ready for opposition.
Jesus knew that the will of God involved suffering. His suffering would involve a baptism in which He would taste the cup of God’s wrath against sin. He would suffer at the hands of men and God. Yet He would remain faithful.
Let us draw strength by looking to Him.
Hebrews 12:2-3 (NASB) 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
The Psalmist recounts the history of Israel in their relationship to God. When he describes how they have turned aside to other gods, he likens them to a treacherous bow in archery, sending the arrow’s trajectory away from the intended target.
Psalm 78:56-57 (NASB) 56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep His testimonies, 57 But turned back and acted treacherously like their fathers; They turned aside like a treacherous bow.
The Archer’s bow that was once considered reliable has become useless. When the heart is turned aside, the trajectory of every arrow will miss its God-glorifying target.
TODAY’S PROVERB: Proverbs 12:24
Proverbs 12:24 (NASB) 24 The hand of the diligent will rule, But the slack hand will be put to forced labor.
What you do today will affect your future. Act diligently or you will be acted upon.
Lord, help us to guard our hearts diligently, so they are not turned aside from serving your faithfully. Make us doers of your Word and not hearers only!
PRAY FOR THE NATIONS: Continue to pray for China; Prayer Requests can be found on p.217-219 in the book, “Operation World”.
PRAYER: O Lord, You are the author and finisher of our faith. You not only point to Your Promise through the Law, You give us the Promise in Your Son! Thank You for Jesus. He truly is the crown of the Torah, the Bread of Life. We have an unforgettable song to sing. We will sing of the Lamb’s victory over sin and death and Your mercies towards us forever. May we never turn aside from centering our lives on You, In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. (Colossians 1:28, J.B. Phillips paraphrase)
New Life Community Church, Concord, MA 10742