is customary for a departing leader to make a farewell speech. In business
this usually takes the form of a collection of platitudes. Moses, however,
goes right to the heart of the problem remaining: how good the Lord is, how
derelict his people in acknowledging it.
Lord Portrayed As
previously noted, the Rock is a symbol for God. We might also point out that
as such there is some human experience with “the rock” here:
is a common description of a fortress (think of Masada.)
Israelites have seen water flow from the rock on more than one occasion.
In the desert, water is life.
the New Testament this Rock (note the capitals) is identified as being Christ.
So we see for the contemporary Christian that Christ is both fortress and
source of life.
is a source of amazement how the Israelites could see so many miracles with so
little effect on their minds. So Moses reminds them of the power of God:
he says, ask your fathers. They’ve been around longer, seen a lot more
and (theoretically) should be wiser. (And no, my kids wouldn’t either).
look at his providence – the working together of things for those who love
him. Miracles are rare; providences much more common.
forward, there will be enemies who will scourge Israel – and then
vengeance will be taken on them by God. The time will come when you see
is only a sketch, of course. But the modern Christian might well ask why he
doesn’t see these things.
goes deep into the nature of God: He is truth. We see it here in three ways:
works are perfect. This is more and more apparent the more we know about
science – God’s laws are, as the physicists say, elegant.
is upright and just – the very idea of right and wrong comes from Him. As
Job found out, there is no blame attached to him.
most important of all, God is infinite – and therefore there are no other
is this a problem? Indeed it is. Look at verse 9:
Deu 32:9 NIV
For the LORD's portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted inheritance.
doesn’t sound all that threatening until you see what the rest of the Scripture
says about “the LORD’s portion.”
Num 18:28-29 NIV
In this way you also will present an offering to the LORD from all the tithes
you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the LORD's
portion to Aaron the priest. (29) You must
present as the LORD's portion the best and holiest part of everything given to
are to be the best and holiest, as God’s people. As will be seen, this is a
target that is hard to hit.
Depravity of Man
shows us an increasing scale of man’s evil ways.
first thing you need to know about spiritual blindness is just that: it’s
spiritual. It starts with a decision that says, “I won’t see.” In particular,
it is a refusal to see where your conduct leads. Christian minds can see that
the progress of sexual misconduct – adultery, homosexuality – leads next to
pedophilia being the civil rights debate of the next decade. Our society
denies this; they will not see it. But soon, blindness will see attractive
often forget that we have been blessed by God. But should we not at least
acknowledge our debts to Him?
is our creator. Without Him, there is no universe. No universe, no
“us.” We are contingent beings.
has blessed us richly in the past.
remains to this day our Rock – fortress, supply and shelter.
a lot to forget! But we manage the trick, and can therefore be heard asking
for big things without acknowledging who He is.
the Old Testament, adultery was often used as the symbolic description of the
idolatry of Israel. God is betrothed to Israel, just as the church is the
bride of Christ. It is interesting to note that we have abandoned a women’s
submission in marriage (it’s just “respect” now), and in parallel to that the
church is no longer in submission to Christ. Rather, she adapts to the times
around her. It is better to be “cool” than to be righteous, evidently.
this can be a personal infidelity too. The most common, in my observation, is
the love of money. Money is a useful servant; making it your god will ruin
explained the problems with much more poetry and power than I could ever
create, Moses reproves the Israelites. Here are three themes in that reproof:
you are a child of God, you are required to separate yourself from the ways of
Once you become a Christian you become a member of the family of God – just as
the Jews did here – by adoption. This is why our Lord taught us to pray, “Our
as can be seen, if you are disobedient you forfeit this blessing. Verse 5 says
Deu 32:5 NIV
They have acted corruptly toward him;
to their shame they are no longer his children,
but a warped and crooked generation. 
may now be permitted a few minutes of chanting, “Once in grace, always in
grace.”) It seems some things never change.
for no other reasons than these, you are obligated to the Lord God Almighty:
His universe. He is your creator. You borrow the very idea of existence
from Him. I’m not sure just how much that obligates us, but it’s not
are the recipients of His grace – the love given to a wayward child.
Heaven and hell hang in the balance; do we see no advantage to heaven?
are the heirs of promise – in particular the promise of the resurrection.
He is faithful and will do it.
is hard not to see obligation here.
is what it comes down to: obedience. Adoption provides our benefits;
obligation is a motive for obedience.
Obedience to His commands signifies two things:
it signifies a love for God.
God does not beat you into submission; rather, He woos you with His love,
asking your love in return.
it is a mark of the follower of Christ.
is a simple thing, really – love God, and do as you please. You will be
pleased to be obedient indeed.