Deuteronomy 31-34: The End
We’ve arrived at the end. Many endings are happening here. We’re also approaching the end of 2023.
Endings can be exciting or frightening. And ch 31-34 is both. People celebrate the end of wandering but mourn that Moses is reaching his own end.
How did we get here Deut 1:1 - These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan: we’ve been waiting and listening to Moses speak to All Israel. This is right as the people are to enter the promised land.
In his speech he reminds us of God’s faithfulness, amazing ways he’s worked. Then he gives a retelling of the law to learn how to live in the new land.
2 weeks ago Tim helped us hear the next part of Moses calls us to choose life over death. To choose him.
This morning Moses is wrapping up his speech
Deut 31:1 Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: 2 “I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ 3 The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the Lord said.
Moses says he’s going to die, can't lead and won’t be able to step foot in the promised land!
So how will they make it? Moses led them through the waters out of Egypt, without Moses who would lead them?
Moses makes it clear, it was not him. It's going to be OK - That is because God leads them. The Lord your God will cross over ahead of you! - Everything will eventually end - except God.
It’s going to be OK because God is who truly leads his people beyond the end. Whether it's a good end or a disappointing one.
It’s God who leads us into the unknown - through his power and his strength. And as you make plans for 2024, remember its God who leads
Trusting in that means that we can be strong and courageous. Popular phrase - filled with encouragement. Mostly associated with the next book when God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous but this is where it appears for the 1st time in Deut Chapter 31: 6, 7, 23 and it comes from Moses 1st.
We want to hear the Words from God. Thats why you're here. But Sometimes they come through others 1st. The question is will we listen and learn?
Moses writes Deut, hands it to the Levites and instructs them that every 7 years they are to bring everyone together, men, women, children, foreigners and read it aloud so that all will be able to listen and learn. Listen and learn is a theme throughout the book. What do we hear.
They're getting ready to enter the promised land, what encouraging words will we hear? .
16 And the Lord said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your ancestors, and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. 17 And in that day I will become angry with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and calamities will come on them, and in that day they will ask, ‘Have not these disasters come on us because our God is not with us?’ 18 And I will certainly hide my face in that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods.
Moses is going to die and after a little while the people will fail. Its all bad news.
God says I know you and you will be unfaithful, You will turn your back on me and rebel. You will break your promise to God and will worship idols.
God will give you what you desire. If you don’t want his presence then he will hide my face from you.
Because of that disaster and suffer will take place.
Go gives Moses a poem/song to remind the people of this. It’s in Ch 32 and it will act as an eternal witness.
It's called The Song of Moses. It will testify against them and be a reminder why disaster has come, who's to blame.
Its discouraging because it reveals our failures but also reminds us of who God is Deut. 32:36 The Lord will vindicate his people and relent concerning his servants when he sees their strength is gone and they are without a ruler or leader. Among the discouragement there is Hope for His people. Are you His people?
Moses finishes the song and will soon die. He will only see the promised land from a far, from on top of a mountain.
But before that happens Moses has one final thing to say to the people. What will he tell them with his final words?
He could remind them of their coming destruction, beg them to be different, plead with them, he could blame them for what he told them in Ch1:37 - that it’s their fault he won't enter the promised land. But he doesn't.
With his final breath - he goes through the tribes and one by one he blesses them. His love for God has taken away any hostility and bitterness - he wants to leave them with a blessing. This morning Moses speaks to us and wants us to now how blessed we are. Deut 33:29 Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.
Consider how blessed we truly are.
Deut chapter 34
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.” And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over. Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses. Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
We began with Moses speaking to All Israel and End with All Israel. God wants all of us and all that is in us.
That's the life of Moses.
And now he makes a final journey up a mountain, and there on the mountain God shows him the promised land.
There are things God is doing through us that we may never experience. That we might only see from afar.
Are we willing to embrace that?
Through Moses God delivered the people out of Egypt and led them to the promised land. But because of his and the people's sins he dies outside the Land. He dies on the Mountaintop. He buried him - we don’t know where, Which is good, less his grave become an object of worship.
The problem is we need a Moses but no one is like him. Big problem since we actually need somebody greater than Moses. We need more than a prophet. We need somebody to save us. Who we need God among us. We need Jesus. God sends who we need! We are deeply loved and richly blessed. Let's live that way.