The Last Song of Moses
In Deuteronomy 32 are Moses' last words to Israel before he died in Mt. Nebo. Moses feared their evil character and warned severely of Jehovah's judgment if they did not wisely respond to His goodness by obedience and loyalty to His law.
The LORD Jehovah of Israel is infinite in holiness, righteousness, and power; He will judge His people when they forget His goodness, choose sin, and/or trust other gods; in jealousy He will crush them in vengeance before mercifully saving them to destroy their enemies.
A Few Reminders about Moses
- God revealed Himself more to Moses – Jehovah – I AM THAT I AM (Ex 3:13-15; 6:3).
- God and Moses had a face-to-face relationship unlike others (Ex 33:11; Num 12:1-15).
- God counted Moses one of the five great intercessors in the Bible (Jer 15:1; Ezek 14:14).
- God considered Moses faithful in all His house comparable even to Jesus (Heb 3:1-6).
- God included Moses in the Hall of Faith for his great zeal and choices (Heb 11:24-28).
- The song of Moses at the Red Sea is sung also in Revelation (Ex 15:1-27; Rev 15:3-4).
- Moses also wrote the 90th Psalm, if we are to trust the Jewish scribes’ notation there.
General Information about the Song
- It is a song; there are many metaphors for strong word pictures, not detailed definitions.
- Like Psalms and Prophets, similitudes are used without a precise literal application.
- Like Psalms and the Prophets, the person of the speaker or audience changes often.
- Like Psalms and the Prophets, verb tenses may vary widely for the past and/or future.
- Due to these three factors, it is risky and/or requires much study to pinpoint events.
- These are last words of Moses, like David’s last words (Deut 32:48-52; II Sam 23:1-7).
- Moses and Joshua together, two great men, delivered this song to Israel (Deut 32:44).
- Moses told Israel, the O.T. church, to set their hearts on all God’s law (Deut 32:46).
- Moses told Israel, the O.T. church, to teach all God’s law to children (Deut 32:46).
- It is not vain; it is your life; it will prolong your days, Moses told Israel (Deut 32:47).
- The last words of a great and loving leader from God are precious, so hear this song.
- These words of Moses are quoted or referenced at least five times in the New Testament.
- Peter used verses 5-6 (II Pet 2:1,13), bought and spot, when marking reprobate Jews.
- Paul quoted verse 21 (Rom 10:19) for God provoking Jews by Gentile conversions.
- Paul quoted verse 35 (Rom 12:19), when exhorting believers to love their enemies.
- Paul quoted verses 35-36 (Heb 10:30), when warning faithless Jews about judgment.
- Paul quoted verse 43 (Rom 15:10) to unite Jews and Gentiles together in the church.
- If there are songs for Christians today from these words, the author does not know them.
- Great hymns like, The Mighty God, the Lord, Psalm 50 in the Scottish Psalter, are close.
- It is an inspired spiritual song/hymn, but those of exclusive psalmody dare not sing it.
How You Can Benefit by the Song
- Learn how pastors think, for Moses was a great intercessor that saved Israel many times.
- He was more pessimistic than optimistic for Israel before he died (Deut 31:24-29).
- Flattery is foolish, for it does the hearers little to no good; warnings are much better.
- He began his warning perfectly – his doctrine was good; Jehovah is always perfect.
- Remembering and considering past mercies of God help maintain faith and obedience.
- To whom much is given shall much be required, and you have much more than they.
- He wants you to remember His goodness and consider His providence helping you.
- After remembering His blessings, then you must choose to repay Him appropriately.
- God arranged an interruption to other content for this chapter on Thanksgiving week.
- You should only fear this God; He can easily deliver by His might from any difficulty.
- You should only fear this God, for He can and will punish even His own when they sin.
- Though fierce and sober in content, it should result in joy for the righteous (Deut 32:43).
Simple Outline of the Song:
1-3 Introduction to the Song
4 Perfection of Jehovah
5-6 Summary Rebellion of Israel
7-14 God’s Goodness to Israel
15-18 Detailed Rebellion of Israel
19-25 God’s Vengeance on Israel
26-38 Limits of His Vengeance
39-43 God to Destroy Enemies
Introduction to the Song – Verses 1-3
1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
- The universal appeals to hear the song speak of Moses’ solemnity before God and man.
- The universal appeals to hear the song speak of its source from God the Creator of all.
- The universal appeals to hear the song speak of its value for all creatures to hear God.
- With such an opening line, Israel should have trembled and then embraced every word.
2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:
- Doctrine = teaching and lessons. Moses intended his summary of lessons to help Israel.
- Solomon later was confident like Moses here of the value of his doctrine (Prov 4:1-3).
- Moses used four metaphors to describe the gentle, helpful, and nurturing effect of water.
- Rather than resent harsh or severe content and warnings, we must instead embrace them.
- Paul warned about despising doctrine and those that would (I Thes 5:20; II Tim 4:3-4).
- The nurturing aspects of Moses’ doctrine is explained by its content in the next verse.
3 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
- When doctrine and speech exalt God’s perfection as their focus, then they are both good.
- When God is fully known and understood by revelation, it is indeed good doctrine.
- When God is fully known and understood by revelation, good men will be perfected.
- God is perfect, and when this is fully grasped, then the rest of life is easily handled.
- First, publishing the name and attributes of God clearly fulfills the previous description.
- Second, since Moses published God’s attributes for his doctrine, hearers should praise.
- If hearers agree with doctrine, they should praise, as in the N.T., by saying, Amen.
- When preacher and hearers agree on the greatness of God, His warnings will convict.
- There must never be any questions or reluctance to give God unconditional praise.
Perfection of Jehovah – Verse 4
4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
- We separate this single verse for a section by itself due to its transitional role right here.
- After exhorting the nation to praise, Moses gave them fabulous content in one verse.
- Moses set the stage for what follows by declaring God absolutely holy in His actions.
- This verse is one of the Bible’s best containing several glorious attributes of Jehovah.
- True patience, a mark of Christian perfection, is cheerfully enduring negative events.
- Every Christian needs to remember these declarations for praise and true patience.
- Why not memorize it, since it is great for prayer, ruling thoughts, and helping others.
- Moses will return to Jehovah as the Rock, far superior to the helpless rocks of idols.
- A rock is a solid and lasting metaphor of God’s invincibility and immutability in all.
- The word rock occurs 9 times here – 2 for stones, 5 for Jehovah, 2 for helpless gods.
- Jehovah the Rock of Israel was perfect in all He did, no matter how severe to sinners.
- God has never made a mistake, is not making any now, and He never will make one.
- The content of this description of Jehovah is mainly for His perfect holiness in conduct.
- Israel needed these foundational axioms about their God before hearing His threats.
- Every Christian should remember and appeal to this verse before ever blaming God.
- Never let a Christian blame or even question God, for this verse allows for no errors.
- Even Moses needed this verse, for God strictly denied his requests to enter Canaan.
- From this glorious verse of God’s perfections we move to Israel’s rebellious profanity.
Summary Rebellion of Israel – Verses 5-6
5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.
- This is a terrible next verse in Moses’ song, but he knew the wicked character of Israel.
- A conscious and conscientious reader should want to shout, No! Why be rebellious!
- The stiff-necked and profane character of Israel is detailed over and over in the O.T.
- Israel is the object of Moses’ song and warnings, as he looks back and looks forward.
- Remember the nature of a song and how Psalms and Prophets alter verb tense uses.
- Moses was a prophet; he could look back by experience and forward by inspiration.
- He wrote the history of Israel, so he was intimately aware of their historical details.
- He looked way back 470 years to Abraham and the patriarchs in some senses here.
- He looked back with past tense verbs to the evil generation killed in the wilderness.
- He looked forward to this generation and their children (Deut 31:24-29; Josh 24:31).
- He knew they were evil in character, and their evil conduct proved it after Joshua.
- Joshua before dying declared that this generation could not serve God (Josh 24:19).
- We know Moses and Joshua’s warnings came true by reading the book of Judges.
- Their spot, character and conduct, was not of faithful children as they professed to be.
- Righteous men fall and get back up, but Moses described character bent toward evil.
- Peter used Moses’ spot from this song to mark reprobate Jews in churches (II Pet 2:13).
6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
- As the chosen people of God, Israel had the obligation to give God a return on His grace.
- Requite = repay. God had bought them out of Egypt and made them a sizable nation.
- To help you understand requite, Paul ordered children to repay parents (I Tim 5:4).
- There are many places that describe God as buying or redeeming Israel from Egypt.
- Isaiah declared that God Egypt for a ransom for His own people Israel (Is 43:3-4).
- Peter used Moses’ bought here to show depravity of Jewish reprobates (II Peter 2:1).
- It is important that we grasp the question and warning here. How have you repaid God?
- Jesus used a similar line of reasoning in His parable of the talents (Matt 25:14-30).
- Paul appealed to what Jesus had done for Corinth to excite service (II Cor 5:14-15).
- To whom much is given shall much be required, and God gave us more than Israel.
- God asked Israel what more He might have done to get good grapes (Isiah 5:1-7)?
- Everything you are and all you have are gifts from God. Gifts! You have earned nothing.
- You should never glory in anything you are or have, for it is a gift (I Cor 4:7). Amen.
- God is your Father; He bought you with the precious blood of His Son. Repay Him!
- He has made you and established you in any good thing in your life. So repay Him!
- Having summarized their wickedness and ungratefulness, Moses detailed God’s favors.
God’s Goodness to Israel – Verses 7-14
7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
- The Israelites were at this stage 470 years after God’s promise to Abraham at age 75.
- As Genesis reveals to us the history of the patriarchs, we rejoice at a great distance.
- The elders of Israel could tell and retell the stories of God’s faithfulness for the years.
- David, hundreds of years after this, would tell them again (Psalm 78, 105, 106, etc.).
- David used Psalm 145 to exhort Israel to declaring God’s goodness to many others.
- It is important we remember God’s goodness to us and to the generations that made us.
- Fathers and grandfathers should take their children back to see God’s hand all along.
- This writer blesses and praises God for kindly saving his grandfather out of spiritism.
- There are two things needed for this to happen – children to ask and fathers to tell.
- This is true shew and tell; the historical details of God’s goodness should get both.
- Reader, how did your ancestors get to America? Why? How were they converted?
- When we count blessings, it will surprise us what God has done; it will also convict us.
- At Thanksgiving time in America, there should be concentrated effort to obey this verse.
- We cannot forget what God has done, for we will forfeit our joy, hope, and zeal … here.
8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
- This glorious verse of geopolitics shows God’s sovereign involvement for His people.
- God is not watching from a distance; God is actively involved up close and personal.
- Paul took this rule of God’s government and exalted Him to Athenians (Acts 17:26).
- There is no mention of the western hemisphere in the Bible and many other nations.
- The focal point of God’s attention was His little nation of Israel and its neighbors.
- The kings of the north and south in Daniel are only due to proximity to His Israel.
- Every Christian American should praise God for America and freedom for Christianity.
- Why did God create North America and give it to idolatrous barbarians for centuries?
- It lies safely between two oceans, has unlimited resources, and was easily possessed.
- Where did America come from, and why has God blessed her so greatly for so long?
- Why has Bible Christianity been a greater part of this nation than any known nation?
- Do not forget why America is great – due to protected preaching of Christ … here.
- American history, the real history, is important for all people of any color that live here.
9 For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
- God cared about His people Israel against all others, for He chose them and not others.
- God set His love on Israel for His own reasons, for they were nothing (Deut 7:6-11).
- He gave them blessings that set them over other nations (Deut 4:5-8; Ps 147:19-20).
- What should Christian Americans think of the exceptional divine blessings now here?
- They should look at God’s favor on Israel nationally and religiously and see it here.
- America began as nothing and turned into a mighty nation that ruled and rules earth.
- America began as a pagan land but has been for centuries the protector of the gospel.
- Bible publishers and missionaries have blasted the gospel through the whole world.
10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
- The statements here may be applied to Abraham and the patriarchs without stretching.
- However, Jehovah also took care of the Israelites after Egypt for 40 years in the desert.
- Moses’ song obviously has Israel as its first and primary intent, but we can embrace it.
- Every honest Christian will admit that the verse describes his beginning and his end.
- If it were not for the grace of God in these sovereign actions, we would be beasts.
- God found us personally and as a church in the wilderness and led, taught, kept us.
- We want to be the apple of God’s eye (the retina within the pupil) – very dear indeed.
11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
- God loves the eagle, and He used this glorious bird to Job and inspired it through Isaiah.
- While beyond the scope of this study, the eagle here does five precious things for young.
- Does an eagle bear eaglets on her wings? Absolutely, when teaching them how to fly.
- Many nations have used the eagle for a national symbol and God did so for Himself.
12 So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
- We understand that Jehovah worked alone with no other god to help Him (Deut 32:39).
- This is not a description of Israel having no strange gods, but God having no others.
- The history says Israel had idol gods in the wilderness (Deut 32:16; Acts 7:42-43).
- Therefore, neglect or diversion of thanksgiving and praise is blasphemous treason.
- Let it be known by all Christians – every good thing you have is by the Father of lights.
- You are incapable of doing anything yourself; all you have are His gifts (I Cor 4:7).
- Know the LORD is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves (Ps 100:3).
13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock;
- God Jehovah blessed Israel in every geographical way to be prosperous and successful.
- Israel took mountain strongholds and valued high places; think the Anakims and Jebus.
- Whether the bee industry or olive trees on inferior rocky terrain, they greatly prospered.
- What about America? No nation dare touch us; agricultural prosperity is unprecedented.
- Oil out of flinty rock = shale oil production? We are the top consumers yet net exporters.
- God has favored America’s inventions, investments, and industry to be unprecedented.
14 Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.
- Agricultural prosperity – butter, milk, fat meat, good breeds, rich wheat, and great wine.
- A song, Moses compiled metaphors of animals and plants to describe luxurious eating.
- Kernels of wheat are compared to fatness and shape of kidneys for the finest wheat.
- Do not err by missing the metaphors – cows do not give butter; wheat has no kidneys.
- Grapes do not have blood – these are metaphors – wine is always the goal of grapes.
- This text has absolutely no sense of teaching grape juice itself as a beverage blessing.
- The description here from beginning to end is luxurious dining with meat, grain, wine.
- The same components are found in any fine restaurant, and grape juice is never served.
Detailed Rebellion of Israel – Verses 15-18
15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
- This inspired disjunctive but is terrible, and we should despise and hate it for ourselves.
- In spite of all He had done for Israel, they provoked God to jealous anger by idolatry.
- We cannot and must not slip in our fear and love of God and total devotion to Him.
- There is every temptation and diversion to take us off complete adoration of Jehovah.
- They did this in large part by God’s great blessings of prosperity and riches upon Israel.
- Prosperity is not the best thing for Christians, as Agur prayed against it (Pr 30:7-9).
- God’s blessings lead those weak in character to presuming they are in control of life.
- God’s blessings lead those weak in character to forget God like the foolish rich man.
- Fatness is prosperity; the best of the flock are the flock’s fattest; a stalled ox will be fat.
- Kicking is rebellion and stubbornness against God by confidence and circumstances.
- Peace, protection, prosperity, and pampered living does not make good Christians.
- The perilous times of the last days are marked by loving pleasure over loving God.
- Make a practical and helpful distinction of forsaking God and lightly esteeming Him.
- Forsaking the God of providential mercy is possible due to sin (Hebrews 3:12-13).
- But lightly esteeming Him, His kingdom, and His gospel is another fault (Matt 22:5).
- Let us make sure we never lightly esteem our glorious God and Savior in any way.
16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.
- Jealousy is an intense emotion that produces great anger (Song 8:6-7; Proverbs 6:34).
- Rather than ridicule the Israelites for folly, do you flirt with the world (James 4:4)?
- Spiritual adultery of any kind provokes God’s jealousy against His people … here.
17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
- False religion is devil worship, even another Jesus (I Cor 10:20; II Cor 11:1-4,13-15).
- Though pagans do not change their gods, yet Israel profanely did so (Jeremiah 2:9-13).
- Let us never change our God or anything about our God without a tsunami of evidence.
18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.
- Doctrine, praise, conviction, remembering are crucial for faithfulness (Deut 32:2,3,6,7).
- Christians can do the same thing by being earthly minded (Phil 3:18-19; Rom 8:5-8).
- We cannot forget what God has done; it is blasphemy, spiritual adultery, disrespect, etc.
- We cannot forget what God has done, for we will forfeit our joy, hope, and zeal … here.
God’s Vengeance on Israel – Verses 19-25
19 And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.
- These are the people of God; this is the church of God; these are elect children of God.
- It does not matter whether you look backward or forward, the Israelites were thus guilty.
- God is a Jealous God (Ex 34:14), and jealousy is a very intense matter, so look out.
- Can God abhor – abominate, despise, hate, loathe – His children? Yes, practically.
- Can God forsake His children, if He says He will not? Yes, practically (Deut 31:17).
- Can God despise and hate those that merely presume to be His children? Yes, surely.
20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
- We never want God to say He will hide from us, for we are wicked beasts without Him.
- God can and will withdraw from men or turn them over to Satan to expose character.
- God did it with David, Hezekiah, Peter (I Chron 21:1; II Chr 32:31; Luke 22:31-32).
- If men play with sin and/or think themselves strong, God will expose their weakness.
- This is righteous jealousy of God speaking to teach His children to humbly obey Him.
21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
- Observe here the incredible creative wisdom of God to turn Israel’s sins against them.
- They angered God to jealousy by idols; He would anger them to envy by Gentiles.
- Such turnabout is fair play, especially when done by the perfect Rock (Deut 32:4).
- Paul quoted this warning of Moses when explaining Gentile conversions (Rom 10:19).
- Israel should have jealously guarded their hearts and religion against forfeiting it.
- God’s creative wisdom worked; Paul used Gentiles to cause envy (Rom 11:11-14).
- God inspired this application by Paul, and He exalted other nations over Israel as well.
- When His people today move Him to jealousy by vanity, He can cause jealousy in us.
- Why has America widely revolted against even basic sense – sexually, politically, etc.?
22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
- These three metaphorical phrases are not literal, so we do not preach multiple hells.
- It is fire through the verse, yet the other objects of the fire are not eternal or spiritual.
- Hell is used in the Bible for the grave, the ground, death, and trouble (Psalm 86:13)
- Fire is used throughout the Bible for its thorough destruction and incineration of things.
- Nebuchadnezzar and then the Romans did comparable damage to Jerusalem and Judea.
23 I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.
- The ferocity of Israel’s God and Father should not be mitigated, for He was very jealous.
- Note the language – a heap of mischiefs on them – His quiver of arrows would be
- You have no idea how bad your life can get if you play with or provoke the most high.
24 They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.
- It is a song, so fabulous metaphors are compiled in glorious splendor of punishment.
- See starving hunger; devouring heat; painful destruction; wild beasts; poisonous snakes.
- This is not a novel written by a man with a dictionary; this is inspired wisdom of God.
- Each of these ways of suffering or dying are terrible, if you will consider them well.
25 The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.
- God knows how to pursue the souls of the disobedient outside and inside. Be warned.
- God knows you better than you know yourself. He knows your worst fears perfectly.
- He knows that suicides usually do so to pain inside, and He can maximize that pain.
- When a people are disobedient, God has no respect of persons by age or sex. Be warned.
- God does not think children special; He drowned earth to kill babies (I Samuel 15:3).
- He will visit iniquities of the fathers to the children of several generations (Ex 34:7).
- Moses had recently warned about severe judgment for ungratefulness (Deut 28:47-48).
- And the extended curses in the chapter just referenced are ferocious and very painful.
Limits of His Vengeance – Verses 26-38
26 I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:
- The inspired song is so detailed for our learning that it includes God’s internal thoughts.
- We rejoice to read David’s internal discussions of his discouragement (Psalm 42).
- But this is God’s holy and perfect reasoning about how far to take His vengeance.
- There are many devices in a man’s heart, but so many more in the infinite heart of God.
- He could not destroy Israel for His Davidic covenant (Is 10:27; 37:35; I Kgs 11:28-36).
27 Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the LORD hath not done all this.
- God’s internal thoughts, revealed to us here, included presumption of pagan enemies.
- The enemies and adversaries of Israel were enemies also of Jehovah, thus the terms.
- God does all things for His own glory, which may even modify His other attributes.
- Holy reasoning in prayer is a powerful tool to use like others with the Most High … here.
- When considering this verse, God knows if your sins cause blasphemy (II Sam 12:14).
- What if this 2020 election goes the other way? We deserve it, but He knows Dem spirits.
28 For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.
- It is comforting to know that sometimes God reasons about our weaknesses for mercy.
- Isaiah showed this perspective of God’s mercy (Is 42:25; 48:9-11; 57:16-19; 59:15-16).
- Bless God for this loving pity toward His children, and use it in prayer (Ps 103:13-14).
- Yet, there is in the heart of their infinite Father the desire for their wisdom as follows.
29 O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
- Moses told some, Be sure your sin will find you out (Num 32:23). All Israel needed it.
- Great men wisely asked for God to reveal life’s brevity and outcome (Ps 39:4; 90:12).
- Preachers and prophets warn about the latter end (Deut 5:29; 8:16; Isaiah 10:3; 47:7; 48:18-19; Jeremiah 5:31; 17:11; Lamentation 1:9; Hosea 14:9; Luke 12:20; 19:42).
- The Bible has precepts and examples for, Be Sure Your Sin Will Find You Out … here.
30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?
- This is Israel’s reversal of fortune from good to bad by virtue of their Rock sold them.
- The context is enemies riding high over them and their evil latter end (Deut 32:27,29).
- God promised Israel the opposite if they obeyed (Lev 26:8), but they rebelled (Is 30:17).
31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
- The reversal of fortune for Israel was certainly not due to the power of enemies’ gods.
- Therefore, any future misfortune for Israel would be due to their God forsaking them.
- Even Israel’s enemies knew Jehovah was exceptional and different than their own gods.
- Of course, they were incapable of rejecting their own religions to embrace Israel’s.
- This is no different than the blindness of the Jews in Jesus’ day for rejecting Him.
- Jericho was terrified of Israel’s God; Egypt knew the finger of God and the LORD; the Philistines feared when the ark came to battle; Balaam and Balak learned it.
32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
- Why had Israel’s God, their Rock, sold them and shut them up? Because of wild grapes!
- This explanation, continuing into the next verse, answers the question (Deut 32:30).
- As Isaiah would say later, the blessed vineyard was like Sodom (Is 5:1-7; 1:10-15).
- Every Christian should consider the grapes and wine of his/her life before God … here.
33 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
- In the beautiful, metaphorical language of this song, God had tasted their terrible wine.
- The character and conduct of Israel, prophesied here by Moses, was the most detestable.
- Instead of being wine to make God glad, Israel’s fruit was poisonous and cruel venom.
34 Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?
- Both the sinfulness of Israel and the providential timing of judgment were fully known.
- God has with Himself and in Himself perfect knowledge of men and His decrees.
- God knows all, thus the rule implied in context, Be sure your sin will find you out.
- However, the better sense is when God would cause their latter end (Deut 32:29-30).
- However, the better sense of the verse is what follows – what belongeth to God only.
- Moses recently told Israel of God’s secret things they could not know (Deut 29:29).
- Store and treasures – this is a song – refer to things God owns and keeps to Himself.
- The next verse identifies what God holds secretly – His soon vengeance on Israel.
- Think of foolish Amorites totally ignorant of God’s glorious calendar (Gen 15:16).
- Here is the danger and risk – since God’s timing of vengeance is secret – men presume.
- Thus the warning in context to consider their latter end before too late (Deut 32:29).
- David wrote of this terrible presumption by evil men to think all well (Ps 50:21-23).
- Jesus warned of His coming in judgment to be like a thief, unsuspected by owners.
- Paul warned that the second coming of Jesus would also be like a thief in the night.
- The best way to live is without any presumption but with total dedication to God’s word.
- Boast not of tomorrow, no matter how long you think you have gotten away with sin.
35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
- Vengeance and recompence for sin is God’s prerogative, but especially the timing of it.
- There is a due time, God’s due time, for men never think they deserve His vengeance.
- Their foot shall slide in due time, is the text for Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
- Israel should have considered their latter end, but now it is too late, for judgment comes.
- Daniel 9’s prophecy of 70 weeks detailed God’s perfect timing for Israel’s desolation.
36 For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.
- The first half of this verse may be found almost word-for-word in David (Psalm 135:14).
- The compound clause composing the first half of the verse has several interpretations.
- Some suppose the whole verse is positive, with judge meaning defend or vindicate.
- Some suppose the judgment is against wicked Jews and the repentance for righteous.
- Moses already combined judgment with mercy to open this section (Deut 32:26-27).
- Paul used the first part about judgment as punishment to threaten Jews (Heb 10:30).
- Thus, we read judgment as punishment in line with vengeance in the previous verse.
- And we read His repentance as a mitigating factor in lessening judgment for mercy.
- Read the first half of the verse with emphasis on the word and with section context.
- Habakkuk prayed for God’s mercy in judgment (Hab 3:2; Psalm 78:38-39; Jas 2:13).
- The LORD Jehovah would back off when He saw Israel crushed, desolate, in captivity.
- He would remember His compassions toward them after judgment (Isaiah 63:10-11).
- There are many other examples of such thoughts with God (Is 43:23-25; 48:8-11; etc.).
37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,
- God would mock His people by prophets and circumstances to expose their false gods.
- Since He is turning to rescue them, this mocking is to educate them for their repentance.
- God loves to debate men to expose the idiocy of false religion (Is 41:1-4,21-22; etc.).
- Be careful what you put your trust in, for He will jealously expose all other confidence.
38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
- Israel foolishly kept up sacrifices but replaced the worship of Jehovah with false gods.
- It is profane – paying sacrifices to other gods from agricultural blessings of Jehovah.
- It is profane – paying sacrifices to other gods that had never done anything for them.
- It is profane – like a whore paying men rather than being paid by them (Ezek 16:34).
- Thus, they spent their money for religious devotion that could not and did not help them.
- Since they had put these pagan gods on retainer, they should let those gods deliver them.
God to Destroy Enemies – Verses 39-43
39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
- We understand this section commencing here by its conclusion of vengeance and mercy.
- The previous section indicated God choosing mercy over wrath (Deut 32:26-28,36).
- Therefore, the sword and vengeance are for His sake to silence the pride of enemies.
- We understand the LORD Jehovah here had no other god to assist Him (Deut 32:12).
- God wanted it clearly understood that changes in their fortunes were only by Him.
- He has compared their Rock to other rocks; He has mocked their sacrifices to idols.
- In agreement with the previous section, God’s mercy to Israel now destroyed enemies.
- God kills and makes alive, wounds and heals; see both His chastening and judgment.
- Paul distinguished to Corinth their chastening/damnation and others’ condemnation.
- In agreement with the previous section, God isolates Himself from their former gods.
- God will arrange events to expose and shame any object of trust by foolish people.
- Then when He delivers contrary to experience or history, you know it is of Jehovah.
- None can deliver out of His hand – His own when chastened; enemies when destroyed.
40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.
- There is no god like Jehovah; He alone is I AM THAT I AM … independently eternal!
- I love God swearing by Himself, for there is no higher being or thing by which to swear.
- Do not be afraid of death, for you trust in the Giver and Sustainer of life and eternal life.
- Jesus Christ our Lord, the Man Christ Jesus, declares this trust of Himself (Rev 1:18).
41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
- Why is this God hardly preached anymore? These words are glorious in many ways.
- The effeminate content of pulpits today is disgraceful to God and disgusting to us.
- The God of the Bible is a man’s God, for He calls Himself a Man of War (Ex 15:3).
- Why would you fear any enemy, no matter their strength or number, if God is with you?
- Why would you not fear to displease this God, since He can reward you with judgment?
42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.
- Our God does not just speak of swords or brandish them, He will wash them in blood.
- The blood of the slain (those killed quickly) and the blood of the captives (killed later).
- Once God begins His vengeance, He will see it to completion and enemies destroyed.
- If His vengeance is slower than you think right, remember His mercy and secret will.
43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.
- Paul used this verse to exhort Rome’s Jews and Gentiles to church unity (Romans 5:10).
- What is the conclusion to draw from the fierce description of this great avenging God?
- We should rejoice, Gentiles and Jews together, for our great avenging Jehovah God.
- We should rejoice, Gentiles and Jews together, for His great mercy to His remnant.
- There is cause for joy in unpopular concepts like vengeance, when it is against enemies.
- Moses delivered this song to Israel with an exhortation to faithfulness (Deut 32:44-47).
- God told Moses to go up to Mount Nebo and to die after view Canaan (Deut 32:48-52).