Wednesday, March 02, 2011

New Year: Dt 31-33 for Mar 2

Deuteronomy 31, all by itself, is enough to showcase the major contrasts of the Lord's revelation toward Israel.

The Israelites, regarding their obligations to God: "they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them" (31:16). God, regarding His promises, notwithstanding the former: "It is the Lord your God who will cross ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them" (31:3).

These contrasts are within one chapter. When we continue with the song of Moses in chapter 32, we have it in three verses: 32:3-5; repeated with elaborations, 32:7-14 (God's side), 32:15-35 (their side), and 32:34-43 (God's side after their failure). We saw these post-failure actions also in Dt 30:1-10.

As if that is not enough to comprehend -- present failure, and future success -- chapter 33 speaks of blessings to the nation, coming from Moses, the one who not only personally failed in his stewardship (32:51-52), but repeats God's indictment of the failure of Israel that he received from God (31:26-29). One who has failed, talking to a people who have and will fail, about future blessings! Where do these blessings come from? Where does 32:9-14 fit in? What explains it?

Part of the answer is God's love: "Indeed, He loves peoples" (33:3, lit.).

Part of the answer is due to a few events of compliance: 33:8-10;16-19.

In summary, the great preponderance of the future success of the nation of Israel is due to what is described in 33:26-29, summed up as "blessed are you, O Israel; / Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, / Who is the shield of your help / And the sword of your majesty!/ So your enemies will cringe before you, / And you will tread upon their high places" (33:29).

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