Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Moses' departing song, part 6: Deu 32:36-43.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: Moses' departing song, part 6: DEU 32:36-43.  


Announcements / opening prayer:



The severe discipline of Israel is not complete destruction as the next verse reveals.


DEU 32:36 "For the Lord will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants; When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.


In Israel there were the righteous and the wicked. The wicked were disciplined and the righteous were vindicated.


By disciplining and destroying the wicked unbelievers in Israel God had compassion on His believing servants who were thus vindicated.


"His people" is no doubt Israel as a whole, but this whole was composed of righteous and wicked, and God could only help the righteous to justice by punishingdisciplining and destroying the wicked. In this way the judging of His people became compassion towards His servants. "His servants" are the righteous, or, speaking more correctly, all who in the time of judgment are found to be the servants of God, and are saved.


Examples are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and many more like the writer of Psa 119 who turned to their faith in God's promises and His word during these times.


EZE 14:19-20

"Or if I should send a plague against that country and pour out My wrath in blood on it, to cut off man and beast from it, even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in its midst, as I live, "declares the Lord God," they could not deliver either their son or their daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness."


In other words, being related to them will not matter, not even a relation as close as a son or daughter. All these Jews in captivity rightly claim descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as well as to Noah, some to Daniel, and yet they are distant relatives. If the sons of these three were apostate they will not be delivered, how much more an apostate distant relative?


Because Israel was His nation, the Lord judged it in such a manner as not to destroy it, but simply to discipline it for its sin of unbelief. When enough people for enough time rejected the promises of God and the Law of God, which led them to pride, lust, greed, and maliciousness from one to another, God brought destruction while vindicating and protecting His believers. This is not to say that the believers were not hurt in association to the rest of the nation under severe discipline, but they could respond to that hurt with the power of God and glorify Him in it. Daniel is a wonderful example of just that. In this He had compassion upon His servants, when He saw that the strength of the nation was gone.


DEU 32:36 "For the Lord will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants; When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.


God will have compassion on His servants when the strength of the nation is gone. Gone = when all the rotten props of its might, upon which it has rested, are broken.


Under the reign of Jehoiakim, which lasted eleven years, it was the beginning of the end. The voices of Jeremiah, Uriah (the prophet), and Habakkuk were unheeded and scorned. It was a wretched government, characterized by public wrong, violence, oppression, and covetousness. While the land was impoverished, the king indulged in luxury, and built magnificent palaces, or adorned towns, by means of forced labor, which remained unpaid, and at the cost of the lives of a miserable enslaved people.


None remaining bond or free most likely means married or single, in other words, none of them will be left. The phrase cannot be taken literally as we know that some remained behind in Jerusalem or the area around it, like Jeremiah for instance and the very poor to take care of the land, but it is a phrase that points to complete destruction as opposed to partial. The land would get its Sabbath rest as God had commanded.


DEU 32:37 "And He will say, 'Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge?


DEU 32:38 'Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their libation? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place!


The worthlessness of their gods had become manifest, namely, of the strange gods or idols, which the Israelites had preferred to the living God, and to which they had brought their sacrifices and drink-offerings.


The handing over of the sacrificial portions to the deity is described here with holy irony, as though the gods themselves consumed the fat of the slain offerings, and drank the wine poured out for them, for the purpose of expression this thought:


"The gods, whom you entertained so well, and provided so abundantly with sacrifices, let them now arise and help you, and thus make themselves clearly known to you."


The appeal to their own experience of the worthlessness of idols is followed by a demand that they should acknowledge Jehovah as the only true God.


DEU 32:39 'See now that I, I am He [Greek: ego eimi], 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 I AM has the power of life and death and not the false gods. If Israel had only followed Him they would be alive instead of going into destruction.


DEU 32:40 'Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven, And say, as I live forever,


DEU 32:41 If I sharpen My flashing sword, And My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, And I will repay those who hate Me.


DEU 32:42 'I will make My arrows drunk with blood, And My sword shall devour flesh, With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.'


The long hair or hairy head represents the luxury and fatness of those who had forgotten their Creator. It speaks of strength that they think they possess but in fact they possess weakness.


DEU 32:43 "Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people."


This is a call for the heathen nations to see how Jehovah deals with those who are His servants and those who are His adversaries and to see it with clarity and faith and so rejoice.


We do this now as Gentiles and those of that time could as well if they mixed the promises of Jehovah Elohim with their own faith.


So then, as the song begins, so it ends:


DEU 32:1 "Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak;

And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.


DEU 32:2 "Let my teaching drop as the rain,

My speech distill as the dew,

As the droplets on the fresh grass

And as the showers on the herb.


DEU 32:3 "For I proclaim the name of the Lord;

Ascribe greatness to our God!


The servants of Jehovah are not the nation of Israel as a whole, but the faithful servants whom the Lord had at all times among His people, and who were persecuted, oppressed, and put to death by the ungodly. By the unbelieving Jew given over to demon worship the land was defiled, covered with blood-guiltiness, so that the Lord was obliged to interpose as a judge, to put an end to the ways of the wicked, and to expiate His land, His people, i.e., to wipe out the guilt which rested upon the land and people, by the punishment of the wicked, and the extermination of idolatry and ungodliness, and to sanctify and glorify the land and nation.


DEU 32:44 Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he, with Joshua the son of Nun.


DEU 32:45 When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel,


DEU 32:46 he said to them, "Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law.


DEU 32:47 For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you shall prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.


The word of God taken to heart = life.


The word of God is alive and powerful.


Moses did plead with the Lord to enter the land but his prayer was rejected.


DEU 3:23 "I also pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying,


DEU 3:24 'O Lord God, Thou hast begun to show Thy servant Thy greatness and Thy strong hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as Thine?


DEU 3:25 'Let me, I pray, cross over and see the fair land that is beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.'


DEU 3:26 "But the Lord was angry with me on your account [for your sakes - revealing God's faithfulness in justice], and would not listen to me; and the Lord said to me, 'Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter.


DEU 3:27 'Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes to the west and north and south and east, and see it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan.


DEU 3:28 'But charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he shall give them as an inheritance the land which you will see.'


DEU 3:29 "So we remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor [house of the opening].


All the way up to the highest top of Pisgah the eyes of the people must have followed him. He would look at the land and worship his Lord for one final time in his life by accepting in humility the Lord's verdict of discipline. It was a worthy crowning of such a life that had never been matched and was never seen again except in the life of Jesus Christ.


DEU 34:1 Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan,


DEU 34:2 and all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the western sea,


DEU 34:3 and the Negev and the plain in the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar.


DEU 34:4 Then the Lord said to him, "This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, 'I will give it to your descendants'; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there."


DEU 34:5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.


DEU 34:6 And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day.


DEU 34:7 Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.


DEU 34:8 So the sons of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses came to an end.


DEU 34:9 Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.


DEU 34:10 Since then no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,


DEU 34:11 for all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land,


DEU 34:12 and for all the mighty power and for all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.


Israel remained in the plains of Moab for thirty days while they mourned for Moses. Meanwhile the peoples just over the Jordan to the west are growing more and more anxious as well as fearful.


Joshua is patiently waiting. As the great leader and man of God that he is, he won't make a step until he hears from the Lord, and he did.