Read Deuteronomy 31
Joshua to Succeed Moses
31 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 Lordhas 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. 4 And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land.5 The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrifiedbecause of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Public Reading of the Law
9 So Moses wrote down this law and gave it to the Levitical priests, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel.10 Then Moses commanded them: “At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the Festival of Tabernacles, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. 13 Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Israel’s Rebellion Predicted
14 The Lord said to Moses, “Now the day of your death is near. Call Joshuaand present yourselves at the tent of meeting, where I will commission him.” So Moses and Joshua came and presented themselves at the tent of meeting.
15 Then the Lord appeared at the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the cloud stood over the entrance to the tent. 16 And the Lord said to Moses: “You are going to rest with your ancestors, and these people will soon prostitutethemselves 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.
19 “Now write down this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them. 20 When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their ancestors, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. 21 And when many disasters and calamities come on them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.” 22 So Moses wrote down this song that day and taught it to the Israelites.
23 The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.”
24 After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, 25 he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord: 26 “Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God. There it will remain as a witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are. If you have been rebellious against the Lord while I am still alive and with you, how much more will you rebel after I die! 28 Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to testify against them.29 For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.”
The Song of Moses
30 And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel:
Today we read about the succession of leadership from Moses to Joshua. Through Moses, the Lord encourages both the Israelites and then Joshua in verse 6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” In this passage the Lord reminds His people that He will go before them and will neither leave nor forsake them as they prepare for a new leader to take them into new battles (and eventually the promised land). Let’s camp out here.
Even though this Old Testament passage is centuries old, the law that Moses was writing and preserving for the Israelites was eventually fulfilled through Jesus, and we can still cling to these promises from the Lord! We know that our Lord is a promise keeper. In Psalm 145:13, we read:
For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; He is gracious in all he does.
Too often, the circumstances of this world overwhelm us, and we respond with fear and trembling. Wherever we turn, we see the prince of darkness ruling the Earth, spawning brokenness all around. However, as believers, we can see our fear and weakness as an opportunity to be dependent on the Lord. We can use it as an opportunity to turn away from the evil in this world and turn back to God’s Word and faithfulness.
Look at the New Testament example of Peter walking on water. What an amazingillustration! Jesus reminds Peter to have courage and keep his eyes fixed on Him, even as he is walking on water in the midst of the storm! Jesus did not stop the wind until after he helped Peter into the boat. So while Peter was scared during the storm and let the worry of this world take him down, Jesus knew all along that he would be safe in the boat soon.
In the same way, God knew that the Israelites would turn away from His commands and give in to corruption, even after He delivered the Promised Land to them. Verses 28-30 reveal the song God instructed Moses to write to remind them of their sinful tendencies. But God stayed faithful to the Israelites, and He stands faithful beside us, even when He knows we may take our eyes off Him and sink, time and time again.
Whether you are walking through a storm or rushing into a battle, you can remember that God is faithful. He knows where you are and what you are facing. He knows how this will end, and He has your best in mind. Even if you fall and feel crushed by this world, He is reaching out His hand to help. Lean into dependency on the Lord today and remember His promises; He will never leave nor forsake you.
- Where is God calling you to be strong and courageous in this season?
- Is it hard for you to believe the promises of God and trust that He has your best in mind?
- How is the Father calling you to dependence on Him in this season?
Jennie Allen did a great interview with Jamie Winship on the “Made for This” podcast about How to Stop Fear from Ruining Your Life. Listen here!
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1 thought on “Deuteronomy 31”
Chapter 31 is a perfect example of how incapable the Israelites were of following the law and keeping the covenant God made with them. Despite all the ways they had experienced God’s faithfulness and mercy, they were rebellious at heart. Even Moses’s disobedience would keep him from entering the Promised Land. That’s why repentance is the key that unlocks our hearts to true freedom. How desperately they (and we) needed a Savior! And that’s just what God did as John 3:16 testifies, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” The battle over evil, sin, and death has been won! Now we overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony” (Rev.12:11). The sinless Savior died to save us from our empty old way of life where we do not have to continue in patterns of sin. As the lyrics of “Battle Already Won” by Shane & Shane declare “we’re fighting a battle he’s already won.”