Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Canonical Reading Plan for Mar 10, Dt 32-34

Today's readings are Dt 32-34.

Moses' song is related in Dt 32. It is a history of the Jewish people. It speaks of God's greatness (Dt 32:1-4) in spite of the wickedness of His children (Dt 32:5-6). They were created by Him and redeemed by Him, then preserved by Him (Dt 32:6-14). As it has in the past, rebellion will always bring consequences (Dt 32:19-38).

The song is a reminder of the goodness and grace of God. It is not an exclusively Jewish reminder, though. It applies to all who believe and are part of God's family.

In a poignant episode, Moses is called to Mount Nebo, on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, to see but not enter the Promised Land. In a sobering display of God's sovereign authority over all things, Moses is told, prior to ascending the mountain, that he will die there. None of this seems to disturb Moses. We're not told why. Perhaps Moses is content with all God has done for him and given him and is now ready to go into His presence. At this point in Moses's life, it would be easy to believe that sight of the Promised Land would not compare favorably with the glory of God which he was about to experience.
Moses' view of Canaan (Israel) from Mt Nebo in Moab (Jordan)
Plaque on Mt Nebo describing the view

In Dt 33-34, the prophecy regarding Moses is fulfilled. After pronouncing a final blessing for each of the tribes, in spite of being described as having unabated vigor and an undimmed eye, Moses dies (Dt 34:7). Joshua assumes leadership as Moses is buried in Moab. Even in death, God's word remains true; Moses never enters Canaan.

Incidentally, the blessings pronounced over the tribes in Dt 33:2-29 harmonize nicely with the prophecies Jacob spoke over his sons in Gen 49:1-27. The blessings in Deuteronomy have a prophetic nature that mirrors those of Gen 49. They are descriptive of the areas each tribe will eventually be allotted by God in Josh 1. As such, Jacob’s pronouncements in Gen 49 bookend with Moses’ in Dt 33, framing the exodus and the wanderings in the wilderness and preparing Israel for the next step in their journey.
Tribal allotments as described in Joshua 18

Thus ends a major epoch in Hebrew history. God's people started out in Canaan, sojourned to Egypt where they became slaves, and were delivered out of Egypt by God and brought back into Canaan.

It is a parallel of the story of mankind who started out in the garden, fell slaves to sin and were ejected from the Garden and God's presence. God promises to deliver them out of sin back into the presence of God. The story of the Jews, so far, proves God can and will do what He promises.

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