Words to Remember
Deuteronomy 4-6; 28; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 462-468
We worship God when we choose to obey Him.
“Love the Lord your God and . . . serve him with all your heart” (Deuteronomy 11:13).
Do your parents ever say things like “Don’t forget to take out the trash”? Or “Don’t forget to feed the dog”? They are reminding you to obey. The children of Israel were about to enter the Promised Land—without Moses. What would he say to them?
Moses looks longingly out over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. He is sad because he won’t be going there. He pleads with God to let him enter that land with the people. But God says to Moses, “Speak no more of this. You may view the land, but you may not enter it.” So Moses doesn’t ask about it anymore. He accepts God’s wisdom and will. But now Moses thinks about the children of Israel. Who is going to lead them if he can’t? Who is going to care about them? He prays and asks God to provide a good leader.
God tells Moses that Joshua will lead the people. Joshua has worked beside Moses since Aaron died. Moses knows Joshua is a man of wisdom and faith. So Moses is happy with God’s choice.
God has one last thing for Moses to do. Many years have gone by since the people first heard the Ten Commandments at Sinai. Most of the adults living now were small children then (or hadn’t even been born). They couldn’t have understood what was happening at Sinai. Few of them were old enough to know what it meant. So God tells Moses to proclaim those laws once more. God wants His people to follow His law as they settle in their new land.
And so Moses calls the people together. Moses’ face is lit up with a holy light. His clear and wise eyes look out over the thousands of people standing before him. These are his last words to them.
With much emotion he starts by repeating their history. They had been slaves in Egypt, and God had rescued them. He reminds them of the great miracles God had performed for them. He tells how they had escaped through the Red Sea. During all their travels, God had provided food and water. He had guided them by a pillar of fire and cloud. He tells them of the sins of their parents, who had grumbled, complained, and worshipped idols. He reminds them of their travel in the desert for 40 years before they could go into Canaan.
Moses also talks of the great patience and love of God toward them, of His forgiveness and grace.
Moses tells them that the rules God has given them are wiser than all the rules of other nations. They are to be an example of God’s wisdom. They are to care for the other nations. They are told of the wonderful things awaiting them in Canaan.
Then Moses goes over the laws with them again. He is still afraid that they will forget and stray away from God. So he reminds them of the wonderful blessings that will be theirs if they obey God.
He tells of the blessings of food, happy families, good leaders, and protection against enemies.
But Moses also tells of the curses of losing their land if they disobey. They will also have no peace or safety and they will live in fear and sorrow and with diseases.
Then Moses closes with a song. You can read it in Deuteronomy 32. It tells of the wonderful way God had shown His love in the past. And it tells of future events and the final victory of Christ’s second coming. Moses says, “Command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life” (Deuteronomy 32:46, 47).
The people are to memorize this song, to teach it to their children. They are to remember it always. It will help them remember what God has done for them.
After this, Moses climbed Mount Nebo in the land of Moab. There he looked one more time into the Promised Land. “And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said” (Deuteronomy 34:5).