Israel had sung the “Song of Moses” at the Red Sea, which celebrated their victory over the Egyptians due to the power of God but this new song points out Israel’s unfaithfulness and the Lord’s chastening of His own people.
This song would indict the Israeli people for turning away from Adonai due to breaking His covenant. This was the most serious offense the Israeli people could commit. Isn’t it astonishing that everything in creation obeys the Lord except His own people?
Moses gave his message as a quiet shower, trusting that the Word would soften the hard soil and produce fruit in the hearts of the people.
Heaven and Earth are summoned as witnesses in verse one; Let angels and men hear, let this testimony of God be registered both in Heaven and Earth.
This appeal meant that the song had significance for the entire created order.
Anyone who followed the teaching of Moses in this song and throughout Deuteronomy would become fruitful and prosperous in the way rain and dew refresh the new grass and the tender plants.
These words should also rest on our hearts as the morning dew rests on the grass.
When Moses declares the greatness of God, he does it, not by explaining His awesomeness, His divine holiness, or describing the brightness of His glory in the highest Heavens, but by showing the faithfulness of His word, the perfection of His works, and the wisdom and righteousness of His Kingdom; in these, God’s glory shines clearly to us.
The key name of God in this song is “the Rock.” Seven times this title, “the Rock,” occurs. God is also portrayed in other metaphors: As an eagle caring for its young; a father disciplining and nurturing his children; as the mother who gave birth to Israel; as a divine warrior who fights against the wicked and powerful on behalf of the Chosen People and as the Redeemer who has purchased the people. Yet, in contrast, the nation of Israel is described as corrupt, perverse, and unfaithful.
Moses reminds the people how Adonai found them in the desert; how He loved them and sheltered them; He lifted them up to “high places” of victory; He gave them the richest blessings of the land, but what did Israel do? They forgot their God, rebelled against Him, turned away from His love and provoked Him to jealousy.
God announces his great disappointment; His decision was to withdraw His favor from them and chastise them. He would withdraw His protective care and Israel would quickly find out how they would manage without Him.
Images of nature also play a major role in the Song of Moses, as Israel shift dramatically from soothing images of a gentle, nourishing rain and soft dew on the grass, to violent images of chaotic and destructive forces of nature unleashed by God on the rebellious nation of Israel.
The land flowing with milk and honey turns into a desert land, a terrible wilderness of waste. The divine eagle who gently cares for its young, becomes the teeth of beasts and the venom of things crawling in the dust.
God’s gift of the sumptuous fat of lambs and rams is turned by the people into fat, sumptuous sacrifices to other gods.
A people fat, bloated, and gorged on the produce of the land, become people, suffering from wasting hunger and burning consumption. Canaan’s fine wine from the blood of grapes, turns into grapes of wrath and the poison of venomous serpents. In each case, the forces of nature turn into instruments of God’s judgment against a sinful Israel.
Israel would see that without God, one enemy would chase a thousand Israelis, and two enemies would chase 10,000.
If Israel was wise they could have easily overcome all their enemies through the help of the Three-In-One God, but when they abandoned Him, the Lord would teach them and correct them by allowing them to come under the power of the enemy, just as He may do with us.
Adonai would bring Israel to a place where they would know that He is God, their Rock and eternal refuge, of which there is no other.
When Moses finished giving these teachings to the people, in verses 46 and 47 he said to them: You must be sure to pay attention to all the commands I tell you today. Tell your children to obey completely the commands in this Law.
Don’t think these teachings are not important. They are your life!
Through these teachings you will live long in the land, across the Jordan River that you are now ready to take.
On the very same day that Moses gave this song to the people, his death was announced to him by God, and the command was again given to him to ascend Mount Nebo, where he was to survey the Promised Land, and there he was to die.
This was because Moses and Aaron broke faith with Adonai by arrogantly suggesting that he and Aaron, not the Lord, would bring brought forth water from the rock at Meribah Kedesh.
For this act of unbelief and failure to glorify Adonai before the people, Moses forfeited his right to lead the people into the land of promise.
Some closing thoughts: Songs not only entertain, but teach, proclaim, provoke, and warn. Some songs hold timeless treasures, precious memories and priceless truths. Some songs stand like stone monuments in our culture and life.
Some songs have the ability to transport our hearts and minds backward or forward to a time and place, to inspire, and encourage. Some songs can make us laugh or cry.
One day the words of this song will speak in a new way to Israel, and she will turn to her Rock and discover that He is Yeshua their Messiah, whom they crucified! And then all of creation will sing!
Precious heavenly father, all our delight in is you. The deepest longing of our hearts is to see you and celebrate your glory. We will not truly be satisfied until we behold your face in righteousness.
This is why we now pour out our love and worship to you in prayer. We trust in your promises, rejoice in your faithfulness, glory in your goodness, hope in your word, believe in your son, and rest in your grace. Please hear the song of our hearts.