Song of Moses. The song exalted the power of God and how He would bring them victory.

Day 80 (March 21): Song of Moses, God keeps his promise to forbid Moses from entering Canaan, prayer of Moses

Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Deuteronomy 31:30-32:52
Psalm 90
(1406 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

O. Before I read today’s readings, I was thinking about Moses’ relationship with God.  Thus far, he has been the closest human to God, so we should focus on what he is about to say and know that the words are coming from a man who has spent many days with God and had God’s glory in him.

Q. (32:8): Can you explain this verse?  I’m at a loss.  When it says “divided up the human race” is he talking about the tribes being assigned land?  And what is the heavenly court? From my footnotes, it looks like it could have several meanings?  The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Greek version and the Masoretic Text all say something different.

A. Nice job incorporating our material from yesterday!  I don’t have a clear explanation for the verse.  The dividing up the human race appears to be a reference to the Tower of Babel and the distribution of the nations after its fall from Genesis 11.  The heavenly court is usually viewed as the congregation of the angels, as we saw in the beginning of Job.  There are some Jewish traditions that ascribe to a notion that angels had a territory among the different nations, so the reference to division based upon the court might refer to that.  But, I can’t say it definitively.

Q. (32:10): What does the second part of the verse mean where he says he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes?

A. You guard your eyes like no other part of your body.  Even as a reflex (blinking, pulling away, etc.) your body automatically will take great steps to ensure that your eyes are not damaged.  They are so important.  God is watching over Israel just as closely, it says, as how carefully you guard your own eyes.

Q. (32:15): Moses refers to God as a Rock here.  I’m sure there is a good meaning behind the name.

A. Even today, we think of rocks as being steady and unbreakable.  That’s a central part of the image.  Also, in this era, rock faces and caves would have served as shelters for people who desired to hide, so we can also think of rocks as a source of protection.  So God as the Rock paints an image of protection, steadiness, and longevity.

O. (32:39): A verse worth noting.  It brings up a question we have had before about if there are other gods.  “Look now: I myself am he!  There is no other God but me!  I am the one who kills and gives life; I am the one who wounds and heals; no one can be rescued from my powerful hand.”

Q. (32:40-41): Is Moses talking for God here or himself?  I don’t know what Moses means when he says, “As surely as I live, when I sharpen my flashing sword and begin to carry out justice, I will take revenge on my enemies and repay those who reject me.”

A. Moses is talking for God here.  This imagery refers to God avenging Himself among those who reject Him, referring specifically to the many Israelites who will be unfaithful to Him.  We will see various instances of this in future readings (I’m thinking of Joel 2 in particular, which is a powerful image of God avenging Himself), so let’s see how this verse is seen in subsequent stories.

Q. (32:50): What is the significance of both Moses and Aaron dying on a mountain?

A. Mountains are associated with the presence of God (like Mt. Sinai/Horeb), so dying on a mountain would be associated with the path a person “walks” to join God on high.  It is symbolic of a life journey where the end destination is God.

Q. (Psalm 90:4): Can this verse be used as proof of creation?  The 7 days of creation may have been longer.  I know it’s not important how long it took God to create the world.  I just thought it may be used to explain that.  Or, was Moses just making a quip?

A. You have touched upon something that is common in some circles: to use this verse and other citations of it to say that Creations could have been longer than one 24-hour period.  I don’t put much stock in these.  Moses is using metaphorical language to say that our concept of time means nothing to God.  I wouldn’t take it to mean anything more literal than that.

Q. (Psalm 90:5-9): This doesn’t paint a pretty picture of a reverent relationship with God.

A. In light of the eternal nature of God, I can’t say that I disagree with the assessment.  Next to Him, everything seems finite and fading.  It is only by His mercy that we are able to be more than dust in the wind, as it were.

Q. (Psalm 90:12): This verse says a lot!  I often think of troubles I have or things I want to do but can’t, for reasons of time and money.  And, if I’m in my right mind — which isn’t often enough — I remember that our time on Earth is so short and that if I don’t get the things done on my bucket list, then it’s no big deal.  God has bigger and better things for me waiting in heaven.  And I also think that my future in heaven, and possibly other’s futures, relies on what I do right now on Earth.  That gives me perspective to keep on seeking God’s guidance and do what He wants me to do.  This does sound a little dogmatic and I don’t mean it to.  I truly believe that He has given me, and anyone else who cares to listen to Him, a curriculum for my time on Earth.  And, from that, I gain the wisdom to make the right choices and not waste my time on empty matters.  Did I apply this correctly, Rob?

A. If we have properly fixed our gaze and decisions on the eternity of God, and not our time on earth, then I think that we are able to make decisions that allow us to live in light of this eternity.  You’ve got the idea.

Thanks for reading along.  See you tomorrow!

Further reading:
— Seven things to know about the Song of Moses, https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/inspiring-things-to-know-about-the-song-of-moses.html
— A deeper look into the Song of Moses, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_of_Moses

Tomorrow’s reading: Deuteronomy 33-34, Joshua 1-2

Take it ALL in

When deciphering the Bible, almost every word packs a hefty meaning. Small, seemingly insignificant words can leave me with a feeling of awe and wonder at God’s power and enormity. Every time I am reminded of one of those deep meanings, I revel in how much God loves me and every single person. Let’s take a look at the common words ALWAYS and ALL.

Always

When Jesus commissioned the disciples, He said, “And be sure of this: I am with you ALWAYS, ev

en to the end of the age.” In all of those times when we don’t think we can handle our stress, we absolutely can because Jesus is with us ALWAYS — in every second of our lives. And because He is stro

Proverbs 30:5 (NLT) says: Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.

ng and right beside us, we know we are supported 100 percent and we will not fail. We just need to realize that He IS HERE for us!

With respect to our Lord and all He is, Psalm 105:4 (NIV) reminds us to “ALWAYS” see Him in whatever we are doing, thinking, saying. “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face ALWAYS.” When we do this, we put our selfish desires aside and do God’s will. In everything we do, we should see God’s hands all over it.

All

The other word that needs more attention is ALL. When I read Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your strength.” I have read this verse hundreds of times and thought, “I got it, I will do my best to love God a lot.” Then I realized that ALL doesn’t mean “a lot,” it means 100 percent. 100 PERCENT!!! 

That means when God is telling you to help someone with a flat tire on a Friday night after work, you do it. If he’s telling you to give up your Saturday golf game to help a widow with yard work, you do it. If you have negative thoughts toward someone, you change them to positive thoughts and pray for them. If you see someone walking along with arms loaded down with groceries, give them a ride. That’s right. In a world where we are worried about our safety, you still help. Do these things and watch your happiness grow. You may think that giving up something will be hard. It is, but what you will find out is that God gives back. Helping someone will actually help your mental health. Hats off to those people who give up their entire lives to serve God by serving others.

Again, God uses ALL in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT): “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in ALL you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Here God is reminding us that our ALL is to Him exclusively. ALL does not include our own understanding. If we give our every day lives to God, He will guide us through choices, big or small. And you will be surprised at how pleased you are to do His will. His will is good!

1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NLT) employs both ALL and ALWAYS together.  “See that no one pays back evil for evil, but ALWAYS TRY to do good to each other and to ALL people. This verse gives us a little grace because ALWAYS is followed by TRY. God knows we are human and cannot be perfect followers all the time.  However, as believers, He expects us to try our best. How about making it a goal to show grace to everyone, just like we are given grace from above?

You can read through the Bible quickly to get the gist of it, but if you slow down and linger on Scripture, you will experience the bounty of God’s love in ordinary words. Make it a challenge to dissect every seemingly insignificant word of Scripture and you will unveil a deeper, more fulfilling meaning than you could ever imagine.  Roses are beautiful, but if you stop and smell them, you capture their essence.