Deuteronomy 32-33

A Song Worth Singing!

“See now that I, indeed I, am he!” says the Lord, “and there is no other god besides me. I kill and give life, I smash and I heal, and none can resist my power.Deuteronomy 32:39 NET

Have you ever had one of those songs that you just can’t seem to get out of your head? The kind that just keeps coming up no matter how hard you try to get rid of it? Usually, it’s some worthless little ditty with meaningless lyrics and a less-than-memorable tune, but for some reason it takes up residence in your head and it won’t go away.

In chapter 32 of Deuteronomy Moses teaches the people of Israel a song that he wants them to get stuck in their heads. It’s a song that God had give him. In fact, God tells Moses, “Now write down for yourselves the following song and teach it to the Israelites. Put it into their very mouths so that this song may serve as my witness against the Israelites!” (Deuteronomy 31:19 NET). God wanted the people to learn this song and to sing it to themselves relentlessly as a reminder of their rebellion and disobedience against Him. This song paints a picture of God as the faithful One. It sings of His power and might, His justice and faithfulness.

He is the Rock; his work is perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is! (Deuteronomy 32:4)

Look now; I myself am he! There is no god other than me! I am the one who kills and gives life; I am the one who wounds and heals; no one delivers from my power! (Deuteronomy 32:39)

But this song also tells of the wrath of God and His anger with the people of Israel because of their constant rebellion and unfaithfulness. It’s a tune that tells the sad story of man’s turning away from God in order to give their love and allegiance to false gods.

They have roused my jealousy by worshiping non–gods; they have provoked my fury with useless idols. Now I will rouse their jealousy by blessing other nations; I will provoke their fury by blessing the foolish Gentiles. (Deuteronomy 32:21)

This song tells of a people who had been blessed by God, but as a result of their abundance they had become “fat and happy.” They had gotten satisfied and complacent in their relationship with Him. Instead of recognizing their prosperity as the handiwork of God, they began to take credit for their successes and become self-sufficient and developed a habit of unfaithfulness.

But Israel soon became fat and unruly; the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed! Then they abandoned the God who had made them; they made light of the Rock of their salvation. They stirred up his jealousy by worshiping foreign gods; they provoked his fury with detestable acts. (Deuteronomy 32:15-16)

This wasn’t exactly a Christmas carol with a catchy tune and light-hearted lyrics. It was at the same time an anthem to God’s greatness and a lament to Israel’s unfaithfulness. It is a timeless picture of God and mankind, and a chilling reminder of our inability to live the life He has called us to live without His help. We are prone to wander and leave the God we say we love. We are wired to rebel and turn away from the very One who created us. But this song does have a happy ending. It tells us of God’s mercy and grace. It reminds us that, in spite of our rebellion, God restores. He continually shows us compassion.

Yes, GOD will judge his people, but oh how compassionately he’ll do it. When he sees their weakened plight and there is no one left, slave or free. (Deuteronomy 32:36)

The lyrics of this song don’t exactly roll right off the tongue and I don’t know if it would be easy to sing even with a great tune behind it, but the message is one we all need to remember. We need to have it stuck in our heads and we need to sing it from the roof tops. This is the message of God and His relationship with mankind. It is about rebellion and redemption, sin and salvation, helplessness and hopefulness. It is the story of our plight and God’s plan. The song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Father, we have something to sing about. We can sing of Your greatness and grace. We can sing of Your mercy in the midst of our sinfulness. You have provided a way – the Way – Your Son Jesus Christ. You have made it possible for us to sing about salvation in spite of our sin and rebellion. Never let us stop singing the reality of who You are and what we would be without You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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