Sunday School: Song of Moses
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Loving God, you love us so much that you invite us to a life of transformation. You call us to live outside ourselves, and to follow you more faithfully with each day that passes. We confess to you that we often fail to grow closer to you, and to grow together as a church. Please help us to humble ourselves to the point where we are willing to be transformed for you. Please renew our desire to faithfully follow you as we silently confess our sins to you now.…
This week's lesson is on Deuteronomy 32: 3-6, 10-14, 18.
As the book of Deuteronomy comes to a close, Israel leader Moses was on the verge of death As a result of the impending change of leadership. Mose’s spoke publicly for the final time The result is several smaller speeches and songs that serve as the dramatic conclusion of his ministry
At first Mose’s reminded the Israelites to remember and accept the stipulations and of God’s covenant This covenant was based on God’s love for his people and their responding love for and commitment to him. A failure to adhere to God’s requirements would result in dramatic negative consequences. In addition, Moses’ speech included a statement on his successor, a recitation of the law and a predication of the future.
In the midst of Moses speeches, he presented a song for the people. The song is reminiscent of psalms that celebrate the people’s relationship with God. Just as the psalms were meant for singing, so was the Song of Moses
The three divisions of the song speak to the scope of the Israelites relationship with God. God’s loyalty is contrasted with their sinfulness. As a result, negative consequences are certain. However, forgiveness, healing and protection can still be obtained.
The song begins by calling the heavens and the earth as witness to the unfolding word of warning from God. As God’s name is proclaimed, his greatness would be celebrated. The people of Israel experienced divine greatness firsthand as they saw how God treated them during their most vulnerable moments. Even the angels in heaven will sing of God’s greatness upon his victory over evil Revelation 15:1-4
God is a rock. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the Rock of Israel. Later parts of the song contrast the Rock of Israel with the weak gods of Israel’s enemies. Even when humans act unfairly and unjustly, God is flawless
The song continues to laud the greatness of God He is faithful to his people He is worthy to be worshiped because of his holiness and perfection.
God desired that the Israelites live an upright and righteous lives They would live in this manner through their relationship with each other and the land and their worship of one true God However, as the people of God allowed unholy influences. As a result, they ran the risk of being excluded as children of God. Despite all of Israel’s experiences of God’s divine redemption, the people of Israel had abandoned their redeemer.
While this song refers to a specific generation, the song’s truth are timeless and applicable to God’s children in all eras. Jesus used a similar phased to describe the unbelieving nature of some people in his audience.
Ultimately, the children of God are tasked with living in an upright manner- obedient to the commands of God. Believers can do so as they are redeemed by the blood of Christ, the lamb without blemish or defect. As a result, their lives can shine in the dark, crooked ways of the world.
The relationship between the Lord and Israel was based on Israel’s loyalty and trust. However, the people of Israel would betray the relationship by their reliance on foreign gods. The people would be foolish and unwise when they disregarded God’s faithfulness. God cared for Israel as a father would care for his child. He made and formed Israel to be his own Covenanted people. The song reminds Israel of the source of their high value: the God who established his covenant with them.
God led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness. He cared for them as he led them to places of care and rest. God guarded them as an apple of his eye.
The second metaphor relates to God’s care for his people to an eagle caring for its young. As the eaglets grow up , the parent eagle will protect them with expanse of its wings over the nest. Further,, when eaglets learn to fly, they glide behind their mother’s wings as she carries them aloft in flight . The young birds learn as they express their own autonomy with the safety of their mother’s wings to catch and carry them should they fail.
By using this imagery, not only does the song highlight God’s protection but also his guidance for his people. God bought them out of Egypt and to a place where they might flourish. This song celebrated the Israelites unique identity and relationship with the Lord, they were like sheep that their shepherd alone did lead.
The song continues with hope for Israel’s future and the many blessings that followed. If the people followed God, they would experience safety from destructive forces. They would dwell on the high places, safe from enemy’s invasion. From this advantageous location, the people of God could be positioned above good farming land. God had promised the Israelites that they would live in a land of milk and honey, a land of agricultural blessing. Both the land and livestock would provide sustenance for the people.
Despite the promises of vast blessings and numerous provisions, the song details how Israel would grow comfortable and careless. In their complacency, they ignored God as their source of their blessings. Their comfort and willful ignorance would lead them to worship false gods instead of the one true God who provided for them and blessed them.
Throughout Deuteronomy, the Israelites are told to remember their history and how God brought them out of slavery. The people were to go to great lengths to not forget their history. This would ensure that the future generations would not have forgotten the ways of God formed and maintained them.
Throughout church history, believers have expressed their joy, doubts, fears, and hopes in songs. These songs of worship have shaped believers into spiritually mature disciples of Jesus. Singing should not be a kind of sedative that numbs us. Rather, our singing should include repentance with praise and self-examination with satisfaction. Only in that way can singing shape us as people of God.
On the surface, the nature of the song in today’s text is rather cynical; it highlights the failure of the people of Israel. Yet the song’s pointed nature leads to a declaration of hope. God’s salvation will transform and sustain, if only people remember his steadfast commitment to them. As a result, God’s people can sing of his mighty deeds,all while confessing our own failure to appreciate them.
The same sort of forgetfulness can plague Christians today when we forget that our salvation is a gift from God as he draws us into his kingdom. We did not earn that citizenship; it was given to us freely. God sustains us when we recite the story of our faith and live out its implications in our lives.
God, you are the Rock in who we can find provision and protection. Lead us in your ways so that we will not turn away from you. In Jesus name name. Amen
If you are the apple of God’s eye, what prevents you from being close to God?
How can God’s people honor God as the source of all provisions?
How do believers disregard God’s commands and live foolishly and unwisely?
Do you ever feel like as Christians we have grown comfortable and careless?
Our benediction this week comes from the New International Version.
Next week's lesson is on Judges 6:1-2, 7-16.
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