And the Lord said to Moses: “Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ And I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they have done, in that they have turned to other gods. Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant. Then it shall be, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in the mouths of their descendants, for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land of which I swore to give them.” (Deuteronomy 31:16-21)
This Song Shall Testify Against Them
It was a pivotal time for the young nation of Israel. After forty years the people of God were poised to enter the land their fathers were forbidden to possess. Moses was one-hundred-twenty years old and with strength not abated or eyes dimmed, he was a much a man of vigor as most men. Sadly, he would never be part of the conquest of the promised land as the Lord forbade him from entering the land because of his sin at the waters of Meribah Kadesh. In preparation of the next generation to cross the Jordan and take the land of Canaan, the Lord instructed Moses to give a final testimony to the people warning them of the dangers of apostasy and rebellion. The days were coming for Moses to die and in his final song to the people, the Lord would tell of the future of Israel as a time of rejection. By His mighty hand, the Lord brought the Hebrews out of Egypt leading them through the wilderness with His great power but the hearts of the people were always in rebellion. A new generation of Israelites had risen from the ashes of the rebellious Hebrews of Kadesh-Barnea but they were not unlike their fathers. God knew the heart of Israel was bent on disobedience. He understood the inclination of their hearts. Israel would rise and play the harlot with the gods of foreigners of the land because deep down they longed to be like the nations around them. It was difficult for the people to completely devote themselves to the word of God and this would bring their downfall. The word of God would not be sanctified and it would be forsaken as Israel broke the covenant with the Lord who delivered them. This would happen not because God caused it to happen but the Lord knew the heart of the people was not strong. Israel had every reason to follow the will of God but they refused to dedicate themselves wholly to Him. Their eventual downfall came from their evil hearts turning away from the grace of God. The wrath of God would be visited upon them as the Lord promised if they rebelled against Him. Turning away from the mercy of the Lord would invite the anger of God and many evils and troubles would befall them. They would cry out that God had forsaken them and He had. The history of Israel would be paved with the prophetic words of Moses and confirmed as the eternal truth of the Lord through the song of Moses.
The Lord told Moses to write down a song and teach the children of Israel to know the song as a witness for God against His own people. It would not be a song of joy but a dirge of prophetic fulfillment to the knowledge of God. The Song of Moses warns of God’s wrath and justice against rebellion and would become the national anthem of Israel as they conquered the land, became a great kingdom under David and Solomon and implode as the kingdoms revolted and were destroyed by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Only a small remnant would be found in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. When Jesus came to the earth many generations later the Jews were divided religiously and under the bondage of the Roman Empire. Israel entered the land of milk and honey and grew fat with the bounty of the land but turned their hearts to the gods of the land. They served the gods of the Amorites provoking the Lord God and breaking His covenant with Israel. Through the power of God the Lord would inflict many terrible things upon Israel and when they cried out in misery they would remember the Song of Moses as a testimony against them. God would not allow the song to disappear from the people. Each generation would know the Song of Moses and they would sing the song with mournful tones as a testimony to their rebellion to God. The Lord knew the inclination of the hearts of the people. He understood their failings would be their future. His word came true and the Song of Moses would remain throughout each generation reminding them of their rebellion against the Lord.
Reading the Old Testament is a window into the soul of man. God is full of love, mercy, grace and through His infinite power affords man the opportunity to find salvation. The other side of God is a wrathful Lord who will whet His glittering sword and make His arrows drunk with blood against those who reject His word. He has left numerous testimonies of His promises throughout the ages. The word of God is the final declaration of how His hand will take hold on judgment and render vengeance to those who oppose Him. The Song of Moses stood as a witness against the people and the Bible stands as a witness today against those who refuse to obey Him. His message has not changed. He knows the dispositions of the heart of men and how they refuse to honor Him as the only true God. There will be no excuses for those who stand before His judgment seat and seek ignorance as a cause for relief. None will be found worthy who has trodden underfoot the Son of God and defiled the blood of Christ shed for the remission of sin. John hears in the Revelation the Song of Moses as a prelude to the bowls of judgment testifying again of the words of God’s wrath to those who oppose Him. Israel should have heeded the Song of Moses as the witness against their sin. The Song of Moses fills the pages of God’s word to declare to all men the goodness and severity of God; on those who fall to sin severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness.