For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant. — Deuteronomy 31:20
Get a picture in your mind of a mule. Let’s name him Frank. Frank was a stubborn mule. He was so stubborn that he reared his head at any given command and directly did the opposite. His owner, the farmer, was fed up and decided to sell Frank. Just before selling, however, the farmer got an idea. He knew Frank loved coconuts. The world could stop spinning and Frank would be oblivious as long as he had a coconut to chew! So the farmer’s plan was this: he took a long stick and to it tied a portion of coconut, and dangled it down in front of Frank. If the farmer wanted Frank to go into the barn, he dangled the coconut towards the direction of the barn. As he had anticipated, Frank went anywhere the coconut went. This plan worked splendidly for several days until the farmer, as a reward, gave Frank the largest chunk of coconut he could find. Soon, it was time to go back into the barn, but Frank was not interested. The farmer dangled coconut in front of Frank, trying to lure him. Frank, his belly full and satisfied, only snorted and walked away.
What about your life? Must you be lured into following God? What happens when prosperity comes? If you are going through a time of suffering, recognize the blessing you can have by drawing closer to God. Adversity may get our attention refocused on God, but unlike the mule, we can choose to remain focused on Him, even when the burden eases. Don’t be like the children of Israel, who forgot about God once they were satisfied with temporal substance. Follow God through both good and bad times and you will find unexpected happiness.
At the time of today’s text, Moses was 120 years old and about to die. He addressed the Children of Israel in a personal manner, delivering to them material about his retirement and death, Joshua’s appointment as his successor, and a prophecy of Israel’s rebellion.
The Lord frequently reminded the people to listen to His Word and obey. During his long ministry, Moses had kept a record of what God had done and said, and he placed that record with the Levite priests who carried the ark of the covenant. He commanded the priests to keep the Book of the Law beside the ark in the Holy of Holies. This act meant that they were to be in charge of teaching the Law to the people, and responsible for causing all Israel to obey it. Every seventh year, during the Feast of Tabernacles, the Law was to be read to every man, woman, and child so that they would hear, fear, and obey. The only recorded occurrence of the reading of the Law at the Feast of the Tabernacles is found in Nehemiah 8:13 through 9:38.
Verses 14-22 of Deuteronomy 31 recount God’s final instructions to Moses. God called Moses and Joshua to the Tabernacle to give Joshua the official appointment of duty to take over for Moses and lead the people. Joshua’s final appointment to the office of Israel’s new leader is recorded in verse 23. When Moses finished writing the Book of the Law, he gave it to the Levites to place in the ark.
The Lord had commanded Moses to write a song and teach it to the Children of Israel to warn them not to turn to other gods. He wanted the people to learn the song, and be reminded against idolatry whenever they sang it. At the close of this chapter, Moses gathered together all the congregation of Israel to present his final song to them.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. Historical appendices
A. The final injunctions of Moses (31:1-29)
1. Moses’ final charge to Israel (31:1-8)
2. The Law written and delivered to the priests (31:9-13)
3. The Lord’s words to Moses (31:14-22)
4. The commission of Joshua (31:23)
5. The prediction of apostasy (31:24-29)
B. The song of Moses
1. Setting (31:30)
Although God warned His people that they would turn away from Him, He still gave them a choice to serve Him. Jesus prophesied that in the last days, there would be a great falling away, yet we are still given a choice. Are you serving Him?