The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. — Deuteronomy 33:27
Tragedy struck Chicago in the year 1871, as fire ravaged the city. Horatio Gates Spafford, a lawyer who had invested much of his money in downtown Chicago real estate, was one who lost a great deal to the fire. Adding to the trauma, his only son died about the same time. Still, Spafford laid aside his own troubles and did what he could to assist the homeless, impoverished, and grief-stricken people whose lives had been impacted by the fire.
After two years of such work, Spafford decided to join his friend, Dwight L. Moody, on an evangelistic crusade in Europe. He sent his wife and four daughters ahead, planning to join them on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Their ship never arrived at its destination. It collided with another vessel off the coast of Newfoundland, and sank within 20 minutes. Spafford’s wife, Anna, was able to cling to a piece of wreckage and her life was spared, but their four daughters drowned. She cabled her husband just two heart-breaking words: “Saved alone.”
Spafford boarded the next ship to be near his grieving wife, and his ship passed the very spot where his daughters perished. During those days of overwhelming grief, he penned the words to one of the most beautiful of hymns, “It Is Well With My Soul.” When Spafford and his wife finally connected with Dwight L. Moody, Spafford’s words were simply, “It is well. May the will of the Lord be done.”
Our world is one of continual change. Though we may never suffer a loss like that of the Spaffords’, the relationships, hopes, dreams, and plans in all of our lives are impacted by circumstances over which we have no control. Comfort comes from knowing that God does not change! In a time when much around us seems to be unstable, it is natural to long for a secure refuge. No one is immune to life’s heartbreaks, but no matter what is going on in our lives, we can find comfort in God.
Our focus verse refers to God as a refuge. Webster defines refuge as, “shelter or protection from danger or distress; a place that provides shelter or protection; a means of resort for help in difficulty.” God’s arms are everlasting: He has promised that they will shelter and protect all who trust in them. They cannot weaken or fail.
The Psalmist speaks of the earth being removed and mountains being carried into the midst of the sea, waters roaring, and mountains shaking. In the midst of turmoil, God remains our secure place of refuge. We can be still in our hearts and know that He is God, that He is eternal and forever the same, and that it is well with our souls.
Moses was not only an anointed leader and prophet, he was also a song leader! After instructing people in a sermon, he changed the form of his message to singing. In these chapters, the song that God commanded Moses to write (Deuteronomy 31:19) is recorded. Its words contain an abundance of pictures, metaphors, and poetic expressions that illustrate the feelings of God. The song gave a brief history of Israel, reminding the people of their past mistakes, and warning them to avoid repetition of those mistakes. Although at that point, Israel was obedient to God, the song also provided a prophetic glimpse of future judgments.
Moses’ words told the people how God was with them and how He would take care of them if they would obey Him. Moses spoke of how the eagle watches over her eaglets and how God would do the same for them, keeping them secure in His everlasting arms of protection. In their wilderness wanderings, the people needed God’s protection and provision, for there was no other source they could rely on for help.
Moses exhorted the Children of Israel to set their hearts upon the words of God. By doing this, God would bless and prosper them. The people were to teach these words to their children so that, in turn, they also would teach the words to their children. God wanted the message passed on to each generation.
Moses also blessed Jacob’s descendants. All twelve sons were mentioned, and he told of the blessings that they, along with their children, would receive. It allowed the people to take a glimpse into the future and see a small portion of the blessings that the Lord had in store for them. This must have been a great source of encouragement for them and their descendants.
These words were given to Moses to give to the twelve tribes before he died. Moses left them a heritage, something to look forward to if they would follow the Lord.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. Historical appendices
B. The song of Moses
2. Introduction (32:1-4)
3. The foolishness of Israel (32:5-6)
4. The love of Jehovah (32:7-14)
5. The apostasy of Israel (32:15-18)
6. The wrath of the Lord on Israel (32:19-33)
7. The final deliverance of Israel (32:34-43)
8. The resulting exhortation (32:44-47)
C. The sight of the land by Moses (32:48-52)
D. The blessing of Israel by Moses (33:1-29)
1. Introduction (33:1-5)
2. The blessing of the tribes (33:6-25)
a. Reuben (33:6)
b. Judah (33:7)
c. Levi (33:8-11)
d. Benjamin (33:12)
e. Joseph (33:13-17)
f. Zebulun (33:18-19)
g. Gad (33:20-21)
h. Dan (33:22)
i. Naphtali (33:23)
j. Asher (33:24-25)
3. Conclusion (33:26-29)
God does not change. He is still the same today as He was in Old Testament times. If we will be faithful and true to Him, we will have His presence, His provision, and His protection with us.