Deuteronomy 33-34: Blessing!
March 25, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
This great book, the sermons of Deuteronomy, ends with blessing. Chapter 33 is a series of blessings designated specifically to the tribes of Israel, by the word of Moses, as he blesses them before he leaves them. There are some justly famous words with which it concludes.
There is none like God…who rides through the heavens to your help (33:26). The eternal God is your dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms (33:27).
It ends with an appropriate note of redemption, and a rebuke and a corrective to any who think that the Torah is fundamentally legalistic: “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord” (33:29). Moses’ message and teaching have been to a people who through him God saved.
The same emphasis on salvation continues at the end, in chapter 34. Moses is taken up to see the land, the land that he himself will not enter, teaching us that there is a Savior to come, the real true Joshua, who will bring us into the Promised Land. He sees this land, the fulfillment of the promise of God given to his people: “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring’” (34:4).
Rather mysteriously, God somehow “buries” Moses himself, and therefore no one knows where he was buried (34:6). Joshua arises, the hands of Moses having been laid on him, after the time of mourning for Moses, to lead God’s people (34:9). And we are told that since Moses, no prophet (yet), at the time of writing, has arisen “like Moses,” pointing back to the great promise that one day there would come a prophet “like Moses” (Deut. 18:15, 18).
What would a prophet “like Moses” be like? One who performs signs and wonders to rescue his people from Egypt—not now the physical land of Egypt, but the slavery of sin—Jesus the Christ, who came to redeem those who believe in him. Rejoice, then, O follower of Jesus, in the multitude of blessings that rain upon your head as a part of the people of God that he has redeemed!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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