This is indeed Moses' final song to the people of Israel. Israel's future is not painted in a very positive light: wealth would lead to apostasy. Yet, after severe judgment, God would have compassion and deliver His people:
The last part of this chapter includes his "final charge" to the people of Israel: "take to heart" all the words. Why? Because they are not just idle words. They are life!
For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone,
And there is none remaining, bond or free. (32:36)
When something is an "idle" thing, what does it mean to you? When something is your "life," what does it mean to you?
You have heard the expression, "_____________ is my life!"
Think about this. Is God's Word a trifle or your life?
Usually parting words are ones we want people to remember after we die. My father's last words were, "I love you." Essentially, the last words of Moses, this spiritual father of Israel, were:
"I love you enough to tell you about what will
give you peace and prosperity for the rest of your life.
Take this to your heart! Embrace it!"
He is referring to this final song (and extending it to the Old Testament Law that they were to teach to their children) that summarizes all that God has been and will be to them in the future. We can extend it to the whole Word of God that teaches how we are to live.
My friend, Jack, asked me once, "Carol, if you were going to die, what would be the most important spiritual discipline that you would want to pass on before you left this world?" Without hesitation, I said, "Prayerful meditation through the Scriptures. Meditating and letting God speak to you through them and praying responsively back to Him." The main reason I said this was because I had seen the change this had made in my own life.
I am in my fourth decade of discipling women. I have had so many women come back to me and say that this was the one thing that they most appreciated about our time together. Here are a couple of letters:
Beyond Malibu seems like so long ago, when you introduced me to a deeper way of seeking and knowing God. Thank you." (I taught her how to pray through Scripture in a boat! We were at Young Life's Beyond Malibu in British Columbia in 1986.)
Just about a month ago my husband preached on "praying through Scripture" and I can't tell you how many times he and I talked about the way you taught me to pray through a Psalm. He said in his sermon, "There should be less and less of a separation between your Bible reading and your prayer life. They should become increasingly melded together." God used you to start me on this, and it has been so valuable to me over the years. It's a discipline to be taught -- thank you for teaching me." (We met together back in 1988.)In Hebrew, the word "idle" ("trifle" or "vain" in other translations) means "worthless." Webster's defines this as "something of little value, substance, or importance." Is the Word of God a worthless thing to you or is it your life?
In the Hebrew, "life" is defined as "sustenance, nourishment." In the Old Testament, "life" is decided by a right relationship to the righteous standards of the Word of God.
If you were in a country that did not allow you to have the Word, would you risk death in order to have it? Is it that important to you?
On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your conviction about the importance of the Word of God in your life?
On the same scale, what is your actual practice?
Is there a difference?
Write out the scales in your journal. What measurable steps can you take to move yourself along the scales of conviction and practice? Who are you going to tell to keep you accountable?
Lord, I pray that You would cause each and every person in the Bible Book Club to grow in their love for You through Your Word. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You are our life! Amen.