-The time now comes for transition of power and leadership as Moses is told by God that he was about to lie down with his ancestral fathers in physical death. On the day of his 120th birthday he realized he was no longer able to come and go, and that God was not going to allow him to cross the Jordon into the Promised Land. The LORD would indeed cross before His people into this land flowing with milk and honey. He would be the One to dispossess; the people should look to their eternal King rather than any man even though Joshua was being raised up to take the mantle of Moses in headship of the nation. Just as God had defeated Sihon and Og, kings of the Amorites, He would destroy the peoples of the land that He was about to give to the children of Israel. The LORD promised to deliver His people from the enemy; therefore, the Israelites were to obey all of His commandments. They were also commanded to be strong and courageous. They were not to be afraid or tremble at those that opposed them “for the LORD your God is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:1-6).”
-Moses then called Joshua to himself and further exhorted him to be strong and courageous as he led this people into the land. Moses then wrote this Law he had been given down and gave it to the priests, the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, and the elders of Israel. At that time he commanded them to read the Law every seven years to the people at the Feast of Booths in the year of remission of debts when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD at the place He would choose (Jerusalem would be this place). All the people of Israel, along with the aliens that were with them in their land, were to hear this Law so that they would learn it and fear the LORD their God being careful to follow all of His given ways. This was for perpetuity in the land (Deuteronomy 31:7-13).
-The time now came for Moses to commission his servant and confidant, Joshua. The two presented themselves at the tent of meeting before the LORD, who appeared there in a pillar of cloud. Moses was told that he was about to pass from the earth, but God had raised up another earthly leader to guide His children. It seems strange, but at this particular time the prophecy is given that this people would arise and play the harlot in turning away from their faithful God to the strange gods of the land in a forsaking act that would attempt to break covenant that He had made with them. His anger would be kindled at that point in a temporary forsaking and hiding His Face from them due to their unfaithfulness. Israel will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will come upon them to the point that they will realize that their God is not with them anymore (Deuteronomy 31:14-18). For this reason, the LORD commands Moses to write a song for themselves as a didactic measure on their lips as a witness for the LORD against the sons of Israel. God would be good to His people. There could be no doubt about that. When they would come into the land, they would have plenty and success. Their satisfaction and prosperity would turn to complacency, and their complacency to boredom, and their boredom into seeking after false forms of worship. They would leave their first love and play the whore serving other gods, spurning the Holy Father, and breaking His covenant. God foreknew their intent that was already developing in their hearts, so Moses obeyed the LORD and wrote this prophetic song the very same day he was commanded to produce it. Then, he taught it to the sons of Israel as a preparation (Deuteronomy 31:19-22). Joshua, the son of Nun and one of the two believing original spies, was then commissioned with the exhortation once again to be “strong and courageous” as he brought the sons of Israel into the Promised Land, which was sworn to their fathers by the LORD Himself. God would be with this new leader of the people. That was a golden guarantee. After Moses completed writing all the words of the Law in a book, he presented it to the Levites with the command to place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD that it may remain there as a witness against this nation should they turn away from their God. Again, the all-knowing Sovereign and His prophet perceived easily their rebellion and stubbornness, which was in their hearts. An assembly was called of the elders and officers for Moses to speak the LORD’s warning as a witness against them since corruption was sensed post the prophet’s death. “In the later days” this would happen, “for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands (Deuteronomy 31:23-29).” Then Moses spoke to all the assembly this God-given song in its completion (Deuteronomy 31:30). The next chapter details this amazing and foreshadowing song (see Deuteronomy 32).
-*Application* Passing the torch, or baton if you will, to the next generation is important as we see here in this passage. Warnings concerning perceptions that we might be given are critical to impart to those that will carry on after we are gone. We are but a vapor, a puff of smoke, that is here for a little while and then we go to our eternal destination (James 4:14). What we do between the dash that will eventually be on our tombstones is the important matter for us to consider. Are we faithfully serving the LORD in our generation (Acts 13:36)? Do we ensure that those who will come after us are trained up and ready for the spiritual attacks that are inevitable and very demanding. We have a job to do while we have breath. Fulfill your call, and cultivate faithfulness. And then pass it on.
Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 31:6