“FOR IT IS NO EMPTY WORD”
We read today the song Moses spoke “in the ears of all the assembly of Israel.” The song is long and has a remarkable text. They were expected to learn it, to bring it to mind as they entered and lived in the promised land. Of course there were no books, i.e. scrolls, readily available to the people – and in any case we presume only a select few could read – but God had seen to it that Moses, in his youth, “was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds”, said Stephen (Acts 7 v.22)
Moses song starts, “… let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distil as the dew, like gentle rain … For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; and ascribe greatness to our God!” [Deut. 32 v.1-3] Let us appreciate the spiritual application of these words.
The song is a warning to those who do not serve God, the only real God, who is now about to bring them into the promised land, he is “A God of faithfulness … just and upright is he. They (in the past) have dealt corruptly with him … Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations;” [v.4,5,7] But God knows that future generations will not learn from the mistakes, the failures of faith, in the past. “Do you thus repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people?” [v.6] This could be said to our world today! May it not be said to us!
After completing the song Moses says, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live …” [v.46,47]
We are blessed in having all the words that God caused men to utter - and for them (and others) to write down and preserve. The climax is the final message of his son in the last book of the Bible that he gave to his loving disciple John in his old age.
The final words of the song (v.47) can be used as a promise to us, to all who genuinely aim to serve God; “by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess” God has promised the whole world as a promised land to those who love him – and this “is no empty word.”