A lot happens in these closing chapters of Deuteronomy. First, Moses places the mantle of leadership on Joshua. He calls on Joshua to be strong and courageous (31:7). I chuckle at the next phrase: “for you must go with this people.” Maybe this is not meant to be funny, but I can’t help but think that part of Moses’ advice is “I know these people—you are going to need to be strong and courageous.” These chapters also include a song that contains the basic blessings and curses of obedience and disobedience as Israel would enter the Promised Land. I am reminded from this that some songs are meant to praise God, but other songs are intended to proclaim a message from God. Next, these chapters contain a series of blessings intended for each tribe. The final days of Moses’ life brings two surprising revelations from God to Moses.
- Deuteronomy 31:16—Israel will fail at keeping the covenant. They will turn their hearts from God. You might be tempted to say, “Then, what’s the use?” But, understand that this is a final way of caution and warning, because what is not revealed is the exact timing of the turning away from God. Every generation ought to live with this warning so that they might not be the generation that fails.
- Deuteronomy 34:4—God allowed Moses to see the Promised Land. I don’t think this is harsh, but rather a blessing for Moses to see the land.
Thus, the written record of one of the greatest men of all history closes. To this day, not many others have walked with God the way that Moses did.