Summary of passage: Moses, at 120 years old, tells the people Joshua will be their new leader and the Lord will go before them and destroy their enemies. He tells the people to not be afraid for God will never forsake them. Moses wrote down the law, placed it beside the ark of the covenant, and commanded the people to read it every 7 years so all will know it.
The Lord appeared to Moses and Joshua in a cloud over the Tabernacle and told them that the people would turn from Him and worship other gods. When the people did this, God would turn His back on His people. He taught Moses a song to teach the people so they would know why God turned on them. Moses warned the people of the evil they would do and consequences of the Lord’s anger against them.
3a) He commanded the people to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid or terrified because the Lord goes with them and will never abandon them (the promise).
b) Joshua had some big shoes to fill so I’m sure leading the people was daunting, challenging, and scary. God wanted to make sure Joshua knew he could do it because He Himself was with him and would never leave him. God Himself would defeat His enemies, and Joshua had nothing to fear. He was chosen by God for this task like Moses. Confidence is what Joshua needed–in himself and in the Lord.
c) Personal Question. My answer: It’s comforting. When no one else is there, God is. He knows my pain, my heartache, my struggles, my passions, my frustrations, my joys, my sorrows, my victories, my failures. And He shares them. He works them for His purposes. And I just need Him and faith.
4a) God commanded Moses to write down the law and keep it in a safe place and once every 7 years for the law to be read to all the people so they would know God’s laws. It was a resource for the Levites, who were the spiritual leaders, so they could look back and learn God’s laws as well and teach it accordingly.
b) It would serve as a warning so the faithful would be aware of what was to come and perhaps spot the temptation and turn away before they sinned. Perhaps they could warn others and turn them away as well.
Conclusions: Love how God appeared to Joshua personally to commission him and reassure him that he could do this monumental task and that God would be his strength and his rock. God’s care for us is unfathomable! I like how everyone from young to old was gathered to hear the law once every 7 years. I wonder how many of us read God’s word every 7 years. Can you imagine our society if we did?
End Notes: The people needed to know God was with them. All most of them had ever known was Moses. The people needed to know God was bigger than one man and God was enough.
God does His work through people–God’s work is the giving of the Promised Land and Joshua would be the one God would use to accomplish His work.
What a blessing Moses is to Joshua! He encouraged him in his walk. How many of us have wise counselors to encourage us to do the great things God has in store for us?
The first recorded reading of God’s law to the people is in Nehemiah 8:1-8. It is recorded three more times in the Bible of the law being read to the people (Joshua 8:30; 2 Chronicles 17:7; 2 Chronicles 34:30). Between these readings are hundreds of years. Certainly, the law could have been read and not recorded but scholars say that the fact the reading of the law is recorded with so many years in-between was because it was such a rare event. Can you imagine how history would be different if the people had obeyed and read the law–like today if we did as well?
Deuteronomy 32 is the song Moses wrote down for God’s people.
Here we see the completion of the first five books of the Bible (also known as the Pentateuch which means five scrolls in Greek or the Torah in the Jewish tradition) in verse 24 written by Moses. It is assumed by scholars that the last three books of Deuteronomy were written by Joshua (or by a scribe he appointed) to record the end of Moses’ life.
Note how the Ten Commandments is inside the ark but the first five books of the bible is beside the ark. I see this as so it’s readily available to the priests for teaching purposes.
God’s word is also a witness against us. We often think of the Bible as our helper, which it is. It is also our condemner as well when we don’t read it, don’t follow it, and don’t obey. For it is right before us and we choose to turn the other way.