Moses was used by God to lead his people out of slavery. He led the Jewish people through the Red Sea to Mount Sinai. There he went up to meet God and receive the Law.
The people rebelled against God and refused to enter the Promised Land. He then led them for 38 more years in the desert.
Before they crossed the Jordan to receive the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he spoke his final words to them.
Deuteronomy contains these final words. There were three speeches.
The first speech was about 20 minutes long and focused on what God had done for his people. (Deuteronomy 1:6–4:43)
The second speech was about two hours long and reminded the people of the laws and principles that God gave them as their covenant with him. (Deuteronomy 4:44–28:68)
The third speech was about 20 minutes long and contain his final blessing to the tribes and his final warnings about their future. (Deuteronomy 29–33)
These were eventful days for the Jewish people. The three people who led them from Egypt to the Jordan would not go with them into the Promised Land.
Miriam, Moses’s older sister, had died 10 months earlier. (Numbers 20:1)
Aaron, Moses’s older brother and Israel’s first High Priest, had died five months ago. (Numbers 33:38–39)
Moses began to speak on the first day of the eleventh month of their final year in the desert. (Deuteronomy 1:3)
Two and a half months later they would celebrate their first Passover in the Promised Land. (Joshua 5:10)
During those two and half months they would hear Moses’s final words. He would climb a nearby mountain to be shown the Promise Land by God and die.
The people would mourn his death for 30 days.
Then they would cross the Jordan and all the men would be circumcised. They did not do this sign of the Covenant as they wandered in the desert.
Finally, they would celebrate the Passover before beginning the conquest of the land.
Moses final advice
Moses’ final advice to the people was:
Remember what God has done for you. (Deuteronomy 5:15, etc.)
Remember your mistakes and learn from them. (Deuteronomy 9:7)
Follow God and don’t fit in in the world (Deuteronomy 6:4, etc.)
Don’t lose your moorings when you succeed (Deuteronomy 28:11,29; 29:9)
The narrator’s thoughts
Another writer closed the book. His words and Moses’ words earlier put the final context and Moses’ life and message.
Moses was a great man but he was not perfect (Deuteronomy 34; Numbers 20)
Questions for consideration:
What was it like when you found out for the first time that an influential person in your life was not perfect?
Have you heard final words from a person who influenced you? What were they?
What will be your final words to those who will listen to you?
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