Deuteronomy 33:1–5; 34:1–12comment (0)
February 23, 2012
By Cecil Taylor
Related Scripture: Deuteronomy 33:1-5, 34:1-12
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Deuteronomy 33:1–5; 34:1–12
Many adults live for the moment and give little thought to what kind of legacy they will leave for future generations. Other adults, however, seem obsessed with making a name for themselves and doing things they hope will draw attention to their self-judged importance. Neither extreme is wise. What pleases God and can most benefit future generations is when His people build a positive, godly legacy through faithfully living for Him.
Keep Bragging on God to the End (33:1–5)
Near the end of his life, Moses composed two important pieces of Hebrew poetry: the Song of Moses (Deut. 31:30–32:47) and the Blessing of Moses (Deut. 33:1–29). Both prepared the Israelites for his impending death. The song is a lesson in theology, history and personal obedience with several stern warnings included. The blessing is filled with expressions of grace and mercy, as Moses named each tribe (except Simeon, later absorbed into Judah — Joshua 19:1–9) and pronounced a blessing from the Lord upon each one. He stated that God loves His people; the Law of Moses was given in kindness and love to provide both temporal and eternal blessings to those with a heart to obey God. A feature of Moses’ godly legacy is the phrase “the man of God;” this phrase, occurring 70 times in the Old Testament referring to God’s human messengers, places Moses in the category of prophet.
Before his death, Moses formally blessed the Israelite tribes, introducing the blessing by declaring how the Lord had appeared to His people and how much He loved them. We today contribute to building a godly legacy by taking every opportunity possible throughout our lives to point others to God’s goodness and love.
Keep Focusing on God’s Purposes (34:1–4)
Moses went up on Mount Nebo just as the Lord had directed him (3:27; 32:48–50). The top of Pisgah probably refers to a mountain ridge with Mount Nebo as the highest point. From this vantage point, Moses was allowed to see the panorama of the land the Lord had promised to give to the patriarchs and their descendants (Gen. 12:7). His sweeping vista began in the north and moved southward in a counterclockwise direction, passing over the Mediterranean Sea and ending at Zoar at the southern end of the Dead Sea. God allowing Moses to view the land was a commendation of his leadership and not merely a reminder of his failure (Num. 20:12). Those who seek to build a godly legacy consistently put God’s purposes ahead of everything in their lives, including their own desires or plans.
Keep Preparing and Encouraging New Leaders (34:5–9)
Moses died “according to the word of the Lord,” and that should be every believer’s goal. He recognized the importance of installing new leadership before his death. Earlier he had formally, by laying his hands on Joshua, installed Joshua as his successor (31:14, 23). Consequently Joshua received the confirmation of the military and administrative ability needed for the task of leading God’s people as well as the spiritual wisdom to trust the Lord. Moses prepared and encouraged Joshua, in a public manner, to take the leadership role at his death. We can strengthen our godly legacy by mentoring and encouraging the next generation of believers.
Keep Growing in Your Relationship With God (34:10–12)
Moses’ imminent death is a repeated theme throughout the Book of Deuteronomy’s closing chapters (31:1–2; 32:48–52; 33:1). It seems obvious that this concluding chapter was written by someone other than Moses (probably Joshua) as a bridge between the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua. Whoever wrote them, they display the fact that part of Moses’ legacy was his reputation for being unequalled in his relationship with and service to the Lord. We can ensure that our legacy is a godly one by continuing to grow in our relationship with God and boldly obeying His will all our lives.