The Life of Moses – The Goodbye Speeches of Moses
I have enjoyed our look at the life of Moses. We saw him grow and grow and grow. He first thought very highly of himself, and then learned better. He then learned that it is God who is Great and God who is everything, and it is God and not Moses that has all power.
We saw that God had incredible patience with Moses as Moses’ faith grew. And we saw that God continued to use Moses even after Moses messed up by striking the rock. And how Moses kept serving afterward. Inspite of many problems and attacks.
The story of Moses has been a story of growth in character, and growth in faith in God. A story of service and patience and love. Today we are going to finish our look at the life of Moses.
Where we pick up Joshua has already publically been made leader. God has already told Moses that his time is almost up. What Moses does with his remaining time says a lot. His last actions and words mean a lot. This is it, and Moses knows it. This will be the last actions and words in this life. My last chance to impart wisdom, give direction, caution and encouragement.
Moses is going to give several final speeches.
He first gives a speech of encouragement and reinforcement that Joshua is their leader.
Deu 31:1 And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel.
Deu 31:2 And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the LORD hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.
Deu 31:3 The LORD thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said.
Deu 31:4 And the LORD shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom he destroyed.
Deu 31:5 And the LORD shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you.
Deu 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Deu 31:7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.
Deu 31:8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
That is a great speech. It not only includes a call to be of good courage, and assurance that God will be with them. But it also is a promise that God will not fail them and that God shall cause them to inherit the Promised Land. Moses uses words like shall and He will over and over in this speech.
We see here that Moses wanted to leave the people with encouragement, assurance, and a promise of what God will do for them. All of those are good things to want to leave someone.
The next speech we see that Moses wanted the people to have the Word of God.
Moses has finished writing his portion of the Word of God. He had been working on it for years. He penned it as God gave it to him from Mount Sinai unto this day. It is time to hand it over to those in charge.
Deu 31:9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel.
Deu 31:10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,
Deu 31:11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
Moses wanted the people to hear the word of God. He did not want only the Levites reading and knowing it. The Levites were responsible for preserving it but Moses said they were to also share it.
Deu 31:12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
Moses wanted everyone to hear the Word of God. He says the men and women and children, and please catch this, thy stranger that is within thy gates. Moses did not want the Word of God to be only for the Israelites. Moses wanted anyone to hear the Word of God.
And Moses says why. That they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observer to do all the words of this law. Moses wanted people to hear and learn so that they would obey. Because that is what is best for people. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
The world would be a much better place if they would learn about our Lord Jesus and fear the judgment and turn to Him get saved and then do what is pleasing to the Lord.
That would be best for each person and best for the nation where they live. That was the heart of Moses.
After the speech of encouragement and reinforcement that Joshua is the new leader. And after the speech about getting the Word of God to the people.
God calls Moses and Joshua to the tabernacle.
Deu 31:14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.
Deu 31:15 And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.
Deu 31:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
God tells Moses and Joshua the future. He tells them what is going to happen and it is not good. God then gives Moses a song to teach the people.
Deu 31:19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.
Deu 31:22 Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel.
The song that Moses wrote is then added to the Word of God that Moses already turned over to the Levites. The song is recorded for us in chapter 32. It is a song about Israel going to forsake God, and it is about how the greatness of our God, He is the Rock, his work is perfect, a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
It is a song about what God has done for them in the past and how in the future they will sacrifice unto devils, not to God and the consequences for that.
Moses gives the reason for this song in Deu. 32:46-47
Deu 32:46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.
Deu 32:47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
The same day that Moses taught them the song, he is notified that the time is now.
Deu 32:48 And the LORD spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying,
Deu 32:49 Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession:
Deu 32:50 And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:
Moses gave a speech of encouragement, then a speech about getting people the Word of God, then God had Moses teach them a song that will help them prolong their days in the land.
Now God says time to come home Moses. No more time left.
Only time for one last quick speech. Moses is going to pronounce a blessing upon them.
So he encouraged them, gave instructions to get people the Word of God, taught them a song to prolong their days in the land and finishes with a blessing for the people. Are you seeing something about the heart of Moses in all of this.
Deu 33:1 And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.
Deu 33:2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.
Deu 33:3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
Deu 33:4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.
Deu 33:5 And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.
He starts with The Lord gave the law and The Lord loved the people. Then he gives blessings to the tribes of Israel.
In those days the blessing given before the death of a patriarch was a huge deal. Remember how big a deal it was when Jacob stole Esau’s blessing. Or when Jacob was renamed Israel and then gave the tribes blessings before he died.
In those days God was behind those blessings and God empowered them by making those blessings come true. Do you remember how that wicked Balaam tried to curse the children of Israel because the elders of Moab offered him money and prestige? And every time God put words of blessing in his mouth.
And how mad that made the king of Moab. Why did he get so mad? Because when God had a man pronounce blessings, they came true. It was as good as done, just a matter of time.
Moses is about to walk up that mountain, so it is time for Moses do pronounce the blessings before he dies.
He starts with the tribe of Reuben. Reuben was the first born of Israel, but he lost the birthright because of wickedness. The birthright is different than the blessing. If you remember Jacob stole both the birthright and the blessing from Esau. The birthright had to do with getting an extra portion of the physical things let by the father.
The blessing had to do with the future. Reuben forfeited the birthright but not the blessing.
Deu 33:6 Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.
This is a great blessing. Reuben was one of the tribes that took their inheritance before they crossed the Jordon. In exchange Reuben agreed to go before his brethren into battle. He agreed to put himself in harm’s way for his brethren. This is a blessing of protection and that is exactly what they needed. This would be a great encouragement because you know that this blessing is actually coming from God. It is God telling you that your tribe will live thru the battles and that there will still be a large number of you.
Deu 33:7 And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.
Judah is the tribe of Boaz, and David, and eventually Jesus. It was critical that the tribe of Judah not be wiped out because the Saviour was promised to come from this tribe. If they got destroyed then God’s promise would fail. This is a blessing that God will be an help to Judah from their enemies. This is also a blessing that God will hear their prayers. He said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah.
Next is the blessing of Levi.
Deu 33:8 And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah;
Deu 33:9 Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.
Deu 33:10 They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.
Deu 33:11 Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.
This is a long blessing. They are to be teachers. They shall teach Israel they law. And they are to serve God. It is a blessing to do the work of God. To serve both God and man. And because of this work a blessing on his substance and a blessing of protection by not letting those that rise against him do it a second time. That they rise not again.
A tribe is missing. Simeon and his brother Levi were the ones who tricked a town into getting circumcised and then killed them all. The descendants of Levi later redeemed themselves when Moses said who is on the Lords side. The tribe of Simeon refused to do anything to get right with God. So they lost their blessing.
Deu 33:12 And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.
Benjamin was the beloved son of Jacob. He receives a blessing of protection. And it says he shall dwell in safety by him and he shall dwell between his shoulders. Mount Moriah where the temple was built is on land that God thru the lot will give to Benjamin.
Joseph had two sons. So this blessing of Joseph covers both the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
Deu 33:13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
Deu 33:14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
Deu 33:15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
Deu 33:16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
Deu 33:17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.
They get the blessing of plenty. They are promised precious fruits and other crops and a rich land that has precious things. They did get a lot of good land. One place they received was the land by the sea of Galilee. A Horn is often used as a symbol of power. And when they are on the Lord’s side they are mighty. It is also promised that Ephraim will be much larger than Manasseh.
Zebulun and Issachar are mentioned together. The land that they will receive is next to each other.
Deu 33:18 And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.
Deu 33:19 They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.
Zebulun’s land is next to the Mediterranean and they will become merchants and sail to other countries for trade. His blessing it to rejoice in thy going out. Issachar is inland and they also rejoice but in their tents. They will not be sailors but instead work with livestock and the land. It is interesting that the sand by the ocean is very good for making glass. Many think that is what the blessing and of treasures hid in the sand refers to.
Deu 33:20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.
Deu 33:21 And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.
Gad is the other tribe along with Reuben that agreed to go before their brethren into war in exchange for their inheritance on the other side of Jordan. Anyone that enlarges Gad will be blessed and he will be good in war.
Deu 33:22 And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.
Dan does not get much of a blessing. It is more of a prophecy. The tribe of Dan will do some shady things in the time of the Judges. And Samson is of the tribe of Dan. The picture given here is of a lion leaping upon his prey. A lion stalks and leaps to the attack without warning to the prey. That is what Samson did to the Philistines.
Deu 33:23 And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.
This is a great one. I mean full with the blessing of the Lord. The Lord is the creator of all and has all things at His disposal. So He can bless abundantly. So to be full with the blessing of the Lord would mean you get a huge amount of blessings.
Deu 33:24 And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.
Deu 33:25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
There are 4 prayers here for Asher. 1) blessed with children 2) to be acceptable to his brethren 3) have an abundance of oil. So much so that they can dip their foot in it if they want. 4) strength as iron and brass.
People do not make shoes of iron and brass, but we do use brass to make eyelets of shoes. They might have made other parts of their shoes with metal. Asher will have an abundance of these metals in the land that they will receive.
These blessings were given to be part prophecy. They foretold things that would happen to them. They were given for the good of the people. And they were given to be an encouragement, an assurance that God was going to be with them and help them and take care of them.
Now after the blessings are pronounced, Moses will speak the last words to the people he has prayed for led and served for 40 years.
And it is very short. Only 4 verses.
Deu 33:26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.
1 there is none like unto your God.
Deu 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
2 Your God is eternal and He is your refuge. You are under the protection of His everlasting arms. He will thrust out the enemy from before you.
Deu 33:28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
3) You will dwell in safety and God will provide a good land and He will send the rain.
Deu 33:29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
4) Happy are you who have the Lord. He is above all. He is your shield. You are people saved by the Lord.
What a wonderful farewell speech of great truth, assurance, and encouragement.