God's Government: Deuteronomy 32:32-47

Deuteronomy 32:32‑47  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Deuteronomy 32:32-4732For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: 33Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. 34Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? 35To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. 36For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left. 37And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, 38Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection. 39See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. 40For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. 41If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. 42I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. 43Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people. 44And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun. 45And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel: 46And 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. 47For 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. (Deuteronomy 32:32‑47)
What a mighty “Rock” the children of Israel had, but, sadly, they forsook Him. They chose to live in ways of sin and willfulness, and to trust in their own wisdom and strength. They wanted their own pleasures and fun apart from God, even though Moses told them that their “grapes were grapes of gall, their clusters were bitter.” And indeed how many today make a similar choice. They want to have their fling in the world, well knowing that the path they are treading can only end in sorrow and bitterness, for the Scripture says that the pleasures of sin are only for a season (Hebrews 11:2525Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; (Hebrews 11:25)). What sorrow and remorse these sins bring, even in this world, as well as eternal loss.
Going on in Sinful Ways
The Lord warned His people that He Himself would deal with them if they went on in sinful ways. Sometimes when trouble comes we would like to blame others, but let us always seek grace to see the Lord’s hand in all that takes place in our lives. No one can say an unkind word about us unless the Lord allows it (2 Samuel 16:1010And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? (2 Samuel 16:10)) nor can war break out unless God allows it (Psalm 106:41-4241And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. 42Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand. (Psalm 106:41‑42)), and even sickness comes from His hand (Deuteronomy 28:5959Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. (Deuteronomy 28:59)) — always to do us good at our “latter end.” This we can learn from Job in all he passed through. And so here the Lord told them that after they had come to the end of themselves, owned the folly of their own ways, and turned to Him, then He would come in and deliver them. He said He would deal with their enemies and deliver His people, causing their hearts to rejoice again in His goodness.
How often the Lord deals with us in His government, for we are so foolish and willful at times. One feels this especially for those who are young (though we all need it!) for the enemy makes a special attack upon the young, knowing that if he can get them in sinful paths, he can ruin their lives. Sometimes in an unwatchful moment he may lead them to take a false step which will ruin their lives for years to come. That verse is so very important, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:2323O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)). We do not have the wisdom in ourselves to choose a right and safe path for our own feet, but if we turn humbly and dependently to the Lord, He will guide us, for He has promised, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:66In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:6)). How good to have such an unfailing guide! May we never try to take a step without Him!
Christ Our Life
Moses then, with Joshua, exhorted the people again to walk in the ways of the Lord for, he said, “It is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life.” Alas, how often the Word of God is repeated and hymns are sung in a vain and thoughtless way. Those who read or sing in this way do it only to salve their consciences, or because they enjoy singing, without meaning it at all. Think of singing,
“Saviour, we long to follow Thee,
Daily Thy cross to bear,”
and then walking out of the meeting to go on in a worldly way with worldly friends, worldly dress, a worldly home, and everything else that savors of seeking after the things of earth. Surely it ought to be, as it says here, our very life, for what else do we have that is worth living for but Christ (Philippians 1:2121For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21))?
Further Meditations
1. Why did Moses and Joshua exhort the people to walk in the ways of the Lord?
2. What are some of the dangers of continuing doing a right thing with a wrong motive? How is this problem illustrated in Malachi 1?
3. This chapter refers to worldliness. You can get quite a bit more help from the pamphlet Worldliness: What Does it Mean? taken from the magazine Help and Food.