Moses pleaded with the Lord to let him “cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan.” However, the Lord responded – “Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.”
Then Moses gives three key instructions to Israel:
- Obey the Lord – “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” The Lord is calling His people to walk in such a way that those around them will be drawn into His presence.
- Teach your children the statutes and righteous judgments of the law – “And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb… So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess.”
- Do not fall into idolatry – “Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” But the Lord knows His people will not be faithful. Therefore, Moses says when they enter the promised land, they will forget the Lord, and begin worshiping false gods, “you will not prolong your days in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you.” And this is exactly what will happen. The people will turn their backs on the Lord; thus the Lord will turn them over to their enemies. However, the Lord does not leave His people without hope – “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”
Moses reminds Israel that there is only one God and restates the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, instructing them to “be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.”
More from Moses to the children of Israel tomorrow, so keep reading. (Deuteronomy 3:21-5:33)