Moses reviews the terms of the covenant with the people in the closing chapters of Deuteronomy. He explains why and how (briefly) and reminds the people:
to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deuteronomy 29:13
It amazes me that the people are able to look back at their ancestry well over 400 years in the past. These ancient times relied on oral histories and rare written parchments. Looking that far back is incredible. Moses brings the past to the present at the end of chapter 29:
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29
Even when we screw up (not if), the Lord will “gather you and bring you back” (30:4) — what an amazing promise! Moses prophesies that these same people will rebel against the Lord, they will in fact turn to idols and disaster will follow. We know that because we have the advantage of historical perspective, but those hearing Moses’ song, his prophetic words, must not have been able to fathom such dissension in the group. After all, they’re about to enter an incredible land!
Moses provides a song and challenges them to remember the words,
they are not just idle words for you–they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess. Deuteronomy 32:47
Moses blesses each of the 12 tribes. It’s a ritual that we’ve long since forgotten, but I wonder if we could learn something from this process. Words are powerful. Speaking into someone’s life is trivial unless it is someone with whom we have walked through great struggles, lived through trials. When that person speaks over me, I will listen. These words are not there to make me feel good, they are there for me to cherish. Two lessons: 1) know someone well enough to walk through trials with and 2) speak words of blessings over them.
Moses died and was buried in some place no one knows about. Israel mourned for 30 days. The legacy will be remembered forever, but now is the time to move forward. Time for Joshua.