“Pay attention, heavens, and I will speak; listen, earth, to the words of my mouth.
“Let my teaching fall like rain and my word settle like dew, like gentle rain on new grass and showers on tender plants.
“For I will proclaim Yahweh’s name.
“Declare the greatness of our God!
“The Rock – His work is perfect; all His ways are entirely just. A faithful God, without prejudice, He is righteous and true” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Gentleness and tenderness build to a dramatic proclamation as Moses declares to the people a new name for Holy God.
The chapter continues with powerful words to the people as they have allowed corruption and deceit to permeate their lives. They did so despite all that God had done for them. He created them as God but He also sustained them as would a Father (verse 6). He pulled them out of desolation to make them His chosen people (verses 9-10). He was God to them – Most High over all other gods (verse 12). He blessed them in abundance (verses 13-14).
I shake my head as I see myself and our culture in their response.
Despite all God did for His people, they gorged themselves on the provision rather than the Provider. They became fat and bloated on it (verses 15). They ignored the God of their fathers as they followed after foreign gods and deceptive demons (verses 16-17).
“They ignored the Rock who gave them birth; they forgot the God who gave birth to them” (Deuteronomy 32:18 paraphrased).
They ignored the Rock – and the response didn’t go well for the people of Israel (verses 19-27). They never realized weak earthly attacks couldn’t come against them “unless their Rock had sold them, unless the Lord had given them up” (Deuteronomy 32:30).
They followed their little idols not realizing that “their ‘rock’ is not like our Rock” (Deuteronomy 32:31).
And yet, despite all their gorging selfishness and their love affair with the idols of Satan, “the Lord will indeed vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants” (Deuteronomy 32:36).
Why on earth would He do such a thing?
God’s mercy and grace pour out on His people because they are just that – His people. Their sin is ugly – horrifying, really – but Holy God cut covenant with them. If He went back on His word and didn’t provide for them, then He would be an untrustworthy liar. That’s not going to happen. Not only that, but if He doesn’t protect them, then those who brought down His people would take credit for their destruction. Or, in other words, Satan would get the glory for bringing the defeat of God’s people. Again, not going to happen. (See verses 26-27. Did you notice the italics on provide and protect? Remember those words because they’ll be important in the next part of this series.)
“See now that I alone am He; there is no God but Me. I bring death and I give life; I wound and I heal. No one can rescue anyone from My hand” (Deuteronomy 32:39).
Why do we care?
We care because we see ourselves in the Israelite people. God didn’t only create them – He created us. He didn’t only sustain them as would a Father – He sustains us. He pulled us out of desolation and chose us as His people – adopted in as children of Abraham. He is our Most High God with abundant blessings.
And we said, “Screw it. I don’t care. I want my own way. I want to pour my passion into the ‘rocks’ because I know better than the Rock does.”
Even still, He has compassion on us. Even still, He provides with the Rock of living water in the desert. He protects us in the cleft of the Rock. This is going to get good…please come back for the rest next time.