These final chapters of Deuteronomy form a chiastic structure with yesterday’s reading:
1A: Deu 31:1, Moses spoke these words to all Israel;
1B: Deu 31:2-30, Moses 120 years old + not crossing over + Joshua inaugurated;
1C: Deu 32:1-43, The song of Moses;
1D: Deu 32:44-45, Moses spoke to all Israel;
CENTRAL AXIS: Deu 32:46-47, Set your heart on all these words, because it is your life;
2D: Deu 32:48-52, YHVH spoke to Moses;
2C: Deu 33:1-29, The blessing of Moses;
2B: Deu 34:1-9, Moses did not cross over + 120 years old + Joshua succeeded;
2A: Deu 34:10-12, A prophet like Moses in all Israel.
The full central axis reads:
… and he said to them: “Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe—all the words of this law. For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess.” Deu 32:46-47
This summary repeats Moses’ instruction from the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy, when he was explaining how to worship the LORD only: Keep His words in your heart, first of all. We are not to set only our minds on every word of His Torah, but set our hearts, our affections, our loyalty, on every word of His Torah. If we set our heart on His word, then we will set His word before our minds, our ears and eyes. We will come to His word with a teachable heart, an attitude of submission, if we set our heart on every word of His Law.
Do you realize, this is one reason I believe that evangelical Christians, who read the New Testament only, and who teach their children the New Testament only, lose their children to the world when they grow up?
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Gal 3:24
Children aren’t born ready to make a decision for Christ. Until they are old enough to do so, the Law is our tutor which brings us to Christ, so that we might be justified by faith. Parents who do not heed Moses’ admonition, which is the central axis of the conclusion of Deuteronomy, to command our children to be careful to observe God’s Law, remove from them God’s ordained tutor whose purpose is to bring them to Christ. Well, that has been our experience and that is my opinion.
Moses also repeats the four verbs introduced in the beginning of Deuteronomy, that we are to be sure to do with the Law of God: listen to it, take heed or pay attention to what we are hearing, observe what we have taken heed of, and teach it to our children. We must be careful to do so, for it will not be in vain if we do — obeying God’s Word increases life and blessing for our physical lives, in this life.
For further study: Compare Moses’ blessing of the twelve tribes, with Jacob’s blessing at his death. What is the same? What is different, added or omitted?
Finding Messiah: Deuteronomy and thus the entire Torah concludes:
But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel. Deu 34:10-12
However, Moses told Israel that God would raise up a Prophet like him (Deu 18:15-18), who would hear the Word of God from the mouth of God and teach it, whom the LORD would know face to face, who would walk in all the signs and wonders and mighty power as Moses, and greater than Moses: and that Prophet is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. It is fitting that Torah concludes with a reminder that we are looking for Him who is to come, for His revelation has been the focus of all Torah. 🙂