Deuteronomy - Lesson 32

Securing Israel’s Faith - Deut. 31.1-30

The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

Daniel Block
Lesson 32
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Securing Israel’s Faith - Deut. 31.1-30

Securing Israel’s Faith (31:1-30)

I. Preparing for the Death of Moses

A. Other death narratives in the First Testament

B. Features of Moses’ death narrative

C. Topics in Chapter 31

1. Moses’ Commissioning of Joshua

2. YHWH’s commissioning of Joshua

II. Lessons

Class Resources
  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

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Securing Israel’s Faith - Deut. 31.1-30

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Moses has finished his preaching on the plains of Moab. That part of this long worship service is over. It probably has been going on for days. We do not know if these are all the sermons he preached in the context of these final events here on on the plains of Moab. But these are the ones that have been preserved for us. And they are given to us in a deliberate order related to covenant. Whether they were preached in this order is not indicated. But we have finished with a major part of the Sunday morning service. There's Russian church service. Now we can move to other matters in chapter 31. The preaching ends but and narrative returns if we come back to our diagram of the book. Chapter 31 on the one hand brings this part to a conclusion. That is the last address as Moses Will declares that the Torah that he has been preaching has been written down. So that will show up. But it is also the introduction to the song that he will that is preserved in chapter 32. It does double duty. But there's a third theme in this, and that is the commissioning of Joshua as his replacement when he is gone. Now, for our purposes, it's helpful to consider this whole book of Deuteronomy a death narrative. There are many death narratives. We weren't really aware of this. Of how many there were until my doctoral student at Southern Seminary, Brian Cribb, did his dissertation on death narratives. It's a very fine piece and it's published. We knew there were birth narratives that our call narratives and other types of narratives, but nobody had systematically or had studied accounts of peoples death systematically. There are notices of people dying, but there's no story with a notice.


[00:02:41] It's just a notice. But he dealt with death stories. The whole book of Deuteronomy is really the death story, the death of Moses living in the light of the death of Moses, preparing for his death. Now, in or Old Testament, First Testament death narratives, we have lots of these. I mean, we can list them. There's the death of Sarah Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Aaron, Moses, Joshua, David. These are all extended accounts. They didn't just all of a sudden expire and it's done. But there are accounts of how they died and how they prepared for death. In these death narratives. If we are a form critic, there are several typical parts that are basic to the structure of a death narrative. The text declares the person's length of life. Moses will do this in chapter 30. There. Moses said to them, I am 120 years old today and I'm no longer able to come and go. That doesn't always happen. But here you have it. A declaration of the person's length of life, an announcement of impending death. Well, in our account, it will actually come formally. In verse 14. The Lord said to Moses, Look, the time for you to die is near. So we're in that ballpark or in both instances. And verse 16, he says again, Look, you are about to die. Behold in a. Pay attention. This is important. Then there's a pronouncement on the life of the person. In our case, it's by your way. I have here 30 to 51. After Moses has taught the people the song. The narrative continues. Because you broke faith with me in the midst of it. You're not crossing over. Go up the mountain and die. So there's that commentary on the life. Then there's a description of putting the house in order.


[00:05:12] Preparing for their. And in our case, it involves appointing Joshua as his successor for there's. So there's a true a smooth transition. The provision of the national anthem. The Lord says you're about to die. And the solution to your absence is not Joshua. It's teach them a song. You can't go with them everywhere they go as they settle in their assigned tribal territories. But a song can go with them wherever they are and keep them on course. This is all about putting the house in order so that it survives your passing. Then there's a report of blessing or charging those who remain. This has happens in chapter 33, The blessing of the Tribes, a declaration of the length of life. Again, 34 over seven. Although Moses was 120 years old, his he when he died, his eyes were not dim the death notice and Moses died. 34, verse five. They're not always in the same order. An announcement of the burial. A description of the response of the bereaved. And then the narrator's eulogy. This is one long death that the death narrative of Moses is longer than any other character in the Bible, with the exception, of course, of Jesus. Have you. I'm sure you've noticed that in then in the Gospel Accounts, The Passion Week. Takes up almost half the gospels. This is what it's about, the passion. It's clearly the center of gravity. Well, this death narrative is divided into two parts. The report of Moses, personal preparation for Israel, of Israel, for the future without him. 31 to 32. And then the report of Moses. Personal death and burial. And this is 33 to 34. So we'll look at that yet. But the center of gravity of the two parts, in the first part, it's the song of Yahweh.


[00:07:33] And in the second part, it's the blessing of the tribes. Suddenly, this book breaks out into poetry. When you see inserted poems, you know something very significant is happening. This is Exodus 15, Jacob's Blessing, and this is true of inserted poems throughout. Now, the narrative framework of the poems, first of all, for the song 31 1 to 30 is the opening frame. 30 to 40 4 to 47 is the conclusion to this section. And that song is inserted right there. When Moses had finished all the words of the song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua the son. Then Moses finished speaking all these words. Israel. He said to them, Take your heart, all the words of which I'm warning you, today the preacher's back. We've given you the song. Don't mess it up. And then you have the blessing. This is chapter 33. Well, actually, 32, 48 to 33 one with that narrative framework again. But 33 is the poem. But it's a very complex death story. We're in 31 today or in this session. This chapter itself is very complex. There is and there are eight verses on the appointment of Joshua as Moses successor. But he comes back to this topic in verses 14 to 15, the appointment of Joshua's successor. And then in verse 23 again. But in between you've got the reference to the Torah. Moses wrote on all the words of the story, and you gave it to the Levites and they said, Look, read this at the Festival of Books every seven years. And then you have at the end another reference to the Torah. Take this Torah that I have written and put it beside the Ark of the Covenant and start there as a canonical text.


[00:09:45] And then right at the very end in chapter 32, verses 45 to 7, he's back to the Torah. So three paragraphs. On Joshua. Three paragraphs on the Torah. But there's one more topic, and that is the national anthem. This is my word for chapter 32, and we will defend that in the next session. But it's 16 to 22 is a prose. 3116 to 22 is a prose introduction to the national anthem. And then 3128 to 3244. You have the anthem itself and it concludes then with a prose epilog. We're going to rearrange these topically. So let's deal with the appointment of Joshua as Moses successor in those three sections. And then actually, I think we can fill in the blanks here. The installation of Joshua as Moses successor, the deposition of the Torah, and then finally, preparation for the national anthem. And you can notice the by counting the words where the centers of gravity are. And of course, it is the national anthem that is the weightiest of these three. All of this relates to preparing the people to carry on without him. You will have Joshua, you will have the Torah and you will have the song. Three witnesses and he will use the word witness in this passage to keep them on track with God witnesses. In fact, the key idea five times we hear this word in this chapter, twice as a verb, to testify, to be a witness, and then thrice we don't use that old English word very much. But if you going to say twice, not say thrice, it's useful. Our witness 31, 1921 and 26. Who are these three witnesses? Joshua The Torah and the song. So that's the structure of 31. So let's look at the installation of Joshua.


[00:12:13] This is not a difficult text. What's difficult is that it's broken up into three bits. For what reason? Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel. He said, I am now 120 years old and I'm no longer able to lead you. Can you imagine the tone in his voice? If this were in chapter one, he would have inserted here. It's your fault. But he doesn't. And so I am imagining that he's resigned. It's okay. I'm out of here. But Lord will come for me. Well, in any case, I am no longer able to lead. The Lord said to me. You're not crossing over the Jordan. Your God himself will cross over. You don't need me. Yahweh is crossing over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you. You will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over you ahead, as I said. And Yahweh will do to them what he did to Seehorn and all the kings of the Emirates, whom he destroyed along with their land. So they turn out to be paradigmatic. They never set out to battle, but they just won permission to cross through. But when they resisted, they are like the Emirates on the other side of the river. Let's treat them that way. And so they wipe them all out. And this is what they're to do on the other side. Yahweh, we will deliver them to you. You must do to them all that I've commanded. You be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified of them for you. Your God goes with you. He will never leave you or for your you. And then, skipping to 14, Yahweh said to Moses, Now the day of your death is near.


[00:14:03] Call Joshua and present yourselves at the tent meeting where I will commission him. So Moses and Joshua came and presented themselves at the tent of meeting. Then Yahweh appeared at the tent of meeting in a pillar of cloud, and the clouds stood over the entrance of the tent. Yahweh gave this command to Joshua, son of none. Be strong and courageous for you will bring the Israelites into the land. I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you. That's interesting. The first speeches by Moses be strong and courageous. And now God comes and gives His affirmation. Moses has spoken with my voice and he reaffirms Moses to the end. Well, this is how this part breaks up the Moses commissioning of Joshua. He begins with a speech that the people are to hear. So that they know Joshua is the divinely appointed replacement. But then he has an encouragement speech for Joshua himself. This is the Ordinations sermon. And then the second part is Yahweh commissioning speech for Joshua. The context and the nature of the commission. So let's begin. Moses Speech for the people. This is verses 2 to 6, remember? He is still talking, but now he's going auto biographical or shall we say, biographical. He's no longer preaching. He is simply announcing to the people. We are at the turning point in our history. And of course, in the ancient world, whenever there is a change in leadership, it's a very insecure time. You remember Isaiah six in the year that King Uzair died. I saw Yahweh. When the king dies, the people always are on pins and needles. What will happen now? Can the replacement? Will there be a good replacement? Can he take over without threats to his life? And of course, in the Northern Kingdom.


[00:16:12] They didn't last very long because there was assassination after assassination in the southern King Kingdom. They were always David died. But that doesn't mean it was always peaceful. So he announces his demise. First of all, his age, I am 128 years old. Not the symmetry in Moses life, his early years in Egypt, 40 years. Stephen talks about this at seven, his sojourn in Midian 40 years, his leadership of Israel 40 years. He's an old man. He's way beyond the poem. The Psalm That is a tribute to him. Psalm 90. Fourscore years and or is it three short years in ten? That's a long age. I'm way beyond that. I know. I'm sure there were times when he will have said, I wish God had taken me a long time ago this lot. But in any case, it's 40, 40, 40. The rhythm of his life. It's like the 40 days up on the mountain. 40 days to do this. 40 days. And then we had three or four phases. Look at a second. Second, his announcement. I am no longer able to go out and come in. I'm sure the people are asking. I'm. We were wondering when you would bow out. His explanation. Yeah. He has said to me, You may not go over this. He doesn't pull any punches. But notice his promise. I can't go with you. But you'll be all right. First because, Jacqui. It's going ahead of you. That's the first reason. Second reason, Joshua. Is going ahead of you, too. So we're in good hands with all state. No, we're in good hands with God and his commissioned agents. But notice, then, why this works. First of all, your way will destroy these nations sickened through Joshua Yahweh. We'll deal with the nations as he dealt with Seehorn and OG.


[00:18:33] Yea, we will hand them over to the Israelites. We're in good hands. And of course, they're not really Joshua's hands. They're God's friends. It's a great speech. But he also charges them. The Israelites must dispossess them. This was a synergistic enterprise. You must do your part. And at the end, he said, the Israelites must deal with the nations as Moses has commanded, so that he's expecting his own words to continue to ring in the ears of the people. Joshua's words will never trump Moses words, even though he is the leader. The people will not embark on the promise. They will not embark on the conquest, leaderless. Yahoo! We will directly deal directly with the canines. Yahoo! We will go with them. He will not relax his hands or abandon them. Be courageous. I will not relax my hands. And again, the metaphor here I think is very helpful. If it if our security rests in God, we are absolutely secure. If that's all there is to this equation, you're in my hands. Trust me, I will never go like this. Never go limp. It will stay for Yahweh, your God. And now He gives it is a merciful God. He will not relax his hand or destroy you, or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which you confirmed to them by oath. It's a great word to the people. Well, then you have got the speech for Joshua. Then Moses called. Joshua said to him in the presence of all Israel. Did you notice that? He wants the people to hear what he is saying to Joshua so they know what Joshua has heard. And in a sense, they can hold Joshua accountable. So this is the part of it. Be strong and courageous for you must go with this people into the land that you always swore to the forefathers.


[00:20:45] You must divided among them as their grant natural. Nicola. Yochai himself goes before you. He will be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. This is a very helpful ordination sermon. It's not going to be easy. But you'll be all right. Notice the call for courage. Be strong. Be courageous. After all, the fortifications reached a high heaven and the Giants are still there. Nothing has changed. Negative. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. So be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Two ways of saying the same thing. But then the professional charge. You must go with this people into the land that Yahweh swore to the forefathers. You must divide them among them as a ground. It's a foregone conclusion that you'll take it. Go into the land that is swore and divided. He doesn't even tell Joshua to take it. Claim it. But that's what their activity will. Finally, the promise will be fulfilled, but it will happen with Joshua. And Moses misses out on the joy. I am sure this was hard. I am sure it was hard, but there isn't a hint here. A bitterness anymore. It's okay. I'm done. And I think by now he really is tired. Although the narrator will say he never got tired. Is the ever ready the battery. Moses encouragement. And then his promise. Verse eight, Yahweh himself goes before you. He's talking to Joshua, and we'll be with you. Joshua. He will never leave you, Joshua, nor forsake you. You're his appointed agent. If God calls people into his service, God assumes responsibility for their well-being. You'll be all right. Of course, this alludes to Psalm 23. Even when you're dark, you walk through dark valleys.


[00:23:00] That's not only about personal death, it's about any stressful, dark situation. God will be there. He will never leave you or forsake you. He'll send his good hounds after you if there are problems. Well, the nature of the encouragement for Joshua comes then in verses 14 to 15. The context. Then the Lord said to Moses, Look, the day of your death is near. Call Joshua or present yourselves at the tender meeting where I will commission him. This becomes a private moment. Moses has done the public thing in front of all the people. And the Lord says, Now it's time for one more private moment. Bring Joshua. He's been your faithful lieutenant all these years. He was on Mount Sinai with you when they were worshiping the Golden Calf. He was the faithful scout on behalf of the for my tribe. Brought you to come into the army. The tent of meeting, not the expression tent of meeting. Apparently there were two tents. Sometimes the tabernacle is the tent of Micky. The expression really means tent of appointments. It's a it's a special place where God invites his people, usually individuals, for an appointment, an audience with himself. You hear that? How that works? An audience with himself. When you're in an audience with a superior, what you have to say is of secondary tertiary importance. It's always what the superior has to say and the tent of meeting is above it. Sometimes this expression applies to the tabernacle. Because that's where the community meets with God in worship. But this is the. That must have been a different structure. Yahweh appeared at that tent in a pillar of cloud, and it stood over the entrance of the tent, which is really remarkable. I wonder if it moved from the tabernacle to this little pup tent where Joshua and and he were.


[00:25:13] But in any case, it is a sign to the community. That the Divine King is meeting with his appointed agents. That's what's happening here. It's a formal occasion. Notice the formality, the opening. Behold. Here they. Yahoo! Charges Moses to summon Joshua for an audience with him rather than the Lord summoning Joshua. He tells Moses you the time has come. Call Joshua. Hey, Joshua. The Lord wants to talk to us. The use of a formal verb. His yacht. Save. Present yourself. This is a formal way of standing before a superior. Hebrew has several words for stand. This is one at Mt. Sinai. When the trumpet blows, then the Lord appears. All the people stand. The time for the meeting is. You never sit in the presence of God. There's one exception in Scripture, and that's David. After the the Lord has revealed through Naboth the Davidic Covenant, the promise of eternal Dynasty. David sat before Yahweh. Never happens, never happens. You have to ask, what is David doing? And of course, when you hear that, when you hear the chroniclers say that Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh. You get an idea that this is this is not presumption? Well, the location of the audience at the tent. This is what we've got here. This is an image from the ancient era. Millions. There's Aramaic script at the top of this one. But this is what we're talking about. Now, in what form? Yahweh talks. This is a royal scene or a throne scene. Joshua and Moses appear before Yahweh. This is what we need to have in mind. And the enthroned one commissions, the one standing there. This formal note, the accompanying the ofany that the glory, the pillar of fire moves. But look at the encouragement.


[00:27:49] Moses had encouraged him already with a words on the left. But now to hear it straight from God, be strong and courageous for you. And of course, Moses is the standard bearer adhering with. You. She'll bring the descendants of Israel to the land that I swore to them. I will be with you. Of course I am, sir. I'm just imagining what he could have been feeling. And at the beginning of this week, he was feeling well. After the death of Moses, the servant of Yahweh, Josh Yahweh spoke to Joshua, the son of none who had served Moses. I'm in the Book of Joshua. We've made the transition. The man has been commissioned. Moses, my servant, is dead. I love that expression. Moses, my servant. Again, it's not born slave. It is the word Your Septuagint often translates as do loss. Not always, but very often do loss. I don't know what I don't remember. But this is this. This is the title of an envoy commissioned by the Superior. It's honorific. My servant, Moses. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving to the Israelites. I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads. Just as I promised Moses. Your territory will be from the wilderness into Lebanon to the great Euphrates River. If you remember, if you remember Genesis 15, you have two definitions of the promised Land. There's a maximalist definition from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates and the minimalist definition, the land occupied by the Canaanites. Well, here he says to Joshua, it's the whole deal. No one will be able to stand before you as long as you live. I will be with you just as I was with Moses.


[00:30:11] I will not leave you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give to them as a grant above all. Be strong and be very courageous to keep my covenant by doing the whole Torah that my servant Moses, commanded or charge you to follow. Do not turn from the right to the left so that you will have success wherever you go. Where did we hear that before? Do not turn to the left or to the right. Chapter 17. The King is supposed to write for himself a copy of this Torah, and it shall be with him that he not turn to the right or to the left. He's talking to Joshua and he is applying to Joshua as if he were king. This text is not for public consumption. This is a private thing. Joshua is not told here. Be sure you read the Torah to the people. That's the Levi's job. Joshua is to read it for this book of the Torah. I must not depart from your mouth. You are to recite your day and night so that you may observe everything written in it. By doing it for you will then prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Have I not commanded you? Be strong, courageous. Don't be afraid or discouraged. For example, your God is with you wherever you go. Of course that. When I read what follows in the Book of Joshua, I mean, we start out really well, we go on a march around around Jericho. And if I had been Joshua, I'd said to God, This is crazy. This makes no sense. It's absurd. We're marching around and they've got their archers up on top. And then the last day you blow the trumpets and the whole thing collapses and everything goes per plan.


[00:32:24] And then they go through the rituals of circumcision of everybody at Guildhall. They celebrate the first Passover in the land and the manor ceases. We're there. We're there. But what happens next? Bethel and I. Total disasters. And Joshua, we speak for the Lord. Why has this happened? And the amazing thing is the narrator never says, Oh, Joshua, you didn't read the Torah. Moses told you what to do next, and you didn't follow the first step. He never says that because I think the author of the Book of Joshua feels about Joshua even more positively than the author of the Book of Deuteronomy, and he doesn't want to spoil the image. And so he can get the blame. I think there's more to the story than just a can. And and so this is where we live. Well, what lessons does this text have for us? The person who leads God's people has one primary duty. Primary role. Primary obligation. Read the Torah for himself. So that people can see in you. What covenant righteousness looks like. And of course, I think that's why at the end of the book, when Joshua knows he's about to leave, he's an old man by now, too. Not as old as Moses, but he is. And he's about to leave. He gathers all the people at this place again, at Guildhall or at Eabl. And he says, Choose you this day whom you will have. In fact, chapters 23 and 24 of Joshua. The tone. This is why this is called Deuteronomy stick history. The tone of the two sermons at the end of the book of Joshua that Joshua delivers sounds just like Moses. And in the end, he says, Choose you this day whom you will serve.


[00:34:45] As for me and for my house, we are serving Yahweh. He says, I am the model. I am the paradigm. Watch me. Follow me. We're not only walking in the ways of your way. We should be able to walk in the ways of Yahoo's servants. Don't just do as I say. Do as I do, and of course, in my interpretation. Joshua wasn't perfect. It wasn't to me that I and and and Bethell that fiasco. That's one's on Joshua. No, I'm probably wrong. But I have published an article on this is on chapter 37 and in which I deal with this as an appendix. Oh, by the way, what happened after this? What's the sequel? And in there I note that this this seems off track. Joshua doesn't start out so well. But I hadn't noticed anybody in any of the other commenters ever caught that. They didn't look at they didn't check the map. If you check the map that Moses tells you where to go and where Joshua goes, it's they don't match. But again, I guess we learn God doesn't expect perfection. He wishes that were there. Tammy means wholeheartedly after God. Joshua Wise. But that doesn't mean he didn't slip. We all do. We all do. And so I think there's great encouragement here, even for people like us who have feet of clay. But ultimately, the lesson is. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I am with you, but is Psalm 23 Yay! Do I walk through the valley? But yeah, that's old English of deep of deepest darkness. And that is the Hebrew. It's not valley of the shadow of death. We not we now know that lexicon graphically, but I fear no evil, because you explain everything to me.


[00:37:00] No, no. The ways of God remain a mystery. I mean, when we go through the deep valleys ourselves, the why questions scream and they rarely get answered. They rarely get answered. But we're okay. Because the Lord is with me. His rod and his staff comfort me now, too. When we think of Rod and stuff, we think of an instrument of discipline and beauty. That's not what it is. That's not the primary function of a shepherd staff to beat sheep. It is to beat wolves. And bears the enemies to protect. But with reference to the sheep, when we are walking through the valley of deep darkness like that clip you showed me yesterday, sheep are kind of stupid and they don't have good eyesight. But when you're walking through the valley of deep darkness, your rod and your staff comfort me. Why? Because it's the nudge of the master's hand reminding you I'm here and gently pushing you this way, that way, and leading us along. And that's, I think, the picture here. Don't be discouraged. Don't be afraid. Yeah. Your God is with you. All right, that's it. You have done you have used it in this lesson. But you keep using gospel in Deuteronomy. Yeah. Is it is it fair to say that a summary of what you mean by gospel is I will be with you? Well. Yes. But there's more. There's an actual story. That's too ethereal. Esoteric. It's real presence. God is not present merely there as being beside us. He is present as the agent of our well-being. So that I am the one who brought you out of Egypt. I am the one who brought you to myself in a covenant relationship. I cared for you in the desert.


[00:39:21] I gave you the land. So I think that could be a summary. I am. I am. I will be your God. And you will be my people. That is the covenant formula. But then what does that mean? How did we get here? That's the gospel.