Read Moses’ song from Deuteronomy 32:1-43 aloud as a prayer.
Do you remember the context of this sermon/song? What was happening here?
The main context here is that Moses is giving his “farewell address” to the people before he kicks off. In his big goodbye, Moses has’ two predominant themes:
- Remembering vs. forgetting (which we discussed last week)
- Choosing to obey God vs. choosing to disobey (which we’ll talk about tonight.)
Moses returns to these two ideas over and over again in Deuteronomy. In his mind, these are the two big ideas for a new generation to adopt before entering the Promised Land. But, Moses isn’t the only author who uses these themes. We see these ideas repeatedly remind us of God’s faithfulness in the past, and encourage us to keep the covenant. Not only that, but Israel’s failures are usually tied to their forgetfulness and their disobedience to the covenant laws. If you learn anything from Moses’ Book of the Torah, it should be this: Obey God and you will live and prosper, but disobey God and you will suffer and die.”
The next few books (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings) will prove this to be true by telling the stories of generations of Israelites choosing either obedience or disobedience and reaping the consequences. (Spoiler alert: Israel’s story as a nation in the land is mostly one of disobedience.) This week, we’ll take the time as we wrap up the Torah to sit with this second theme of obedience both for the sake of understanding the message of the Scriptures and in order to personally reflect on our own call to love and obey God and thereby choose life.
According to Moses’ words in chapter 30 and the rest of Deuteronomy, what difference will it make whether Israel listens to God or not once they’ve occupied the land? Specifically, what are the consequences of disobeying the covenant and the rewards for keeping it?
What exactly is it they are supposed to obey? What kind of stuff does God demand of them? (Hint: Think back on your reading through Deuteronomy this week. Chapters 12-26 elaborate on a lot of these instructions.)
What is your first reaction to these exhortations to obedience? When asked to obey God, do you respond eagerly like the Israelites first did at Sinai, saying, “We will do everything the Lord has said,” (Ex 19:8)? Or is your natural reaction more resistant?
What does the overall story of the Torah, concluding in Deuteronomy, say about mankind’s general ability and willingness to be faithful and obedient to God?
Does the Torah end on a high note of hopefulness and enthusiasm, or is the story a more somber and sobering one?
These questions are to help us look at ourselves, be aware and honest about who we are in light of our interaction with Scripture and consider any appropriate action.
What is God calling you to be obedient to right now?
In what ways are you struggling to listen to Him and tempted to disobey?
If you are super honest with yourself, what do you truly believe to be the consequences of disobedience? What benefit, if any, is it to listen to God in this instance?
Consider any invitations that the Holy Spirit may be bringing up in you to obey God more wholly. However, be slow to jump into commitments of obedience. As the Torah makes clear, God takes vows of behavior very, very seriously and holds us accountable to our promises. Rather, take the time to count the cost of obedience and search your heart for whether you are truly willing to pay the price of obedience. Then open up to God in prayer together, sharing any fear, guilt, excitement, doubt, hope, or desire you may be feeling.
Before leaving, share with one another which verse or passage, if any, you will try to memorize this week.