Todays readings.. Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 5, Colossians 2
“THEY DO NOT REGARD …”
Today we read two challenging ‘songs’ that are addressed to God! At the end of Deuteronomy chapter 31 we are told, “Then Moses spoke the words of this song until they were finished, in the ears of all the assembly of Israel” and todays’ ch. 32 gives us the words; this is Moses’ last message to the people before he dies.
The words that particularly caught our attention are, “May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distil as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness …”[v.2-4] Most encouraging words! But some of the words Moses went on to sing are a reflection on the history of their attitudes in the wilderness, “…. they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness … a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them” [v.20,28]
How true these words had been of the parents of the children listening to this song – and how true they would be again at periods between the Judges that would ‘rule’ after the death of Joshua.
There are clear comparisons to this in our chapter 5 in Isaiah. This starts, “Let me sing for my beloved, my love song concerning his vineyard …” This is a parable. In the times when their vision of God evaporates, they cease to have any regard for God and there is no fruit in the vineyard and, as a result, God says, ” it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel…” [v.5-7]
We cannot avoid seeing the comparison with our world today, for “…they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands.” [v.12] They are wilfully blind to his creation! Isaiah tells them, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes …” [v.21] Verse 25 arrested our minds! “Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked …”
But let us be among the few who respond to the invitational way this verse ends, “For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.” Have you responded to his hand?
Of course God’s hand, as well as being stretched out in a welcoming way, can also be stretched out in judgement. We see this in ch. 14 “This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.” [v.26] Let us make sure we are on the Lord’s side and have full regard for his word, for the time when God’s “hand” will go into action is surely close.