The Scriptorium

The Greatness of God

The Song of Moses. Deuteronomy 31.30-32.4

The Song of Moses: Deuteronomy 32 (1)

Opening Prayer: Deuteronomy 32.3, 4
For I proclaim the name of the LORD:
Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.

Sing Deuteronomy 32.3, 4

(Sagina: And Can It Be)
He is the Rock, His work is sure, and justice defines His every Word:
A God of truth, upright and pure, both just and righteous is our Lord!
Perfect is He in all His ways, without injustice, deserving praise!
Refrain, v. 3
I will proclaim our Savior’s fame, and sing the greatness of His Name.

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 31.30-32.4

Preparation
1. What is the focus of these verses?

2. Why do you think God had Moses’ song begin this way?

Meditation

Moses “spoke” the words of his song to the people of Israel, assembled before him (31.30). But if he merely “spoke” them, what makes this a song? It does not seem as if God gave Moses any particular melody to use in singing this song, as important as the song is. That means every generation would be free to set this song to any melody they found useful in learning and singing it. That includes our generation.

This is a song because it is given in poetic form, where ideas rhyme and develop, images abound, and metaphors carry significant meaning. The song begins with the greatness of God. Moses calls heaven and earth to hear his testimony and his teaching (vv. 1, 2). Thus, this song begins as a witness to all creation about the Lord. The teaching about Him comes as refreshing rain or dew to renew and restore the earth. The greatness of God is the theme (v. 3), not only of this stanza, but of the entire song of Moses. That greatness will show up in various ways, but this is the message Israel was supposed to take away from this song.

God is unchanging, indestructible, perfect, just, righteous, and upright (v. 4). Israel must always remember this, especially as they begin to consider other gods and to drift into idolatry. In His greatness, God will not simply stand aside and let His people corrupt themselves. As the rest of the song will show, God moves to discipline His people when they turn His gifts into idols and their backs to His Word.

Our witness about our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, is neither harsh nor burdensome. It is like sweet rain falling or fresh dew on the grass. When the Gospel is such a song on our lips, people will listen.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
This is the Song for the Ages! Moses’ song has superseded the popularity of all the greats through all the years. All previous Grammy Award winners need to step aside. Nothing has had the staying power that this song has had, whether classical, country, jazz, rock, folk, blues, gospel, soul, or any of the other myriad kinds of music that exist. Moses wrote it and taught it to the children of Israel. Skip hundreds of years, and we see John writing about it in Revelation: “And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.” The scene is set. Ready? “They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!’” (Rev. 15.2, 3). And then they continue with the rest of the verse. Singing of the greatness of God. From early in the history of mankind to the end of time as we know it, this song has and will be sung. It is a timeless classic that we would all do well to learn, sing, and remember.

Reflection

1. How did Moses regard the message he was about to give? Is this how we regard the Gospel?

2. What do we learn from these verses about the greatness of God?

3. How might you benefit from learning and singing this song?

He signifies by these words that, if there were any spark of piety in the Israelites, it must be manifested by their welcoming this address, wherein the majesty of God shines forth.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 32.3

Great are You, Lord, and greatly to be praised! Let me take this song with me, to sing Your praises throughout the day as I…

Closing Prayer: Deuteronomy 32.1-4
Use these verses to praise God for His many glorious attributes. Linger over each phrase or term, and let your heart fill with the greatness of the Lord. Sing these verses over and over throughout the day.

Sing Deuteronomy 32.1-4
(Sagina: And Can It Be)
Give ear, O heav’ns, I will proclaim, and hear, O earth the words I tell:
Let now my teaching drop as rain, my speech as morning dew distill,
as show’rs that fall on thirsty grass, and rain on tender herbs at last:
Refrain, v. 3
I will proclaim our Savior’s fame, and sing the greatness of His Name.

He is the Rock, His work is sure, and justice defines His every Word:
A God of truth, upright and pure, both just and righteous is our Lord!
Perfect is He in all His ways, without injustice, deserving praise!
Refrain, v. 3

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore