Bible Insights

Moses’s Final Song

Psalm 157 from Beyond Psalm 150

Despite forty years of faithful service leading God’s chosen people, God prohibits Moses from entering the promised land. This is all because of a single act of disobedience.

This one action is enough to keep Moses from realizing the reward he desires.

It’s a reminder that, through the law, one sin is enough to separate us from eternity with God. Fortunately, we’re no longer under the law of Moses and can receive mercy through Jesus for eternity.

Regardless of the situation that Moses’s action caused, he still maintains his focus on and reverence for God. With Moses’s life winding down, he shares this song with the people and leaves them with a spiritual legacy.

Give ear, you heavens, and I will speak.
   Let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
My doctrine will drop as the rain.
    My speech will condense as the dew,
    as the misty rain on the tender grass,
    as the showers on the herb.
For I will proclaim Yahweh’s name.
    Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock: his work is perfect,
    for all his ways are just.
    A God of faithfulness who does no wrong,
    just and right is he.
They have dealt corruptly with him.
    They are not his children, because of their defect.
    They are a perverse and crooked generation.
Is this the way you repay Yahweh,
    foolish and unwise people?
Isn’t he your father who has bought you?
    He has made you and established you.
Remember the days of old.
    Consider the years of many generations.
Ask your father, and he will show you;
    your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
    when he separated the children of men,
he set the bounds of the peoples
    according to the number of the children of Israel.
For Yahweh’s portion is his people.
    Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
He found him in a desert land,
    in the waste howling wilderness.
He surrounded him.
    He cared for him.
    He kept him as the apple of his eye.
As an eagle that stirs up her nest,
    that flutters over her young,
he spread abroad his wings,
    he took them,
    he bore them on his feathers.
Yahweh alone led him.
    There was no foreign god with him.
He made him ride on the high places of the earth.
    He ate the increase of the field.
He caused him to suck honey out of the rock,
    oil out of the flinty rock;
butter from the herd, and milk from the flock,
    with fat of lambs,
    rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats,
    with the finest of the wheat.
    From the blood of the grape, you drank wine.
But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked.
    You have grown fat.
    You have grown thick.
    You have become sleek.
Then he abandoned God who made him,
    and rejected the Rock of his salvation.
They moved him to jealousy with strange gods.
    They provoked him to anger with abominations.
They sacrificed to demons, not God,
    to gods that they didn’t know,
    to new gods that came up recently,
    which your fathers didn’t dread.
Of the Rock who became your father, you are unmindful,
    and have forgotten God who gave you birth.
Yahweh saw and abhorred,
    because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.
He said, “I will hide my face from them.
    I will see what their end will be;
for they are a very perverse generation,
    children in whom is no faithfulness.
They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God.
    They have provoked me to anger with their vanities.
I will move them to jealousy with those who are not a people.
    I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
For a fire is kindled in my anger,
    that burns to the lowest Sheol,
    devours the earth with its increase,
    and sets the foundations of the mountains on fire.

I will heap evils on them.
    I will spend my arrows on them.
They shall be wasted with hunger,
    and devoured with burning heat
    and bitter destruction.
I will send the teeth of animals on them,
    with the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
Outside the sword will bereave,
    and in the rooms,
    terror on both young man and virgin,
    the nursing infant with the gray-haired man.
I said that I would scatter them afar.
    I would make their memory to cease from among men;
were it not that I feared the provocation of the enemy,
    lest their adversaries should judge wrongly,
    lest they should say, ‘Our hand is exalted,
    Yahweh has not done all this.’

For they are a nation void of counsel.
    There is no understanding in them.
Oh that they were wise, that they understood this,
    that they would consider their latter end!
How could one chase a thousand,
    and two put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
    and Yahweh had delivered them up?
For their rock is not as our Rock,
    even our enemies themselves concede.
For their vine is of the vine of Sodom,
    of the fields of Gomorrah.
Their grapes are poison grapes.
    Their clusters are bitter.
Their wine is the poison of serpents,
    the cruel venom of asps.

“Isn’t this laid up in store with me,
    sealed up among my treasures?
Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
    at the time when their foot slides;
for the day of their calamity is at hand.
    Their doom rushes at them.”

For Yahweh will judge his people,
    and have compassion on his servants,
when he sees that their power is gone;
    that there is no one remaining, shut up or left at large.
He will say, “Where are their gods,
    the rock in which they took refuge;
which ate the fat of their sacrifices,
    and drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise up and help you!
    Let them be your protection.

“See now that I myself am he.
    There is no god with me.
I kill and I make alive.
    I wound and I heal.
    There is no one who can deliver out of my hand.
For I lift up my hand to heaven and declare,
    as I live forever,
if I sharpen my glittering sword,
    my hand grasps it in judgment;
I will take vengeance on my adversaries,
    and will repay those who hate me.
I will make my arrows drunk with blood.
    My sword shall devour flesh with the blood of the slain and the captives,
    from the head of the leaders of the enemy.”

Rejoice, you nations, with his people,
    for he will avenge the blood of his servants.
    He will take vengeance on his adversaries,
    and will make atonement for his land and for his people.

Deuteronomy 32:1–43 (WEB)

Reflections on Moses’s Final Song

We are all moving through life toward the end of our physical existence.

As our life winds down, will our words overflow with hope or be driven by despair? What legacy will we leave behind, be it in written form or through the witness of a life lived well?

May we finish strong.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.