Checking the rear-view mirror
Deuteronomy is a collection of benedictions (good words) of Moses. Basically, his last lecture of the things he wants to ensure the people of God hear and heed.
He starts his sermon with a review of where God’s people had been. The Hebrew people had been here before. The last time they were at the doorway to the promised land, they proved themselves to be rebellious and despite the truth spoken by Caleb and Joshua, they refused to enter the land.
This event is the entry point for this current generation. It was their parents who were the decision makers in the rebellion. It was their parents who longed for Egypt.
But Moses words are addressed to “you” not to “them.” This generation is tied to the last. We inherit the sins of our parents and they shape us. But we have a choice in how they shape us. Do we choose to be limited by them. Do we choose to repeat the same patterns and repeat the same mistakes or do we choose to learn from them and rise above. But, in either situations, we aren’t to be in denial. When we shame and blame our parents and ancestors we delude ourselves into thinking we are not impacted by or have liability/baggage from their decisions. Moses does talk about them, he talks to you. The message is personal
But, while Moses addresses the “you”, he doesn’t romanticize the past or prompt this generation to have any desire to repeat the sins. The review is a clear look in the rearview mirror to keep that past behind them as they move forward.
This generation shouldn’t have any desire to repeat the past 40 years, but they should also understand that God has used that time to shape them and prepare them. Think about how it has shaped and prepared them. They had spent 38 years on an 11 day journey. For the past 40 years this generation has watched more than 80 of their parents and grandparents, on average, die every day, day after day. We learned in the Numbers 26 that over 600,000 men had died over the past 40 years. Assuming an equal number of men and women that is 1.2 Million people who have died. 1,200,000 divided by 40 years divided by 365 days = 82 deaths per day on average. This generation has grown up homeless, wandering from place to place with no land to call their own. They have moved their herds, but they have also lived always under the care of the Lord. God has provided their daily bread. God has gone before them and dwelt with them and protected them. They have seen the impact of sin and rebellion both in day-to-day life and in major events such as plagues and fire and even the earth opening up and swallowing families. They have also witnessed the blessings of being God’s chosen people.
God has used all of that to prepare them, train them and bring them to this place. But, through Moses words, he also reminds them that this generation is not immune to the heritage of the generation before. They are not to lose sight of the rebellion, but they are to keep it behind them.
What sins of prior generations are you trying to deny? What sins of prior generations do you wish to forget? Which attitudes of your parents are temptations to you as well? What hardships have you experienced in your life? Are you angry and wounded by those hardships and blaming them on others or can you look in the rear-view mirror and see how they have been used to training and teaching you how to walk with God?
in the wilderness east of the Jordan 11 days journey from Mt. Horeb (10 commandments) – that took them 38 years to travel
They had rebelled, they had turned away from God, They had been blessed, Because of unbelief they had wandered for 38 years, An entire generation had perished
Instructed the Israelites (I said…) Spoke with the Lord, Commanded the Israelites, saw Gods might, commissioned Joshua, was allowed to see the promised land but not enter it
was faithful, spoke to His people, Was with the people and Moses, Fought battles for them, defeated people for them, blessed the people, watched over their journey