No Empty Word

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them.  Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel… When many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring). For I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give.’ So Moses wrote this song the same day… 

‘Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew…   The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice.   A God of faithfulness… is not he your father, who created you… and established you. Remember the days of old…   He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him…   He made him ride on the high places of the land, and he ate the produce of the field, and he suckled him with honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.   But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked;.. grew fat, stout, and sleek;   then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.’

“Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” Deuteronomy 31:16,19,21-22; 32:1-2,4,6,7,10,13,15,46-47


No empty word. Your very life. Is there anything else on earth that can live up to these claims? We may hear a powerful speech, or read a captivating article or passage from a book, but the word of the Lord that is fixed in the heavens and proves true, that was from the beginning and stands forever, that lights our path and pierces our souls, is unique and powerful. Other words may have a temporary or cursory effect on how we think or plot out our roadmap, but the word of God is life-altering, deeply satisfying spiritual food, the fluid in our veins by which we live. Moses’ song is intended, as part of God’s holy infallible word, to remind us of the importance of keeping it foremost as the safeguard against idolatry and rebellion, to stave off alien lovers. (Psalm 18:30; 119:89,105; Isaiah 40:8; John 1:1; Hebrews 4:12)


What will I do to give ear to God’s words, to receive them as dripping rain, to take them to heart so they become my pulse?

O God, may Your word dwell in me richly and have its way, that I might steadfastly live by it and not give in to the allure of the world. (Psalm 119:11; Colossians 3:16)

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