Israel Will Fall Away
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, [e]the time for you to die is near; call Joshua, and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the tent of meeting.15 The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood at the doorway of the tent. 16 The Lord said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will come upon them; so that they will say in that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?’ 18 But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.
19 “Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it [f]on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel. 20 For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become [g]prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. 21 Then it shall come about, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify before them as a witness (for it shall not be forgotten from the [h]lips of their descendants); for I know their intent which they are [i]developing today, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.” 22 So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the sons of Israel.
That had to be a sobering thought, to have God tell you that your people were going to turn against Him even before entering the Promised Land. But He wasn’t wrong, that’s for sure.
So God gave them a song, to remind them of who they belonged to, and so that when they had been punished, they would remember why. Rather than thinking God had deserted them, they would know it was His hand of correction as a result of their rebellion.
It reminds me of something that’s come up a lot lately, which is this idea that we think of struggles and storms and trials as something God just permits. It is easy to mistake the purpose of the storm, just praying that God will get us through. But often He makes the storm, and uses it to make us into who He wants us to be. He has a purpose in everything that happens, whether we like it or not. If we submit our life to His will, crap will happen, but seeds will be planted in that mess, and will grow into something better than we ever thought possible.