The Lord’s Judgment on Israel

Pioneers were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons, and progress was slow. One day they were horrified to see a long line of smoke in the west, and soon the dried grass … More

Judgment

Keep in mind that when Moses composes this song, Israel is not yet in the promised land. It is prophetic as it is intended to challenge them to godliness. It shows how prosperity is more dangerous than adversity (v. 15). In adverse circumstances a believer is reminded of how desperate he is for God’s help, but in times of prosperity he may easily forget God.

This song predicts the coming judgment on Israel because of their apostasy (vv. 18-21). God saw Israel’s sin of idol worship and rejected it. There were two results of this rejection: first God would withdraw his favor from Israel; and second, He would chasten them according to His promises. He will use hunger, pestilence, wild beasts, poisonous serpents and war to carry out this destruction (vv. 22-28). The devastation will be so great that Israel would almost be annihilated (v. 26). Furthermore He says he will scatter them to the four corners of the earth. This means that He will remove them from the place He has given them. The enemies who bring God’s judgment on Israel were as evil as Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 32). This points out the depth of evil into which Israel had fallen.

Application

This is a warning to me as to how easy it is to forget God during times of prosperity. This is really what has happened in America during the last several years and now as a nation we are far from God.

Deuteronomy 32:15-33 (English Standard Version)

"But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation. They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger. They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded. You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth. "The LORD saw it and spurned them, because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters. And he said, 'I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled by my anger, and it burns to the depths of Sheol, devours the earth and its increase, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains. "'And I will heap disasters upon them; I will spend my arrows on them; they shall be wasted with hunger, and devoured by plague and poisonous pestilence; I will send the teeth of beasts against them, with the venom of things that crawl in the dust. Outdoors the sword shall bereave, and indoors terror, for young man and woman alike, the nursing child with the man of gray hairs. I would have said, "I will cut them to pieces; I will wipe them from human memory," had I not feared provocation by the enemy, lest their adversaries should misunderstand, lest they should say, "Our hand is triumphant, it was not the LORD who did all this."' "For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them. If they were wise, they would understand this; they would discern their latter end! How could one have chased a thousand, and two have put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had given them up? For their rock is not as our Rock; our enemies are by themselves. For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of poison; their clusters are bitter; their wine is the poison of serpents and the cruel venom of asps."

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