The Second Song of Moses

Peter Barnes: Deuteronomy 31:30-32:22, 23-47 (19 January 2020)


The first song of Moses is a song of triumph and reveling in God’s preservation of His people (Ex.15:1, 18). The second song, in Deuteronomy 32, is largely a warning to Israel.

1. God is the sovereign Rock.

– 32:1-2. His word is like gentle rain upon the tender grass.

– 32:3-4. Five times God is referred to as ‘the Rock’ (32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31). The gods of Egypt or Canaan or anywhere else are counterfeit gods or rocks (32:31, 37). ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me,/ Let me hide myself in Thee’ (Augustus Toplady).

2. God judges those who rebel against Him.

– 32:5-9, 10-14; yet Israel responded as the natural man does – 32:15-18. God is being sarcastic – Jeshurun means ‘the upright one’, but Israel has become fat and complacent, rebellious, and idolatrous.

Idolatry always goes with a terrible and deeply rooted evil – 32:31-32. It will all come to great grief – 32:35 (the text for Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’).

– 32:39-43; Matt.4:17. The good news is not soothing news.

3. There is hope for those who take this word to heart.

– 32:26-27. See Deut.9:4-5 and Ezek.20:13-14, 22.

– 32:44-47; empty or ‘very life’? Calvin: ‘Now let us fall down before the majesty of our good God, praying him to make us feel our faults and offences more and more’. Then he prayed for forgiveness and cleansing, ‘That it may please him to grant this grace not only to us, but also to all people and nations of the earth.’