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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 32

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-52

Chapter 32

So this is the song that Moses taught the children of Israel. And incidentally it was the first hit rock song. It is a song about the Rock.

Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the rock, His work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment, a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He ( Deuteronomy 32:3-4 ).

So the song begins with a declaration of God as our Rock, of His works, His ways, His judgments, His truths, His righteousness. But the people

They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of His children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he your father that hath bought you? hath he not made thee, and established thee? Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask your father, and he will show you; the elders, and they will tell you. When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD'S portion is his people ( Deuteronomy 32:5-9 );

Then in verse eleven, a beautiful figure.

As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings: so the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him ( Deuteronomy 32:11-12 ).

And so the beautiful figure of God as an eagle: "As an eagle stirreth up the nest". Now actually the description here is of a mother eagle teaching the little eaglets how to fly. And how does the mother eagle teach the little eaglets how to fly? By kicking them out of the nest. Now the little eaglets are very comfortable in the nest. And the nests were usually high up on the sides of the cliffs. But the mother eagle will kick the little eaglets out of the nest when the time has come to learn how to fly. And the little eaglet will start flapping its wings uncoordinated and all, and start falling as it's flapping and just start falling on down. And the mother eaglet is fluttering over it but then it swoops, just about the time it gets to the rocks, it swoops underneath the little eaglet and it catches it on its wings and it bears it back up to the nest until the next lesson. Now that may seem like a pretty harsh way to teach an eaglet how to fly, but there is no other way to teach it. And it has got to learn how to fly.

Now the picture really is of God in developing us in our walk and relationship with Him. It is very easy for us to get comfortable sometimes in a particular position, in a particular place, under particular circumstances. And suddenly God begins to stir up the nest. We thought we had great job security, but we find we have been terminated. "God, what are you doing?" He's teaching you how to fly. And sometimes in your awkwardness you look down and you're flapping around and you're screaming. And the little eaglets, they really scream as they're going down, and you see the rocks coming up so fast, and you think, "Sure. I'm going to be dashed. This is the end. It's all over. God, you've forsaken me." Then God just sorta swoops underneath, picks you up, and all of a sudden you begin to see the plan of God emerging.

I was talking to a man the other day. We went to lunch together. He's the president of a large corporation here in Orange County. Three years ago he was fired from Thrifty's Drug store after working for them for thirteen years. He was a manager of one of their stores. And he had received threats upon his life and upon his family and so he asked Thrifty's to transfer him from that store and they refused to do it. And he said, "Well, either transfer me or fire me". And so they fired him after thirteen years. And he said, "Lord, what's going to happen to me now? Lord, what's going on? And he was flapping and screaming. But he went to work as a salesman for this corporation and he was blessed. He soon became the sales manager in a few months time, and when the owners decided to sell the corporation, he was then in a position to buy it. And he now is the owner and president of this large corporation.

Now you see that's what God had in mind for all the time. But as long as he had his job security and was working for Thrifty, he was not looking for a job. Now God had this position for him, but how is God ever going to get him to this position? The only way is to stir up the nest, to get him fired from his job at Thriftys. "Now I'm fired. What am I going to do? Well, I'm going to look for a job." All right, now you're in a position where God can lead you because you're out looking. You see we get locked into situations. So often when we get locked in we get comfortable and we're not really looking for what God might have for us, because we're very comfortable in this position. So God stirs up the nest. And we think, "Oh, I'm surely going to perish, no hope". Then God spreads forth His wings, bears you up, and thus we grow, thus we learn to trust in the Lord and to rely on the Lord as we are gaining strength and learning more and more how to fly.

And so that beautiful picture of the eagle, stirring up her nest, fluttering over her young, spreading abroad her wings, taking them and bearing them on her wings. So the Lord alone did lead him so that there was no strange god within him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; but they lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation.

But Jeshurun, (which is Israel,) waxed fat, they kicked: they waxen fat, they've grown thick, they're covered with fatness; so they forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God ( Deuteronomy 32:15-17 );

Now Paul tells us that they who sacrifice to idols are actually sacrificing to devils. There was a common belief that a demon actually inhabited the idols of these gods. And that is very possibly true, I wouldn't doubt it at all. And many of these idols of little pagan gods actually have demons that are associated with them. So they that were sacrificing to these idols were actually sacrificing unto devils which shows the idiocy of saying concerning a person involved in a false religious system. "Well, he is so sincere in the worship of his god surely God will, you know, accept him and save him. He is sincerely worshipping the devil, so God should reward him."

Now of the Rock that had begotten them, they were not mindful, they had forsaken God that formed him ( Deuteronomy 32:18 ).

And so this song, is quite a song of Moses. I'm amazed that the people were able to learn it. And so God tells them that because they had provoked His anger by the worship of these other gods that He

will heap mischiefs upon them; Thy shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction ( Deuteronomy 32:23-24 ):

I personally feel that this is a prophecy of the holocaust in Germany. And the being burned in the ovens in Germany was predicted in this song. And when their trouble came they were to sing this song, and if they would, it was to remind them of why the calamities befell them.

Now so often today you talk to a Jew and you find he is an atheist because he will say, "Where was God when my parents or grandparents were burned in the ovens in Germany?" If they would have kept this song and sung this song, they would know why all the calamities befell them because they had forsaken God, and thus they had been forsaken by God.

And so God tells of the

scattering to the corners of the earth; make the remembrance to cease. O that they were wise, (says God) that they understood this, that they would consider what is the end result ( Deuteronomy 32:26 , Deuteronomy 32:29 ).

Oh, how God wants you to be wise and to look ahead and to see what the end result is of the lifestyle you've chosen. God's crying. He's crying over man's ignorance, over man's folly. Oh, that they did know; only if they would look ahead and see what the end result of what that lifestyle is.

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them and the Lord had shut them in ( Deuteronomy 32:30 )?

How could these happen unless God was with you? You forget to see, you forget to look that it was God's hand that did it for you, for the enemies rock is not as our Rock.

For their vine is the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: their wine is the poison of dragons and all ( Deuteronomy 32:32-33 ).

Now God said,

To me belongs vengeance, (verse thirty-five) and recompense; Their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste ( Deuteronomy 32:35 ).

That is the text that Jonathan Edwards used for his sermon, Sinners in the hands of an angry God. "Now unto me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste." Jonathan Edwards in the sermon Sinners in the hand of an angry God, said, "That a sinner is like a man walking over a fiery pit on a icy plank. Your footing is so unsure at any moment you can slip into the abyss."

It was a very powerful sermon, one of the most classic sermons in the history of the church, I guess. Jonathan Edwards was nearsighted; he had written out the sermon and he read it holding it up close so that he could see it. And as he was reading this sermon to the congregation, the power of the Holy Spirit began to convict people so greatly that they began to crawl down the aisle, screaming out to God for mercy. You want to read something really chilling sometime read "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" by Jonathan Edwards. Oh, what a servant. It's really heavy duty. This is the text for that sermon.

For the LORD shall judge His people, and repeat Himself for His servants, when He sees that their power is gone, and there is none left. And He shall say, Where are their gods, the rock in whom you were trusting. Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection. See now that I am He, and there is no god with me (or beside Me): I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that deliver out of my hand ( Deuteronomy 32:36-39 ).

Some people say, "Does God make people sick?" Well, He said here that He does for purposes, different purposes within our lives. God says that He wounds, that He even kills, that He heals; that He makes alive. There are certain teachers today who would deny this, but there it is.

For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with their blood ( Deuteronomy 32:40-42 ),

And so forth. And God goes on to tell of the calamities that will come, the song they are to sing, so that when the calamities did come they would remember this is the reason.

So, set your hearts to all the words which I testify among you today, (verse forty-six), which you shall command you to observe the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life ( Deuteronomy 32:46-47 )

Man, set your heart to it. Look, it is not an empty thing; it's your life. This is a matter of life and death. It isn't just something to just pass off lightly. God is saying, "it's your life, not a vain thing".

Now the Lord said to Moses, get up to mount Nebo which is in the land of Moab, which is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession: And die in the mount where you go up, and you will be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron your brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people. Because you trespassed against me at the waters of Meribah, because you did not sanctify me in the midst of the children of Israel ( Deuteronomy 32:48-51 ).

So, Moses' time has come; "get up onto the mountain and die because you failed to properly represent me before the people at the waters of Meribah". Oh, what a heavy responsibility Moses had of being God's representative. His failure at the waters of Meribah cost him the privilege of leading them into the Promised Land. What a heavy responsibility each of us have, for we are God's representative to that world out there. You're His witnesses, you're God's representatives and God wants you to properly represent Him. An awesome responsibility. God help us.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 32". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/deuteronomy-32.html. 2014.
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