christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

deuteronomy 32:1-52, ha’azinu, “listen”

"Let My teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew; As raindrops on the tender herb, And as showers on the grass."

Deuteronomy 32:2

Read Deuteronomy 32:1-52 at Bible Gateway.

(Please see the teaching tools of scripture if you are unfamiliar with Hebrew paragraph divisions or chiastic structures.)

The Hebrew paragraph divisions for ha’azinu are:

Deu 32:1-43 {p} The song of Moses
Deu 32:44-47 {p} Conclusion of Moses’ explanation of this Torah
Deu 32:48-52 {p} Command to ascend Mt Nebo to view the land, then die

I cannot yet see how ha’azinu forms its own chiastic structure. I believe each of the paragraphs do form their own chiastic structures and am working them out. The one I was able to complete this year was Deu 32:48-52:

Deu 32:48-52 {p}
1a) Deu 32:48-49, View the land of Canaan which I give to the children of Israel;
1b) Deu 32:50, Die on the mountain and be gathered to your people;
1c) Deu 32:51a, You trespassed against Me among the children of Israel;
central axis) Deu 32:51b, At the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin;
2c) Deu 32:51c, You did not hallow Me in the midst of the children of Israel;
2b) Deu 32:52, You shall not go there;
2a) Deu 32:52, You shall see the land before you, the land which I am giving to the children of Israel.

Apparently what happened at the waters of Meribah Kadesh was so important that it served to prevent even Moses from entering the Promised Land. Let’s remember that Moses served God faithfully in all His house as a servant (Heb 3:5), so we need to pay attention to whatever it is that keeps God’s faithful servants from entering into the promise, lest the same thing happen to us! The history of Meribah Kadesh is told in Num 20; in fact, the Meribah Kadesh incident forms its own chiastic structure.

Now this incident always puzzled me. I thought it was hard of God, after Moses had served Him so faithfully for so many years without one mistake, for Him to prevent Moses from leading the people in based on this one mistake. But the chiastic structure reveals what is really going on (go look at it, it is fascinating). Moses’ bitterness and disobedience toward the children of Israel was motivated by unbelief, the LORD reveals (Num 20:12). Because Moses did not believe, he also cannot enter the Promised Land, just as the Israelites who died in the wilderness did not enter in because of unbelief (Heb 3:16-19).  God is not being harsh. He is prophetically preaching the gospel of grace uncompromisingly from Torah for our sakes (1 Cor 10:11).


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