Summary: The Word of God is the source of life, also giving length of days to those who walk by it.
“Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun. And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, ‘Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.’”
The Word of God has been given for the benefit of mankind. We are taught in the Word, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Therefore, the Word of God in its entirety is declared to be “profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness” [2 TIMOTHY 3:16]. It is not part of the Word for which we are responsible; it is the entire Word that we are responsible to obey. Moreover, it is only as we weigh the Word in its entirety that we have a complete picture of the mind of God. We must not imagine that we can select portions of the Word, holding them in isolation from all other parts of the Word, to formulate doctrine.
I am continually astonished by the precision with which God presses His rightful demand for obedience—obedience that is not always forthcoming even from His professed people. There is no question concerning God’s will for mankind—God calls us to righteousness and holiness. However, since the fall of our first parents, the race has continually attempted to excuse disobedience. Our excuses did not work then, and they do not work now.
In truth, a major reason for disobedience is widespread ignorance of the Word of God. Preachers are reluctant to provide sound Scriptural exposition and the people of God seldom read the Word of God. The Bible is the national best-seller that tops the list of books ignored. Nevertheless, God places responsibility on all people both to read the Word and to do all that He commands. One place where this truth is clearly presented is found in the fifth book of the Bible after Moses wrote and recited a song in the hearing of the people of God.
TAKE TO HEART ALL THE WORDS — Moses had written down the Law and given it to the priests. He had commanded them to read it in its entirety at the Feast of Booths every seventh year [see DEUTERONOMY31:9-13]. The purpose for this command was to ensure that all the people—including the children—were to learn to fear the LORD, having heard the Word of the LORD. Reading the Word, making it known, was to be a perpetual act among the worshippers of the True and Living God. In fact, the act of reading the Word of God was tied to the continued blessing of God as the people occupied the land He was giving them!
Moses was told that he would shortly die. This was not a surprise, because the LORD had informed him on multiple occasions that he would not be permitted to enter into the land of promise. Moses had been instructed to provide water for the people by speaking to the rock. Instead, he struck the rock, exposing his anger toward the people. As result of his disobedience, God debarred him from entering the land [see NUMBERS 20:10-13; DEUTERONOMY 1:37; 4:21, 22]. Moses’ punishment is iterated here as God reminds him that he must die outside of the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—he can see the land, but he will not enter the land.
Moses would be required to compose a song in anticipation of the apostasy of the nation. “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 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 devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods.
“Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel. For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant. And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring). For I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give” [DEUTERONOMY31:16-22].