This commandment that I’m commanding you today isn’t too much for you, it’s not out of your reach. It’s not on a high mountain—you don’t have to get mountaineers to climb the peak and bring it down to your level and explain it before you can live it. And it’s not across the ocean—you don’t have to send sailors out to get it, bring it back, and then explain it before you can live it. No. The word is right here and now—as near as the tongue in your mouth, as near as the heart in your chest. Just do it!
Look at what I’ve done for you today: I’ve placed in front of you
Life and Good
Death and Evil.
And I command you today: Love God, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess.
But I warn you: If you have a change of heart, refuse to listen obediently, and willfully go off to serve and worship other gods, you will most certainly die. You won’t last long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Moses went on and addressed these words to all Israel. He said, “I’m 120 years old today. I can’t get about as I used to. And God told me, ‘You’re not going to cross this Jordan River.’
“God, your God, will cross the river ahead of you and destroy the nations in your path so that you may dispossess them. (And Joshua will cross the river before you, as God said he would.) God will give the nations the same treatment he gave the kings of the Amorites, Sihon and Og, and their land; he’ll destroy them. God will hand the nations over to you, and you’ll treat them exactly as I have commanded you.
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”
Then Moses summoned Joshua. He said to him with all Israel watching, “Be strong. Take courage. You will enter the land with this people, this land that God promised their ancestors that he’d give them. You will make them the proud possessors of it. God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.”
Moses wrote out this Revelation and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the Chest of the Covenant of God, and to all the leaders of Israel. And he gave these orders: “At the end of every seven years, the Year-All-Debts-Are-Canceled, during the pilgrim Festival of Booths when everyone in Israel comes to appear in the Presence of God, your God, at the place he designates, read out this Revelation to all Israel, with everyone listening. Gather the people together—men, women, children, and the foreigners living among you—so they can listen well, so they may learn to live in holy awe before God, your God, and diligently keep everything in this Revelation. And do this so that their children, who don’t yet know all this, will also listen and learn to live in holy awe before God, your God, for as long as you live on the land that you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.”
God spoke to Moses: “You are about to die. So call Joshua. Meet me in the Tent of Meeting so that I can commission him.”
So Moses and Joshua went and stationed themselves in the Tent of Meeting. God appeared in the Tent in a Pillar of Cloud. The Cloud was near the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.
God spoke to Moses: “You’re about to die and be buried with your ancestors. You’ll no sooner be in the grave than this people will be up and whoring after the foreign gods of this country that they are entering. They will abandon me and violate my Covenant that I’ve made with them. I’ll get angry, oh so angry! I’ll walk off and leave them on their own, won’t so much as look back at them. Then many calamities and disasters will devastate them because they are defenseless. They’ll say, ‘Isn’t it because our God wasn’t here that all this evil has come upon us?’ But I’ll stay out of their lives, keep looking the other way because of all their evil: they took up with other gods!
“But for right now, copy down this song and teach the People of Israel to sing it by heart. They’ll have it then as my witness against them. When I bring them into the land that I promised to their ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey, and they eat and become full and get fat and then begin fooling around with other gods and worshiping them, and then things start falling apart, many terrible things happening, this song will be there with them as a witness to who they are and what went wrong. Their children won’t forget this song; they’ll be singing it. Don’t think I don’t know what they are already scheming to do, and they’re not even in the land yet, this land I promised them.”
So Moses wrote down this song that very day and taught it to the People of Israel.
Then God commanded Joshua son of Nun saying, “Be strong. Take courage. You will lead the People of Israel into the land I promised to give them. And I’ll be right there with you.”
After Moses had finished writing down the words of this Revelation in a book, right down to the last word, he ordered the Levites who were responsible for carrying the Chest of the Covenant of God, saying, “Take this Book of Revelation and place it alongside the Chest of the Covenant of God, your God. Keep it there as a witness.
“I know what rebels you are, how stubborn and willful you can be. Even today, while I’m still alive and present with you, you’re rebellious against God. How much worse when I’ve died! So gather the leaders of the tribes and the officials here. I have something I need to say directly to them with Heaven and Earth as witnesses. I know that after I die you’re going to make a mess of things, abandoning the way I commanded, inviting all kinds of evil consequences in the days ahead. You’re determined to do evil in defiance of God—I know you are—deliberately provoking his anger by what you do.”