Read Deuteronomy 33
In Deuteronomy 32, Moses recorded a song as a statement of Israel’s fickle apostasy. In spite of countless ways in which God had lovingly invested in His people, they had turned their back on them. As a result, the Father brought judgment. Those were not pleasant memories . . . and not particularly encouraging words.
But now, as we approach the end of Deuteronomy, Moses was about to pass from the scene. While the people would enter the Promised Land, he would not. Soon they would part ways . . . Moses to cross into eternity and the Lord’s presence . . . Israel to cross a river into a land flowing with milk and honey. The harsh realities of chapter 32 were like a song in a minor chord. No one wants to end with that!
Thankfully, there is chapter 33. The bitter words of the song became the poetic words of blessing.
Blessing plays a critical role in Israel’s history. Isaac’s blessing of Jacob rather than Esau was central to the unfolding of God’s plan.(See Gen. 27.) Years later, just before his own death, Jacob spoke words of blessing to his twelve sons. (See Genesis 49.) And here, Moses paused to address the tribes, the descendants of the sons of Israel (Jacob).
The blessings passed along included prophetic words of what they could anticipate with regard to responsibility, provision, and blessing . . . much needed words after the harsh words of chapter 32.
Do the special people in your life hear both types of words from you? Do they hear clear (and gentle) words of admonishment, through which sin is identified and course correction is made? Meanwhile, are they also given assurance of the unconditional love that comes from the Father and is manifested through you? Do they hear words of hope and blessing that flow from your mouth?
Both admonishment and blessing are essential. Admonishment without blessing can cause those special people to conclude that they only do wrong. Blessing without admonishment coddles sin and minimizes the life transformation that God wants to bring.
Are your significant relationships characterized by both?