As we read Chapter 10, we should keep in mind that Moses is the only Israelite left who actually lived through the events he is detailing. Joshua, Caleb and Eleazar have been around awhile, yes, but no one surpasses Moses in the wisdom that is only gained through time. I was thinking about a past story from Genesis 24 where Abraham’s servant goes to find a wife for Isaac. The chapter is epically long because the same story is told twice, once from the writer’s point of view and the second from the servant’s own words, sort of. I don’t really know how to explain that. Just go back and give it a glance. Then apply it to the whole of Deuteronomy that we’ve read so far. Moses is writing in “his own words,” so to speak. We are all caught up with where the Israelites are and where they are going. And Moses isn’t going with them. He doesn’t have to remind the Israelites what it took to get them where they are today. But he does. And he warns them that there will be trouble and that they would do well to humble themselves and remember what hardships took place to get them to a land flowing with milk and honey. In present-day times, that would mean that houses already are built, gardens are planted and growing, crops are in full swing, figs are in season and bursting from the branches … get the picture? The Israelites have to do NOTHING to get everything. I mean, they have to fight their way into the land, yes, but they also know God is on their side in doing that. How quickly this blessing can turn into arrogance. We can see this attitude in today’s world, particularly by those of us who grew up in countries free from war or conflict. Even my generation can’t fathom the hardships of the ‘40s and ‘50s – the reasons our parents and grandparents tell us to pull up our britches and stop mumbling because we’ve got it pretty darn good – or even the ‘70s Vietnam era (I’m talking US peeps here because that’s what I am, and that’s all I got to compare to), which I lived through a little, but I still didn’t get the significance until my early 40s. Ironically, the revelations about that war only came after visiting the Vietnam War Museum in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. That was a bit off topic, but my point is, and I say it with a heavy heart while watching the US enter what looks like the brink of a civil war, that we need reminders like Moses’ to keep us in check. Unfortunately, history has been repeating itself since before the Israelites were called the Israelites. We are a stubborn people indeed.
Writing prompt: warning signs
As we read about past events, it’s easy for us to say, “How did they not see that???” But we can apply these very experiences to our lives today. We miss a lot. What are some “signs” around you that make you think something’s going to go awry but at the same time make you want to be a better earthling?