Deuteronomy 33: 28 – 29
So Israel will live in safety;
Jacob will dwell secure
in a land of grain and new wine,
where the heavens drop dew.
29 Blessed are you, Israel!
Who is like you,
a people saved by the Lord?
He is your shield and helper
and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
and you will tread on their heights.”
A week of last words.
Some of you may well remember a British character actor called Irene Handl. She was blessed with brilliant comic timing, which not only brought her a lot of acting roles but also in her later years many slots on Radio 4 panel shows. I forget which one it was but on one she was asked with the rest of the panellists what she hoped her last words might be. Alan Coren came up with “I warned you that either that wallpaper goes or I do”. Handl on the other hand was not so certain.. She said she didn’t really care what her last words were to be so long as they weren’t “Why is that idiot indicating right?”.
According to the last 28 verses of this chapter Moses had actually a lot to say in the way of last words as he Blessed each of the twelve tribes by name.
There is another version not recorded in Deuteronomy of his last words. Moses called his acolyte Joshua into his tent as he lay dying. Moses as we know had a stutter not helped by his aged infirmity. He raised himself up and said “Joshua lead our p p people to the promised land of Ca Ca Ca…” out of breath he slumped back but Joshua rose up saying “Yes my Lord I will lead them into Canaan” and left the tent just as Moses regained enough breath to gasp “No no you fool Ca Ca California”.
Moses wanted what was best for all the tribes and the whole nation of Israel he foresaw not a nation without a home but a strong and powerful state that would more than hold its own in the World. The land would be bountiful and from that they could grow. But even more important than that physical base was the spiritual base they would have in God who had provided for them. Moses knew he would not live long enough to see them settled in the land of grain and new wine but he knew they were in good hands.
The hands of God who would protect them from their enemies and ensure they prospered, the God that had guided him from the desert sheep pastures to Pharoah’s palace through the plagues and the Red Sea and brought them safe through forty years of wandering. Moses knew nothing now could stop his nation, God’s chosen people fulfilling their destiny. And so he could die content that he had done the job God had ordained for him.
Lord God our loving Father in Heaven, you have had plans for us since before we were born, have we done your work? If not show us how we might accomplish it, and if we have may we feel your pleasure in what we achieved for you.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,