Were they able to see the blessing in the manna they received every day,
even though they grumbled about it from time to time along the way?
Did they ever reflect on and talk about the times God sent water from a rock just when they thought they would die of thirst?
And most of all, did they ever look back on their forty-year journey and realize how amazing it was to actually hear God’s voice coming from a cloud or fire?
Things will soon be changing for this group of people.
God will soon begin speaking directly to prophets.
His voice will no longer thunder from the sky as it did in those wilderness days.
So Moses spends his final moments on earth reminding the Israelites not of the wealth or power or riches that will come from being God’s chosen people, but of the gift of receiving words directly from the Creator of heaven and earth.
Over and over again, He says,
“Do not forget the Lord your God by failing to keep His Words.”
Basically, Moses is saying,
“The minute you stop obeying His words, you will begin to forget Him and His power.”
Moses knew what I need to be reminded of today.
God’s words matter,
and as I read and reflect on His Word,
I realize my words matter too.
I’m thinking of Proverbs 18:21 which says,
“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue.”
Just as Moses pleaded with the people to remember all the words they had heard from God so that they would not forget Him,
I believe God pleads with us to think about the words we choose to use so we will not forget Him either.
Deuteronomy 11:26-29 says,
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—
the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today;
the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God
and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods,
which you have not known.
When the Lord your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess,
you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses.
Moses makes it clear.
In the Promised Land, they will have the power to declare both blessings and curses.
God places the power of words in the tongues of His people.
We don’t have to read far in the book of James to learn that this power is still with us today,
but the battle is no less difficult than the ones the Israelites will soon face as they cross the Jordan.
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
God spoke the world into existence,
led the Israelites through the wilderness,
and announced the coming of His Son.
Jesus defeated the devil in his own wilderness experience with the proclamation,
“Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
Revelation 12:11 says,
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
From Genesis to Revelation,
words had power.
And I believe they still do today.
Yes, there’s power in the blood.
But I believe there’s power in our words too.
Jesus did the first part.
The second part is up to us.
Maybe that’s where our power rests.
In our tongues.