What does it say?
Moses’ song (Deu 32) is really introduced in the preceding chapter’s final verse. This is a literary gem set in a lawsuit motif; God bringing his indictment against Israel. A narrative section follows emphasizing the seriousness of the poem’s content and also gives instructions about Moses’ impending death.
In one of his last acts (Deu 33), Moses pronounces blessings on the 12 tribes. The blessings are mostly prophetic, many are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, while others await fulfillment in the Second Coming.
Moses’ death and epitaph is the focus of a very brief chapter (Deu 34). Moses is the human author of the five books of the Law, so it is clear that an unnamed editor, possibly Joshua, adds these words after his death.
Psalm 91 is inserted into our Bible reading plan as we conclude reading the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. No one knows who wrote this psalm, but Jewish tradition assigns an unnamed psalm to the known writer before it. Since we do know that Moses wrote Psalm 90, he’s a good guess to be the author of Psalm 91.
What does it mean?
One cannot ignore the importance that Moses assigns to his song or its literary quality. Even Moses’s blessing on the tribes is poetic in nature and of the highest quality. Psalm 91 is perhaps also by Moses.
To analyze the various prophetic elements of this rich reading is beyond a daily devotional. What we can do is appreciate the beauty and creativity God gives to his creatures. Some estimate that as much as half of the Old Testament is in some type of poetic genre other than simple prose.
For 1,500 years the majority of believers were illiterate, and virtually no one carried around a personal copy of the Bible until well after the printing press was invented. People learned scriptures through public reading, poetry, art, music, architecture, drama and other creative forms of communications. Most people did not read the word; they heard (and saw) the word. Today, even Western culture is fast becoming more oral in nature. Thank God for personal access to the Bible, but perhaps it’s time to again promote teaching God’s words in the many genres available.
How will I respond?
Today I thank God for the privilege of having a personal copy of the Bible to read and study. I will resolve to appreciate more the many ways to communicate God’s words. Whom can I encourage and thank today for their efforts to communicate God’s truth in creative and beautiful forms?