Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: When every need is taken care of, it’s easy for us to forget how much we need God. According to Nancy Leigh DeMoss . . .

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When we’re hungry our hearts are humbled. You see prosperity is more conducive to a spirit of pride and hunger is more conducive to a spirit of humility.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, September 12.

The National Anthem of the United States was conceived of during a battle. It’s not the only beloved song that was birthed during great adversity. Music has the ability to express joy and thankfulness, but it can also powerfully convey a sense of need.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss will explain how continuing in the series "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 5): Celebrating Victory."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re looking at the song of Moses in Deuteronomy chapter 32 and we’ve seen that this is one of three songs of Moses found in the Scripture. And I’m reminded of the power of music, of our hymns and songs and choruses, to remind us of the ways of God, to instruct us in His Word, to warn us when we need to be warned. We’ll see that happening in this song of Moses—and the value and potential of these songs to pass on truth, to pass on our faith from one generation to the next.

God had given this song to Moses and said, “Write this song down. Teach it to the Children of Israel so that in days to come when you’re not here, they will remember the words of this song and this song will be a witness against them if they fail to follow Me,” which God said, “They will forsake me.” They needed to remember this song at that time.

Haven’t you found it true as there are times when you are doubting the Lord when a song will be sung at church like “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and you find yourself just counseling your own heart according to the Word of God by means of those wonderful classic songs of our faith. Many of those have been a blessing I know to many of us.

So we’re looking at Deuteronomy chapter 32 and seeing that this song of Moses has several stanzas. And each one is a little different theme. We saw in the last session that the first stanza is about the name and the greatness and the character of God.

Verses 3 and 4:

I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! The rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

All those different phrases in verse 4 describe the Rock, the only Rock that is the stable, secure source for our trust. Now as we move onto verse 5 to the next stanza we see a description that is in utter contrast to what we just read about God. Look at verses 5 and 6.

They [speaking of God’s people], have dealt corruptly with him; they are no longer his children because they are blemished; they are a crooked and twisted generation. Do you thus repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father who created you, who made you and established you?

So here we read about the treachery and the rebellion of God’s people. Now keep in mind when Moses taught this song to the Children of Israel, they were not in rebellion at that time. But God said, “I know the day will come when they’re prosperous, they’re enjoying the land. They’re going to forget Me. They’re going to forsake Me. And then I want them to remember this song.”

So God wrote this song in anticipation of the day when His people would need this confrontation, this witness against them of their behavior. And you see how verses 5 and 6 are such a stark contrast to what we just read about God in the two previous verses?

  • God is a rock.
  • His work is perfect.
  • All His ways are justice.
  • He’s faithful.
  • He’s without iniquity.
  • He’s just.
  • He’s upright.
  • He’s permanent.
  • He’s unchanging.

And what do we read about God’s people?

  • They’re just the opposite.
  • They have dealt corruptly with Him.
  • They’re blemished.
  • They’re crooked.
  • They’re twisted.
  • They’re foolish.
  • They’re senseless.
  • They’re unreliable.

God is faithful; they are treacherous. God is holy; they are corrupt. God is just; they are twisted. Their choices are foolish, senseless. They’re irrational and unthinkable especially in the light that God created them and gave birth to them as a nation.

He says, “You’re foolish. You’re senseless. Is not he your father who created you who made you and established you? God the rock; He’s your Creator. He gave birth to you. Is it not unthinkable that you would act in the way that you’re acting?”

God challenges and confronts His people’s future, foolish, sinful behavior by means of this stanza. Now beginning in verse 7, verses 7–14, we have another stanza. I think the key phrase here is: “Remember the days of old.”

We won’t read that whole stanza. But Moses calls on God’s people through this stanza of this song to reflect on their history, to remember the goodness of God, the kindness of God, the sovereign hand of God on their behalf.

He rehearses how the Lord chose Israel, how the Lord protected and rescued and redeemed Israel out of Egypt which is there referred to as the wilderness, the howling wasteland. It was the place of Egypt from which God rescued and redeemed His people.

"And then remember," Moses says, "How God established you as a nation.  How God cared for you and kept you as the apple of His eye. You were prized to God. He valued you. You were sustained by God. You were provided for by God. He led you. He carried you. Remember the days of old. Remember where God found you. Remember what God has done for you. Remember who you are. Remember whose you are. Remember how you got into this Promised Land."

Isn’t it important for us at times to go back and just recall the days of old? Remember where you were when God found you—what pit and traps and corruption He rescued you out of when He redeemed your life from destruction.

Remember how God has nurtured your heart and your faith with His Word. And remember how God has brought His people around you and encouraged you and strengthened you in your faith. And remember how God has done miracles for you and He has provided for you. Remember, remember, remember.

We often fall into sinful and foolish and senseless choices because we forget. We're so focused in the here and now that we forget. So we use these songs, these hymns of our faith, to help us recall the days of old. "Redeemed how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Redeemed and so happy in Jesus. He child and forever I am."

Those kinds of songs help us to remember the days of old. Remember what He has done.

Think about who God is, verses 3 and 4. Think about all He has done for you, verses 7–14. Remember His tender care for you.

Now we come to the fourth stanza beginning in verse 15. And we see how in the midst of incredible blessing, Israel has abandoned her God. Israel has provoked God. Israel has forgotten God, verses 15–18.

Let me read beginning in verse 15. “Jeshurun,” that’s a Hebrew word that means literally “the upright one.” It’s actually kind of a play on words here because it’s talking about Israel who has proved to be anything but upright. God is the one who is upright and they were supposed to be upright like God. And so one of the names given to Israel is Jeshurun. In this case the upright one is not being upright at all.

Jeshurun [or Israel] grew fat and kicked; filled with food he became heavy and sleek (NIV). Then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation. They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger.

You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you [or “the rock,” some translations say, “that fathered you], and you forgot the God who gave you birth (vv. 15–18).

Now when did this happen to the Children of Israel back in verse 15? When they were filled with food they became fat. They became heavy. They became sleek, and then they forgot God.

That’s an important reminder for us. We have so much. We’ve been blessed far beyond our needs and far beyond even all our wants. We learn that prosperity, abundance, can actually become an enemy. It can be more difficult and dangerous a trial to face prosperity than even to face adversity because in adversity we’re pushed to our knees. We’re compelled to our knees. We know we need God.

But in times of prosperity, that’s when the natural bent of our flesh is to forget God. Times of prosperity are not conducive to being faithful to God. It’s in times of prosperity in our lives, in our families, in our workplaces, in our churches, in our finances, in our personal lives, in our ministries.

We’re in a broad place right now in our ministry. Now, we still have to trust the Lord for income, for provision. But God is blessing us. Stations are airing Revive Our Hearts and listeners are connecting. And I’m so grateful for many of the blessings of God. We have an incredible team of fellow servants who work with us. We are so blessed.

But I’m reminded as I meditate on this passage that there’s a danger when you eat of God’s blessings that you become full and fat and you forget God. Times of prosperity often and easily give rise to an independent spirit. Subconsciously we begin to think, I can make it. I can coast. I don’t have to be so desperately needy of God and His Word first thing in the morning. I can head off into my day and not fall on my knees and say, “Lord, I need You" because my day is going fine.

When we become independent in our spirit the next step is often going to be that we’ll become rebellious in our spirit. We forget God, and then we forsake Him. And then ultimately we find ourselves fighting against Him. It’s a slippery slope. It’s a treacherous progression. The Children of Israel experienced that.

That’s why God in His mercy sometimes orchestrates to bring adversity into our lives. In fact, we read in Deuteronomy 8:3 that God humbled you and He caused you to hunger. It’s God’s mercy sometimes to make us do without because when we have to do without we are bent; our hearts are moved to go to the Lord and say, “Lord, I need You. Please give me daily bread.”

Who cries out for daily bread as we’re taught to pray in the Lord’s Prayer when we have ten times more than we need in the cupboards? But when we’re hungry, our hearts are humbled. You see, prosperity is more conducive to a spirit of pride, and hunger is more conducive to a spirit of humility.

Now, that doesn't mean that you can't be prosperous and humble. It doesn't mean that if you are hungry that automatically you are going to be humble. There are some people who are hungry who end up putting their fist in God's face and being more proud. There are some people who have been blessed with properity and in the midst of it all continue to be grateful and humble. We need to see that the natural progression is, when we are filled, then our tendency is to forget God.

So as I have meditated on this passage and on other similar passages in God’s Word, I’ve asked the Lord not to give me any “blessings” that could ultimately end up turning my heart away from Him. Because to have those things if they turn my heart away from God, then those things would prove to be curses not blessings.

We think we know what we need. We know what we want. But isn't is wise for us to say, "Lord, here are my requests. Here are the things I think I need. Here are the things I think I want. But Lord, would You sift these prayers through the sieve of Your love and Your wisdom and Your providence, and would You determine what is best for me—what You know I really need. And Lord, please don't give me anything that I think I want, that I would consider a blessing, if as a result, my heart is going to be turned from You."

So the Children of Israel did forsake God. This is a prophetic hymn actually saying the days will come when they would forsake God. And then in verses 19–27, the fifth stanza of this song, we read about the consequences that were to come upon them when they forsook the Lord.

And we see here a description of divine chastening on God’s people. Verse 19:

The Lord saw it and spurned them, because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters. And he said, "I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.”

We read in verse 4 that God is a God of faithfulness. And He is our Father, so we are supposed to be faithful as He is faithful. But what is He saying here? They bear no resemblance to their Father. Their Father is faithful but they are children in whom is no faithfulness. They don’t look like their Father at all.

I will heap disasters upon them; I will spend my arrows on them.

This is a loving father chastening His children for their good and for their restoration because He wants to win back and woo back their hearts.

They shall be wasted with hunger, and devoured by plague and pestilence.

For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them. If they were wise, they would understand this; they would discern their latter end! (vv. 23, 24, 28). 

They would think about the consequences of what they’re doing. They would understand how ludicrous and foolish and unthinkable it is that they should treat their father, their rock, in this way.

We see in this passage that God is going to use all kinds of means including other pagan nations to discipline and chasten His people. But we also see in this song that those nations who were the instrument of God’s chastening in the lives of His children, those pagan nations would also be held accountable for their wickedness. And God would avenge His people ultimately by judging those nations.

That’s what we read in the sixth stanza beginning in verse 34. We read about judgment on God’s enemies. Verse 34:

Is not this laid up in store with me, sealed up in my treasuries? Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip. [That is these nations who’ve been the ones who have afflicted Israel.]

For the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly (vv. 34–35).

It seems at times that God overlooks human rebellion. These verses tell us it is only a matter of time. God has laid up in store, He has sealed up in His treasuries the ultimate vengeance that is due to those who reject Christ and who afflict His people. The day of their calamity is at hand. Their doom will come swiftly when it comes.

Verse 36, "For the Lord will vindicate his people." His people who have sinned, yes. His people who have been chastened. God will one day restore their hearts. He will bring them back to a place of faithfulness and obedience as His children. And then God will vindicate His people. He will have recompense on those who have afflicted His people.

He will have compassion on His servants, when he sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining bond or free.

"I will take vengeance on my adversaries and will repay those who hate me” (vv. 36, 41). 

And so in this song that Moses taught the Children of Israel to sing and to teach their children to sing there are these reminders of the judgment of God that those who hate God, those who are His unrepentant enemies will one day experience the vengeance and the wrath and the cataclysmic judgment of God. For God is a just and holy God, and those who defy Him will experience recompense.

Then we come to the final stanza, number seven in verse 43, the final stanza of this song, the conclusion that God will have compassion on His people and God will take vengeance on His unrepentant enemies. Verse 43:

Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people’s land.

A God of mercy and justice, a God of grace and truth, a God who is not to be trifled with. And the purpose of this song was to remind the Children of Israel for generations to come who their father was, what He had done for them, what He was like, and how serious a thing it was to forsake Him, but how intensely committed to their purification God was.

So verse 44 we read, “Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun.”

Now Moses who is at this point 120 years of age, he has led the people of Israel for the past forty years—he’s soon to die—joins together with Joshua who has been commissioned by God to be Moses’ successor. He’s about to take the baton and lead the people. And together Moses and Joshua join hearts and hands in calling the people to renew their covenant with God.

Let me read beginning in verse 45 of Deuteronomy 32:

And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, "Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you. [The things you’ve just heard, the things we have taught you, the things we have set to music.]

It is no empty word for you, but it is your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess (vv. 45–47).

Now we’re going to come back to this theme of the Word of the Lord and how it came to Israel. But I want you just in those verses to hear the sense of urgency and earnestness with which Moses speaks to this generation before Moses dies. Moses knows he doesn’t have long to live.

In fact, verse 48 the next verse tells us, "That very day the Lord spoke to Moses, 'Go up this mountain . . . view the land of Canaan . . . and die' (vv. 48–50).

So that’s imminent; that’s coming. And in chapter 33, the next chapter, Moses is going to give a final blessing to the people. Then in chapter 34 he goes up on the mountain as God has told him to do. He dies; he passes off the scene.

And the people will never again hear his voice. But he wants to make sure that while he has a voice left, while he can be heard, before he dies that he has earnestly called out to the people to obey the Word of the Lord. This is his final charge to the people.

“This is no empty word for you. This is your very life” (v. 47). He wants to be sure that the people will never be able to forget his words and that when they do forget the Lord as they will and suffer the consequences, they will never be able to say they were not warned.

And further, Moses wants to make sure that this message is indelibly imprinted on Joshua’s heart because Joshua is receiving the baton. He is going to be the leader. He is going to take the people into the Promised Land. Joshua is going to spend the rest of his life endeavoring to heed Moses’ words. We’re going to see that Joshua is a man who takes the Word of God very seriously. He’s going to warn and lead the people to do the same.

So as you stand in church next Sunday and sing the hymns or songs or choruses of our faith—hopefully they are rooted in God’s Word and God’s ways—will you think about what you are singing? As the Scripture is read will you think about what you’re hearing? Not just sing and speak and listen mindlessly or casually, but think. Take it in. Remember these are no empty words. This is your very life.

And Father we thank You for giving to us these words, this song of Moses and of Joshua. May we take it to heart, heed it, and find these words to be our very life today and for all of our lives. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie Basham: Songs of our faith are a true treasure. It’s easy to let them become so familiar that we forget how important they really are. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has made me want to revisit some of those hymns and songs with a fresh set of ears.

That message is part of a series called "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 5)."  It’s one of several series you’ll hear this fall from Nancy on this epic story of a man God used in powerful ways.

God wants to use you in powerful ways, too. Nancy's here to tell you about one opportunity God may want you to take.

Nancy: We have an amazing team that works really hard day in and day out to get Revive Our Hearts to you so you can listen each weekday. We also have a special group of listeners who support the ministry financially.

I’m so thankful for all the radio stations that partner with us to take this message into communities and homes across the United States. Keeping Revive Our Hearts on the radio on hundreds of stations requires a significant financial commitment.

The Revive Our Hearts monthly partner team plays a huge role in making sure we can bring the program to you.  Monthly partners are listeners just like you who appreciate the ministry, they've been blessed by it, they believe in the message, they see the Lord using it. But they don’t just want to listen, they don't want to be just consumers, they also want to be part of the ministry and help make it possible to reach into the lives of others.

So one of the most important things monthly partners do is pray for me and for this ministry. We send regular updates so they can know how to pray. And then monthly partners support this ministry financially each month. That gives us a source of regular, stable support that is really helpful in those seasons when donations can go up or down. And monthly partners are involved in telling other people about the ministry and the message of Revive Our Hearts.

There is plenty of room on the monthly partner team for you. In fact, we need many more listeners to become monthly partners. When you sign up as part of our partner team this month, we want to say thank you by sending you a copy of my book, The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus. 

In this book you’ll read thirty-two different devotions, each one focusing on a different name of Jesus. And you’ll enjoy the beautiful artwork of Timothy Botts, who conveys the meaning of these names in a wonderful visual way.

This is a special hardcover gift edition of The Wonder of His Name that has just been released. Get all the details on becoming a monthly partner by calling 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Imagine your church has had the same pastor for decades. When the Lord calls him home or takes him somewhere else, you can feel lost. We’ll look at that kind of situation on Monday when we continue in "Lessons from the Life of Joshua." Please be here for Revive our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Join the Discussion