This chapter is composed mostly of the song that Moses sings over the people of Israel, and teaches them to sing and pass down to their children, which declares the prophecy of God in song. It’s beautiful and epic, but also tragic. And much of it is as true today as it was then. This is not only how God has worked in Israel’s history, but represents how God works in individual’s lives as well.
He rescues us from slavery to sin and provides a time of utter dependence on Him to teach us to follow Him closely. He brings us in to a place of great blessing and promises to provide for us abundantly in that place as we follow Him. We inevitably fail to keep our covenant with Him, leading to many trials, devastation, and destruction in our lives. And when we come to the end of ourselves and realize what we have brought upon ourselves, we cry out to Him for mercy. And He once again rescues us. His mercy and grace are truly beyond our understanding.
Yet we don’t have to continue in this pattern of failure and rescue; we don’t have to endure the disastrous consequences of turning away from God and depending on our own wisdom and ability. We can choose to follow God, to keep short accounts by allowing the Holy Spirit to point out sin in our life and repenting of it, rather than making excuses and allowing it to grow.
Both as individuals and as a nation, we can turn our hearts back toward God, seek His mercy and pray for His restoration. We have much to repent of as a nation. Like Israel, even from our inception, we have failed to completely live up to the revelations that God gave our founders. Like the leaders of Israel, they were flawed human beings who received a truth from God: that all mankind is created equal by God and deserves equal treatment. Before our nation, there was no nation founded on that ideal. Many nations believed they were superior to others. They often had an overt goal to dominate and subjugate other nations for the benefit of their own. That history played out dozens of times on every continent except Antarctica. And many continue with that mindset today.
The founders of the United States of America, however, desired for our nation to be founded on a principle of equality. Many, if not all, of them failed to grasp the full breadth of that truth. They didn’t apply the truth to indigenous people, women, or people of color. But even proclaiming it was a step in the right direction.
Like the children of Israel who went into exile, came to the end of themselves, and realized their need to cry out to God, we need to cry out to God on behalf of our country. We need to repent of all the ways we as individuals, and as a nation, have failed to live up to God’s commands. We need to trust that God is faithful to forgive and to restore when we earnestly seek Him.