God Addresses Moses and Joshua

Deuteronomy 31:14-23

God tells Moses to call Joshua forth, so that He may address him. The two stand before God at the tent of meeting, and He tells Moses that upon his death, the people will stray towards idolatry. God will punish them by hiding His presence, allowing evil to befall them. The people will say it is because God has abandoned them that such things have happened, but it is in fact their own behavior that has warranted God’s hiding. Therefore, God instructs Moses to write down a song which the people will learn, and which will serve as witness to the fact that their behavior determines their own fate. The Torah states that Moses records God’s song, which he teaches to the people. Then God finally turns to Joshua, reiterating Moses’s charge to be strong and courageous. He promises Joshua that He will remain with him as he leads the people into the Promised Land.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think God wanted Joshua present when he instructed Moses to record the song of warning?

Comments ( 10 )

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  • Damian Sco

    Moses was being punished for not talking to the ROCK but STRIKING it, twice!. That could have made Moses in the sight of the people a source not to be trusted since his integrity was in question. It was essential that the people had full faith that the words of this revelation be seen as originating with God and not Moses. If Joshua were not there at the time Moses was recording these words, then the people could once again say to Joshua…"Oh, you got that from Moses? The Moses that was not allowed into the Promised Land/ Why should we trust that those words were any good at all given the source".
    But now, Joshua also heard the Source of this song and with the Scepter of Authority already passed on to Joshua, then in Joshua's heart, there could be no doubt that the Source of this song was truly God, and not Moses. And the people would have to believe it as well. God was not taking any chances that Joshua could be seen as anything but God's next servant in both military leadership and in prophetic revelation. All that God could do to instill faith in these grumbling wicked people who had not learned even now to trust God was done! The rest was up to the people themselves!

  • Nadejda

    For me it is very interesting that the song is called "The song of Moses". It is not the song of God? But I saw that Moses was like God for the people. It is a very clear identification of Moses with God and vice versa. The same story is with the stick of Moses,or the stick of God. Moses text is full of identification. Joshua has not identified himself with God though he was present with Moses before God. Nobody is so great like Moses, except Messiah …he also probably will identify himself with God and God with him.
    It is a matter of truthfulness of the testimony. The testimony of God about the future of Israel was true, he has two witnesses: Moses and Joshua.

  • In this way Joshua is warned for any possible coming events. Hearing G-d speaking to the two of them at the same time affirms the authority of Joshua. Joshua could easily copy the same attitude of responsibility and humbleness in the presence of HaShem.Joshua was also encouraged that G-d will speak to him just as He did to Moshe. It was also a kind of comissioning of Joshua.

  • I think it was a prophetic song and since Yehoshua (Joshua) was to lead Israel in part of this future, he needed to have an idea of what it would be like by listening to this song.

    • We tend to listen and rehearse songs, it is easier than just words. By singing it goes deep into the soul. This was a wonderful way for Joshua to keep his eyes on HaShem.

  • Herman

    3 reasons:
    a. to ensure Moshe that even in dark times He is in controle
    b. to encourage Jehoshua that He will not fail him
    c. to show Jisraëel His presence at all times.

  • Linda

    As a witness,

  • Sheila

    I sense that the Lord was warning Joshua that even though His people would abandon Him again that He, the Lord would never leave or forsake him through the trials ahead. Joshua was to trust in the Lord alone who would fight on his behalf. The Lord knew what Joshua would face so in testing his faith commanded him to stand strong and courageous inhis convictions against fierce opposition as he brought the Israelites into the land of promise.

    • Hi Sheila,
      You make a very good point here, but did you know that the Bible does not record a single incident of the Israelites straying towards idolatry during Joshua’s time? This is highly unusual, as even during Moses’s lifetime the people committed idolatry. According to Jewish tradition, the Israelites’ loyalty to God during Joshua’s leadership was attributable to Moses’s merit.

      • I did not know that about Joshua's time of leadership. We need Joshua's leadership in America today with loyalty to HaShem and Isreal.

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