The Rise and Fall of a Great Nation

When Israel was about to enter the promised land of Canaan, God told Moses in advance what the people would do upon entering their new homeland. He instructed Moses to write it down as a lesson for future generations.

“Now therefore, write down this song…and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey…and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me…”
Deuteronomy 31:19-20

Moses did as instructed. He addressed Israel, and in fact the whole world. He began by describing God and his ways as perfect, righteous, and just. Moses referred to God as ‘the’ Rock.

“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth…For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.”
Deuteronomy 32:1-4

Moses then proceeded to describe Israel’s predicted conduct upon entering Canaan.

“They have corrupted themselves; they are not His children, Because of their blemish: A perverse and crooked generation. Do you thus deal with the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?”
Deuteronomy 32:5-6

Moses asks Israel if their forsaking God is the appropriate repayment for what God has done for them by delivering them from the bondage of slavery in Egypt and sustaining them in the wilderness for 40 years. Then he admonishes them to remember the past and apply those lessons to the future.

“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you…He found him (Jacob, or Israel) in a desert land…He kept him as the apple of His eye, He made him ride in the heights of the earth, that he might eat the produce of the fields; He made him draw honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock…”
Deuteronomy 32:7-14

Moses describes how God cherished and provided for Israel over previous generations. He took Israel from nothing and caused him to “ride in the heights of the earth.” He miraculously provided for him through the years.

How did Israel respond?

“But Jeshurun (a Hebrew term for upright, a satirical reference to Israel) grew fat and kicked; ‘you grew fat, you grew thick, you are obese!’ Then he forsook God who made him, and scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”
Deuteronomy 32:15

Israel believed they had attained their own greatness and wealth. They gave God little or no credit for their good fortune. They highhandedly slighted the importance of God as the source of their status and actually forsook Him. The degradation continued.

“They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger…to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals…”
Deuteronomy 32:16-17

So not only did Israel ignore God, they replaced Him with new gods of their own design for their own convenience.

“Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you.”
Deuteronomy 32:18

Therefore, what was God’s response when Israel pushed Him aside?

“And when the LORD saw it, He spurned them…and He said: ‘I will hide My face from them…for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faith. They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God. They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols.’”
Deuteronomy 32:10-21

Remember that God’s primary attribute is His justness. All disobedience brings consequences. Because of God’s very nature He cannot and will not share His glory as outlined in the first commandment.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Exodus 20:3

God then outlined His required action against Israel.

“I will heap disasters on them…For they are a nation void of counsel, nor is there any understanding in them. Oh, that they were wise…that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!”
Deuteronomy 32:23, 28-29

“For the LORD will judge His people…He will say: ‘Where are their gods, their rock in which they sought refuge? …Let them rise and help you, and be your refuge.’”
Deuteronomy 32:36-38

God taunts Israel. He tells them that while they think they are wise, they are in fact foolish. Then He tells them to rely on their own conceived gods to deliver them in time of trouble. Notice that God refers to Israel’s false sense of security as their ‘rock’ instead of the ‘Rock.’ Then He reminds them of His sovereignty and majesty.

“Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me…nor is there any who can deliver from My hand…I will render vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me.”
Deuteronomy 32:39, 41

The Apostle Paul in the New Testament reminds the church that all that happened to Israel were to be examples for the church age.

“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition (instruction), upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

I Corinthians 10:11-12

Therefore, if in the above scripture passages taken from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy we replaced any reference to ‘Israel’ with ‘America’ it would be interesting to note if any similarities are found. We could then see if any changes in direction are warranted.

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