Last week, in Parasha Nitzavim–Vayelech, Moses transferred the mantle of leadership to Joshua. It would be Joshua who would cross the Jordan River with the Israelites and lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land.
This week’s Torah reading, Ha’azinu, which may be translated as give ear, meaning listen attentively, consists primarily of the 70-line Song of Moses, which is both a love song to God and a chastisement of the people.
In this song filled with poetry, prose and metaphor, Moses recounts the blessings that God has bestowed upon the people and the wicked deeds they have committed, as well as God’s just response to those deeds.
“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 32:3–4)
In this Parasha, Moses is making his final address to the nation.
Moses asks, not only for the attention of the people of Israel, but of all creation.
At the conclusion of the Parasha, after Moses finishes this address, God tells him to climb Mount Nebo. From this height he will only view the Promised Land. The Lord will not allow him to enter it because he failed to uphold the holiness of God in front of the entire nation of Israel. (Numbers 20:6–12)
“Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 32:52)
Moses died in Moab on the mountain.
Eternal Victory through Worship
Nearing the end of his earthly life, Moses delivers his final message as a “melodic farewell.”
This seems an odd time for Moses to be singing. After all, practically the entire generation that he brought out of Egypt lay dead—their bodies buried throughout the wilderness, and Moses, himself, stands ready to die, as well.
Nevertheless, in his lyrics, we see evidence of the spiritual greatness of this leader of Israel. The same personal tragedies and hardships that Moses experienced would likely have broken the spirit of a lesser man, but they have caused Moses to reach even greater spiritual heights.
Moses sings despite his impending death. Despite the fact that he failed to achieve his life’s goal of entering the Promised Land, Moses still sings. Likewise, we may also refuse to succumb to despair over the trials of life through the ministry of song.
“Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” (Psalm 33:1–3)
The Hebrew word for sing is shar (שר), and it is related to the Hebrew word for minister or serve—sharet (שרת).
When we go through a time of weakness and don’t even know how we can serve the Lord in our condition, we can still minister to Adonai through praising, singing and making music to Him.
Throughout Scripture, many Hebrew words and phrases contain secret and additional deeper meanings. We can discover the power of praise and worship music by using this method of investigation.
Many of the Psalms (called Tehillim in Hebrew) are addressed, “To the Chief Musician.” In Hebrew, the chief musician is called a menatzeach (מנצח). The root of this word is netzach (נצח), which means eternity.
Even more marvelous is that the Hebrew word for victory is nitzachon (נצחון), which comes from the very same Hebrew root!
As worshipers of the one, true God, when we minister to Adonai with music and song, we touch the eternal realm and from this heavenly place, we receive the victory. Hallelu–Yah! (Praise God!)
“Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Messiah, and reveals through us the sweet aroma of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
We can overcome the temptation to wallow in discouragement when we fail to reach our goals or when things don’t seem to go our way, by singing the praises to the Lord instead. In doing this, we will walk in triumph in Yeshua (Jesus).
Some Believers in Yeshua may be under the impression that Moses, as part of the “Old Testament” is not really relevant to their faith; however, in the Book of Revelation, we read that Moses continues to be relevant and will continue to be.
In the end of the final battle with evil, those who have been victorious over the beast and its image will hold harps and sing the Song of Moses.
“I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:” (Revelation 15:1–3)
God’s Goodness and Blessings
Moses’ song in this Parasha also acts as a witness to a rebellious people by reminding them of the days of old and of the goodness of God toward the children of Israel.
“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.” (Deuteronomy 32:7)
God found Israel in a desert land and made them into a nation. He chose them as His very own people, guarded them as the apple of His eye, and gave them a land flowing with milk and honey.