And when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. … They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.(Deuteronomy 32:19-25)
We are looking at the Song of Moses, a panoramic prophecy of the future of the chosen people, from Moses’ day until the very last days. Though spoken in the past tense,”Prophetic perfect” tense, none of the specific things mentioned in the Song had yet happened to Israel. But subsequent history has verified that Israel has experienced all of this prophecy except the final resolution.
We come now to the fourth Stanza of the Song of Moses. How will Jahweh respond to his rebellious and backslidden people? How does He deal with the centuries of apostasy, faithless idolatry, the murdered prophets, and ultimately to the repudiation of the Messiah himself by the high priest standing as representative of the Nation?
Moses told Israel that He Would see it… This is important because sinful men over the centuries tell themselves that The LORD doesn’t see their abominations, especially when there is no apparent immediate punishment. But all of Israel was taught to sing this song, which assured them, that when the nation would defect, the Lord would see indeed every downward step along the way of their national apostasy.
History would reveal that the provocation to Divine wrath, would come only after much Holy forbearance, and long and repeated pleadings of the prophets, and after many repeated provocations in the very face of the LORD’s loving kindness. Indeed,
“The Lord is slow to anger and of great mercy…”.
But Moses taught the children of Israel to sing of the eventual abhorrence of JAHWEH for his sons and daughters. HE would temporarily reject the ones whom He had chosen, and drawn near to Himself, in such grace and Love.
…he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters…
Didn’t the Most High have the right to expect love, loyalty, and fear from the nation whom He had drawn to himself, loved, saved, chosen and taught, and revealed Himself to? These were His children in grace! As Isaiah would lament in the name of God;
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.(Isaiah 1:2-3)
The most devastating consequence to come upon Israel, would be the hiding of God’s face from them.
…And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith…(Deuteronomy 32:20)
The Divinely ordered High Priestly blessing that the LORD make His face to shine upon Israel, was a constant assurance of the Divine Favor of the Lord Himself upon His people. He was benevolently looking down upon them, He was concerned in all of their concerns, He could be refered to, sought, and consulted in all things.
But when the LORD hid his face, he turned away from Israel. He has (temporarily ) removed his favor, He cannot now be truly consulted by the nation, for there is no temple, or high priest, the LORD has hidden his face from them and it has been a long, painful nightmare for the nation.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.(Isaiah 59:2)
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.(Hosea 3:4-5)
The History of the Jews has born this sad prediction out, first of all in the calamity of the destruction of the temple, and the 70 years of captivity in Babylon that followed. The nightmare siege of Jerusalem was exactly as Moses had foretold, women eating their own children, people turning on each other, brass heavens, slavery and conquest by foreign powers, all because God had turned his face from them.
But that was only the warm-up for the final fulfillment of the “turning of the face of God” from Israel, when the temple was again destroyed* in 70 AD . The holy nation was either slaughtered wholesale, or glutting the world’s slave markets, and dispersed literally to the ends of the earth.
Everywhere there have been pockets of Jews. For nearly two thousand years, the nation has remained in a kind of living death, intact and yet unassimilable among the gentile nations they have tried to settle in. Jews are ever hounded and driven to and fro, they have been hated, abused, lied about and cheated and even murdered in pograms in most of the places they have been driven to.
Yet, wherever people have blessed them, those people have been blessed, but wherever people have cursed the exiled seed of Abraham, they have been cursed.
We know from the song of Moses and other places in Holy writ, that Israel’s long night of weeping and disfavor is almost over, the nation is destined to once again have the blessing of being the people whom God’s face shines upon, in favor and love. Hasten the day Oh Lord!
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves. Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.(Psalm 80:1-7)
* Ironically on the very same calendar day the 9th of Av, in both 530 BC and 70 AD!