“…for I know their intent which they are developing today, before I have brought them into the land which I swore,” (31:21).
Moses’ time on earth is drawing to an end, and with every ounce of strength and fortitude within his aged body, he does all he can to prepare the nation. He informs them a new leader, Joshua, is to be commissioned; but they must go forth in faith, knowing in fact it is the Lord, their Faithful God, Who is the One Who will cross ahead and conquer their enemies.
It is the Lord your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the Lord has spoken… 6 Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. (31:3,6).
But the Lord Knew, although He had given all they needed to be victorious, He Knew Their Intent. He Knew Their Intent was developing, even while He was faithfully leading and providing. He Knew Their Intent and where it would ultimately lead.
The Lord said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will come upon them; so that they will say in that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?’ 18 But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods,” (31:16-18).
And although He Knew Their Intent, He continued to bestow His great grace on a stiff-necked and rebellious nation.
Consider Him Who Knew Their Intent
- He Knew Their Intent and still He goes with them.
- The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed, (31:8).
- He Knew Their Intent and still He gives His Word.
- Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. 13 Their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear the Lord your God… (31:12-13).
- He Knew Their Intent and still He commissions His leader.
- Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, the time for you to die is near; call Joshua, and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, that I may commission him,” (31:14).
- He Knew Their Intent and still He instructs them in truth.
- “Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel,” (31:19).
- He Knew Their Intent and still He guarantees their arrival to the Promised Land.
- Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you,” (31:23).
- He Knew Their Intent; they would provoke Him to anger.
- for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands, (31:29).
How do we respond to Him Who Knew Their Intent?
He Knew Their Intent, and He Knows Ours… and still…
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, (Romans 5:6-8).
Still He died for the ungodly. He Knew Our Intent and still He died while we were steeped in sin, stiff-necked and rebellious.
By His grace, when we, by faith, receive His gift of eternal salvation and trust and yield to His rule in our lives, we are made new, born again by His Holy Spirit.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come, (2 Corinthians 5:17).
By His grace, He has given us His Holy Word to test and reveal the true intent of our hearts.
The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
10 “I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind… (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart, (Hebrews 4:12).
Self-examination time… Let us spend time today examining our hearts, trusting God to expose the authenticity of our thoughts and intentions. Let us ask Him to reveal the intent of our hearts we are developing today.
“…for I know their intent which they are developing today…” (31:21).
Our time in His Word is meant to transform us.
… so that they may hear and learn and fear the Lord your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law, (31:12).
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:2).
Let us learn from Paul, who understood the intent of God’s Word. The hearing of God’s Word was never meant to simply be heard; God’s Word was always meant to bring about transformation in the lives of the hearers.
The hearing of God’s Word should lead to learning; learning should lead to fearing; and fearing should lead to transformed living, carefully observing His commands.
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead, (Philippians 3:8-11).
- Hearing His Word should lead to learning. Is it our intent to know Him more, to learn all we can of Him, no matter the cost?
- …in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ… 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings… (Philippians 3:8,10)
- Learning should lead to fearing. Is it our intent to reverence Him in holy fear, so transformed by His Word we grow to become like Him, even in His death?
- …the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; (Philippians 3:10).
- Fearing should strengthen our faith and lead to obedience. Is it our intent to so grow in our faith as to obey Him wholeheartedly, without question?
- and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, …11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead, (Philippians 3:9,11).
He Knew Their Intent and He Knows Ours. Is His Word having His perfect way in us?
Let us go before Him in humility and ask Him to reveal to us what He alone knows. And by the working of His Holy Spirit in us who believe, we would develop hearts to grow in our hearing, learning, fearing and obeying, intent on loving Him with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, (Matthew 22:37).