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Deuteronomy 31:19-22, 30; 32:1-9
[the LORD said:] 19 “Now write down this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them. 20 When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their ancestors, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. 21 And when many disasters and calamities come on them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.” 22 So Moses wrote down this song that day and taught it to the Israelites.
30 And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel:
32:1 Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.
3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.
They are corrupt and not his children;
to their shame they are a warped and crooked generation.
6 Is this the way you repay the Lord,
you foolish and unwise people?
Is he not your Father, your Creator,[a]
who made you and formed you?
7 Remember the days of old;
consider the generations long past.
Ask your father and he will tell you,
your elders, and they will explain to you.
8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
when he divided all mankind,
he set up boundaries for the peoples
according to the number of the sons of Israel.[b]
9 For the Lord’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted inheritance
When you have things to put in alphabetical order, do you sing the alphabet song in your head? Most children in this country learn the alphabet to a tune attributed to Mozart (same tune is used for “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Baa Baa, Black Sheep.”)
The simple tune helps children learn and remember the correct order for the letters. And so it pops up even when we as adults are putting something in order and having to start the alphabet from the middle. The song helps us learn and remember, and then sticks with us.
As Moses reached the end of his life, God told him that he would not cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. God appoints Joshua to lead the people and instructs both Moses and Joshua about how to teach and care for God’s people.
God also says that he knows that once the people are secure and comfortable in the Promised Land, they are going to forget their dependence on God, and accommodate themselves with local gods. In other words: they’re going to become secular.
But God gives Moses a song to teach the Israelites before he dies, so that they will remember the song and be reminded of who they are and whose they are. The song will stick in their heads and remind them of the truth.
I think Christmas carols do that, too. Even the people who don’t go to church sing these songs and are reminded that Christmas really isn’t all about Santa: there is something more.
Sing the songs! Sing ‘em loud! Even the silly ones! – they often have some hidden value and lesson. (and come to the Advent movie this Friday, December 13, for a new perspective on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”)
Below is Board 2 of the Christmas Carol Bingo game. Have fun.
— Pastor Dorothy