Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Second Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:1 - 43

As Moses' life is drawing to a close, he gives this "Last Lecture" to Israel. He warns they will face stronger temptations in a time of peace and plenty than during times of struggle in the wilderness. It will be during the prosperous times that they will turn to idolatry and the worship of strange gods. As punishment, they will experience defeat and destruction through their enemies who in turn will face their own judgment from God for carrying out the punishment. There are no real winners here, yet the following chapter records a blessing from the dying Moses for Israel that expresses great hope and love.

A few years ago, a professor named Randy Pausch gave his "Last Lecture" at Carnegie Mellon University. This is a tradition at some institutions where a scholar of note gets a chance to sift through all his work and decide what matters most and then present it in lecture form to a university audience. This one was noteworthy beyond an academic audience because 46-year-old Dr. Pausch found out shortly before the lecture that he was dying. Someone recorded the lecture and it went viral from YouTube and ended up as a book. Dr. Pausch made multiple TV and media appearances before he died. The title of his lecture was "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" and it was based on a list that he had made at age 8.  The book is a touching and humorous account of his life from nerdy kid to innovative computer science professor. For all his achievements, his final conclusion was the importance of living life "the right way" with each decision and action. His motivation was the legacy that he would leave for his children.

The similarity of the words of these two men is interesting.  While there is nothing specifically spiritual in Dr. Pausch's book, both he and Moses speak of the joys and heartaches of life and how the decisions and choices that are made send waves across generations. If there's a handy cliche to end this post, I guess it's "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

1 comment:

  1. I am currently reading Numbers in my quest to read through the Bible in a year, and I have been struck by the love Moses had for the people of Israel and how many times he pleaded with God to spare their lives even as they were bad mouthing him and Aaron and calling for different leaders, and even when God Himself wanted to consume them with fire. That he would come to the end of his life continuing to love them and offering his blessing is difficult to fathom but very heart warming to read and such a great example for all of us