Nothing gave more hope to high-school-aged me than Valentine’s Day.
I would daydream through scenario after scenario, each one involving a Secret Admirer making himself known to me – with a flower, a card, a stuffed animal.
But what I really wanted wasn’t a gift, but the knowledge that someone was thinking about me, admiring me, even when I didn’t know it. It would be the height of romance.
Of course, I never experienced that. But I didn’t have to.
The greatest Lover of all is, of course, the God who is love. In Deuteronomy 33, His love is on full display. He gives His children not a card, not flowers, but a poem.
Through Moses, God crafts an ode to each tribe of Israel – and to me, and to you.
To: You, From: Jesus
Israel was God’s chosen nation. He hand-picked them. He singled them out. He had a grand story of love to tell to them.
But He also told the world a love story through their lives, and that’s why I think the poems God wrote to the Israelites contain hints of the words He would say to you and me if we were listening.
For example, listen to this snippet.
“Your Thummim and Urim belongverses 8-9
to your faithful servant…
He said of his father and mother,
‘I have no regard for them.’
He did not recognize his brothers
or acknowledge his own children,
but he watched over your word
and guarded your covenant.”
Do any of these lines ring a bell? They’re supposed to.
They hint back to Exodus 32, when the Israelites rebelled against God and made a golden calf while Moses was at Mount Sinai, learning the Ten Commandments. When Moses came down, he knew the sin of the Israelites had to be punished. He called for anyone who was faithful to God to stand by his side. Then he told those people to turn and kill any of their fellow Israelites who refused to repent of their sin.
Those faithful people were the Levites.
You see, this section of God’s poem is specific to the Levites. Here God is acknowledging their choice to obey God even before they protected their own family.
And each section of this chapter is just as specifically tailored to the tribe of Israel God is speaking to. He has a special message for every one.
And He doesn’t just talk about the past. God’s poems are hopeful, too. He describes their future, from defeating their enemies and settling in beautiful lands to eating from abundant harvests and enjoying years of prosperity.
The message is clear. God wants to give good things. A life with Him is a life full of hope. And it’s no secret – God shouts it from the rooftops.
The world today is not the world of the Israelites. And each and every person’s life and experience is different and unique. But that doesn’t change the core truth of these poems – God has a specific and hopeful message for His children.
That means He has one for me. He has one for you. And as we talk to Him more and trust in Him more and listen to Him more, we’ll come to know it by heart.
“I want to have a heart-to-heart with you.”
I used to read this chapter and wonder why God went on and on about the tribe of Levi and the tribe of Joseph, but only had a few words for other tribes, like the tribe of Dan or the tribe of Benjamin.
Was it based off of how good each tribe was? Was it a “Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated” situation?
Or did God change the way He spoke to each tribe simply because He knew them?
How cool is that? God knows us. He knows what triggers us. He knows what strikes a responding chord in us. He knows how to get our attention.
And that knowledge of us is what motivates Him to speak to us – through poems and songs and stories and nature.
After all, they say you write about what you know. You write about what’s on your mind.
God knows you. God is thinking about you. God has a specific, loving message of hope just for you.
Let that give you faith to keep going and see His promises fulfilled.
What do you think? What do you like about the poems God wrote for the tribes of Israel?