Deuteronomy 33:1. And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.
A very beautiful thought, that he should conclude his life with a blessing. Though they had greatly grieved and provoked his spirit, he was always meek and tender, but he had very much to bear from them, and this is the end of it all, that he will dismiss them with his blessing.
Deuteronomy 33:2-3. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.
“Yea, he loved the people.” God’s appearance on Sinai was a token of his love to them, even though it amazed them and distressed many of them. Yet still it was a great thing that God should come so near to these people, and should reveal his will to them. Dear friends, if God should come to you with his fiery law; if he should humble you, and make you “exceeding fear and quake,” it would be a token of love. The ungodly are left to go in their sin, but as for you, if you are one whom he loves, he will rebuke you, and he will bring his law to do its work upon your heart and conscience. It seems strange to you, but so it is. “From his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, he loved the people.” Oh! it is so, because he loves them he reveals to them his fiery law. “All his saints are in thy hand.” A place of safety, a place of privilege, where they learn how precious they are to him, for he holds them so dear that he keeps them always in his hand. “All his saints are in thy hand, and they sat down at thy feet.” Another place for saints; they are always learning; they are disciples; they sit with meek humility at their Master’s feet, and drink in his words, “Everyone shall receive of thy words.” Those who know not God’s love, trifle with God’s words and reject them; those whom he loves receive his words and feed upon them.
Deuteronomy 33:4-6. Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together. Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.
Here is his blessing, “Let Reuben live.” Reuben’s great sin had lost him his birthright, yet Moses gives him as much of his blessing as he can. If we are not allowed to draw the largest blessing, let us go as far as we can.
Deuteronomy 33:7-9. And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies. And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant.
Judah was the royal tribe — had to do much with warfare. Lord give him power in prayer! This is the peculiar benediction of those who have to lead the way in the battles of God. In the service of God, Levi was impartial; he did not wink at sin in his dearest relatives. You remember how they took the sword, and went through the camp, and slew their own brothers when they found them guilty of idolatry, and because of this faithfulness we read, “They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law.” Above all things, a teacher of the truth of God must be fearless and impartial in the delivery of God’s Word; then God will bless him, and it shall be said of such, “They shall teach Jacob,” etc.
Deuteronomy 33:10. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar.
True hearts alone can be God’s priests; he will not accept sacrifices from those who will dally with his truth, and trifle with his Word.
Deuteronomy 33:11-12. Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again. And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.
They that have God near them are safe indeed. There is no protection in such a world as this like constant communion with God. We have to go out into a world full of all manner of evil. Go not out into the world without thy God. Let him dwell with thee and cover thee all the day long, and so shalt thou be safe.
Deuteronomy 33:13. And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven,
Oh! in a spiritual sense, what a rich blessing this is! and remember it came upon that tribe whose father was the most afflicted of all Jacob’s sons. If thou art, an afflicted Joseph rejoice, for one of these days thou shall have the capacity for receiving great blessings.
Deuteronomy 33:13. For the dew,
The Lord send us that dew tonight to rest upon our branch.
Deuteronomy 33:13. And for the deep that coucheth beneath,
These deep eternal springs out of which we drink the divine water springs.
Deuteronomy 33:14. And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
They shall have blessings both ways, in the day and in the night. Those whom God blesses, the sun doth not smite by day, nor the moon by night, but, on the contrary, they are blessed both in the one and in the other.
Deuteronomy 33:15-16. And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush:
Oh! that we may enjoy ever the good will of God, who wills good to us, who in all his dealings with us has a good will towards us. Oh! that we may have the good will of him that dwelt in the bush!
Deuteronomy 33:16-18. Let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents.
You that go much abroad in the world, God give you to rejoice in your opportunities of doing good. You that never go abroad, but live at home in the kitchen and the parlour, learn to rejoice in your tents, for there, too, you have a sphere of holy service.
Deuteronomy 33:19-22. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel. And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.
“And of Gad, he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad.” God knows how to enlarge his people, give them more grace, more gifts, more opportunities of usefulness. Which he did. His tribes enlarged their boundaries by a sudden leap. God gives his people sometimes their leaping times; they leap from Bashan: some great purpose is accomplished, some great feat is done.
Deuteronomy 33:23. And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.
What a condition of heart to be in! “Satisfied with favour; full of the blessing of the Lord.” Beloved, may you enjoy that tonight!
Deuteronomy 33:24. And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.
Then will he leave a mark wherever he goes of holy unction. He possesses it himself, and he will impart it to others.
Deuteronomy 33:25. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
Will not some believer grip that promise tonight and find it true?
Deuteronomy 33:26-28. There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.
“Israel then shall dwell in safety alone.” There is no place for God’s people like a separated place; they must get without the camp; they must not be numbered among the people. Notice, there is none like unto the God of Israel, and there is none like to Israel.
Deuteronomy 33:29. Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
As God is by himself, so all his people are favoured beyond all others.