1.This Shabbat has a special name. Do you know what it is and what it means? It is found in the Hebrew text of our Haftorah portion in Hosea.

It is called Shabbat Shuvah and it gets this name from a verse in Hosea 14:2.

2.In Deut. 32:1-2 Moses uses two different verbs when addressing Heaven and Earth. “Give ear (ha’azinu) O heavens, and I will speak; and hear (general term for listen) O earth, the words of my mouth.” First, Ha’azinu means to give ear or listen closely, like when you might share something with a close friend. The other verb is a general term for listen. What can we learn from this?

We as believers should see life as both spiritual and physical. Scripture show a tension between light and dark, days of the week and Sabbath, Heaven and earth. Given this, we live somewhat in the tension between these divisions.  

So here in Deut. 32:1 we get the sense that Moses is very near heaven, so near he can whisper, while earth is somewhat removed. Heaven was very close while earth and all of its material concerns were farther away. I think Moses is saying here that each of us as human’s has this tension in our life between the spiritual and the material. Our challenge is to stay close enough to the spiritual that we can hear when G-d whispers to us. Ha’azinu might be the thought behind Romans 10:8, G-d’s word is very near to us. We can hear it easily. If our ears are open, if we are open to it, G-d can whisper to us. 

We are not consumed by the world and the noise of the world but we are able to hear that still small voice. Our lives are to be lived, in fact, to bring this awareness of the holy into our world and the world around us, to arouse in others the desire to hear also, not the noise but the whisper of G-d. We live in the world but we are not to be overcome by the world. Later in verse 15 Moses warns exactly about this. The people will grow fat and forsake G-d their maker and run after the things of the world. The effect of which will be going after other gods and losing their way and their influence in the world. Their ability to hear and be heard will be overcome by the noise of the world.

3.Moshe, according to verse 32:48, gives this song to Israel on the very same day that he dies. He is not to enter the Land. That dream which has been his goal for all these years, G-d said would not happen. Do we hear any anger or harsh words towards G-d who told him he can’t cross over the Jordan? No, instead look at verses 3 and 4 of chapter 32. He calls G-d just, righteous, great and a G-d of truth in which is no injustice. What can we learn from his words? 

There are times in our lives when we might feel G-d has left us or has been unjust in His dealings with us. How can we be able to see G-d as Moses saw Him? Moses had reached a place where he could see that G-d only had his best in mind. The challenges and trials of life that G-d had allowed, Moses understood were to mature him in his faith. They were for good. This is the place that must be our goal. Only by passing through troubled waters can we grow. G-d does not hate us. He has not forsaken us. In our lives His desire is for us to grow, no longer only able to drink milk but to eat meat at His table. This takes effort on our part. It takes perseverance to come to this place where Moses stood.

4.In Deut. 32:7-14 Moses reminds the people of Israel what G-d has done for them. As you read these verses think of yourself and what G-d has done for you. Think from where He has brought you, like an eagle gathering her young and bearing them up on her wings. (Come with a personal testimony of something G-d has done for you)

5.One last easy question. This portion is almost entirely composed of the “Song of Moses.” Where else in scripture can you find the song of Moses being sung? What other songs did Moshe write?

This song is also mentioned in Revelations 15:3. Other songs that Moses wrote are: Exodus 15 a song of praise and celebration, Psalm 90 is said to be the oldest Psalm and is a song of God’s eternal majesty and a petition for His favor.

The song begins with a universal call to listen, followed by praise of the just, faithful, and upright God (Deut. 32:1-4) In contrast to God’s faithfulness is Israel’s unfaithfulness (verses 5–6). The song proceeds to recite the history of Israel from their time of bondage in Egypt, through their wilderness wanderings, to their established place in the Promised Land (verses 7–14). The Song of Moses then becomes prophetic: Israel’s future ingratitude and idolatry are predicted, as are the judgments of God for their sin (verses 15–31). Then God promises to avenge Israel against their (and His) enemies, showing compassion on His people (verses 32–42). The song ends on a joyful note, as God’s punishment is past, righteousness is restored, and the land of Israel cleansed (verse 43).

A major theme of the Song of Moses is God’s faithfulness. He is called “the Rock” four times in the song (Deut. 32:15, 18, 30-31). Even as God’s people are chasing whims and trusting feeble gods, God remains their steadfast, unchanging Source of Salvation.

The last words of the Song of Moses are a promise that God will “make atonement for his land and people” (Deut. 32:43).