This parashah is short. Moses tells the people he is going to die, appoints Joshua as his successor and is told by God that the people will be rebellious and suffer greatly in the future. God tells Moses to write a song that will be a witness for God against the people when all the troubles they will bring upon themselves happens.
The Chumash suggests that the Song of Moses (that’s in the next parashah) and the only Psalm Moses is known to have written, Psalm 90, may have been written around this time in Moses’ life. They show how short life is and how important God is.
Everything changes, except for change, itself. Without change there is only stagnation, and there can be no improvement without change. Change is the way we become better, but almost everyone I have ever dealt with would rather have things stay the same.
Did you know that the American Revolution was not to change anything? No- they just wanted everything to remain as it had been. Since they couldn’t get it to stay the way they were used to, they ended up, out of a total lack of any other option, to rebel. That rebellion resulted, with God’s help, in the best non-Theocratic political system the world has ever known.
There was about to be real change for the Israelites. Pretty much every single one of the million-plus people had grown up with Moses being in charge. They had lived in the desert with manna in the morning, water available, divine guidance by day and night, and now they were losing it all. Everything was going to change. No more Moses, no more manna, no more pillar of cloud and fire, no more marching out or staying put. They were going to cross the Jordan. They were going to (finally) enter the Land, the one thing their entire existence has been aimed at doing. No more waiting , no more wandering. It’s here. It’s now. It’s really happening.
Good thing they didn’t wear underwear, because if they did they would probably have had to change it!
They were told God would go ahead of them and not to be afraid. We read later how true that statement was. God did do amazing things to get them there, and once there He continued to do amazing things for them. God is always there; even when He is forced to ignore us (because of our rejection of Him), He is still there. Waiting in the wings, so to speak, for us to return to Him. And He will send us reminders. It won’t be a cute little “Missing You” greeting card, or a post on His Facebook page. What it will be is to allow us to suffer the tsouris of being left alone in a cursed world. And He will wait, patiently, painfully, until we realize how totally stupid we have been; self-centered, self-absorbed, rebellious and, well….you get the point. And when we turn back to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, He will accept us. Gladly!
He also knows that most will never come to that realization. It has always been, is now, and always be only a remnant that will be saved. Not because of God’s desire for anyone to die, but because of our stiff-necked and sinful nature. He told Moses this, who told the people, who went ahead and did what they shouldn’t have done, anyway.
I guess no matter how much things change, people never will. Individuals, yes, but people? I don’t see it happening. And that is probably the most important change we need to make.
So, forget the “people” and concentrate on you. You make sure you are able to change, you make sure you are willing to accept change in your life, because like it or not, it’s coming and there isn’t anything you can do to avoid it. Our loved ones die, our children grow up and need us less, we grow old and need others more, the world gets more technological and less human, and pain, strife, injustice, cruelty, love and compassion all survive and continue. There will be constant change until the final judgment.
Until then, realize that change is necessary and unavoidable. So nu?… since you can’t stop it and you can’t avoid it, you might as well accept it and grow with it.
Just remember the most important thing to change is your devotion and faithful obedience to God- it should constantly grow stronger.