Deuteronomy 32-34…The song of Moses, and his death.
Moses’ final words to Israel include a reminder of their history, an outline of God’s blessings on them, and a dose of reality regarding God’s sovereignty and wrath. This section in Deuteronomy contains the famous verse in 32:35, which the Lord used powerfully during The Great Awakening in early to mid-18th century New England. Jonathan Edwards used this text when he preached “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in Enfield, Connecticut during the summer of 1741. It is probably the most famous of all American sermons. The sermon lays out the dreadful consequences of man’s sin, and Edwards sought to persuade his listeners that they might at any moment be called to judgment for their sins. Reportedly some in Edwards’s audience cried out in response to his terrible imagery. At the end of the sermon, though, Edwards preached about “an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open.”
This serves as an example to us in our evangelism. The objective reality of both God’s wrath against our sin, and the amazing grace He has extended us in Christ need to be presented. We certainly want to hold out the hope of being with God in heaven as a reason for repentance and faith in Christ. We should also emphasize that we were made for something more than what we can see with our eyes today. However, we do not want to neglect the whole truth, and the bible is clear about hell. In fact, no one in the bible talked more about hell than Jesus. So, while it is not popular, the doctrine of hell needs to be woven into our evangelism. A right view of hell should in fact motivate us to tell others about Christ, because according to Deuteronomy 32:35, “their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.” Outside of Christ, God wrath is terrible; and this life is short, so we should seek to share the gospel with those God has placed in our lives today.