Just before Moses’ death; he presents the renewal of the Sinai Covenant for God’s people before they enter the Promised Land.
The covenant was very specific directives from God on how they would be His people; what they should do and what they should not do.
The temptations in the new land, they were to dwell in, were abominable and grievous.
Children were raised in a trial by fire and some were even sacrificed to the false God of Death Moloch. (ESV Study Bible, ESV Study Note 1 page 306)
Then there were temptations to see the future through divination and inquire through necromancers who promised communication with the dead.
There were even sorcerers who claimed untold power to provide whatever the Israelites may want. (Deut. 18:9-14)
Through Moses; God explicitly prohibits any contact with them, for any association with them will do nothing more than lead the Israelites away from their eternal salvation.
No doubt most all of you have read the same bible I am reading and you know as well as I do that the people of God did not listen very well.
Time after time the Israelites willfully neglected their devotion to God’s Word and suffered the consequences of not living in adherence to God’s directives.
Then time after time in their despair and desperation they would turn back to God for forgiveness and restoration in His Kingdom.
Now lest we all get to judgmental from our lofty heights of moral superiority…are we really that different today?
How often do we (me included) ask for forgiveness instead of permission?
How often do we find a way around God’s commands rather than simply devoting ourselves to His Word?
How many times do we accept unrepentant sinners rather than love them enough to tell them about their Savior from sin?
Maybe we are just like our Israelite brothers and sisters; a people who always need their savior.
Moses indicates a Prophet is coming for this people and people just like us.
Many immediately thought it would actually be a new Moses, for Moses would die shortly after this and they would be looking for someone to lead them once they were in The Promised Land.
The promise of the prophet held that it would be a man just like Moses; but Moses says something very clearly about this prophet like him, this one, “To him you will listen.”
This is a powerful phrase in scripture, there is no alternative; He will speak and we will have no opportunity to ignore him.
Verse 16 adds to the reality of just who this prophet will be and what He will sound like when He speaks.
The Prophet is a speaker of terrifying magnitude-The very voice of God himself….
Just like in Revelation 1:17, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.”
This Prophet will terrify the people with His voice like in Exodus 20:8 when they cried out to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die!”
Just like the Transfiguration of Jesus in Mark 9:6, when the glory of Jesus’ divinity shone so clearly to Peter, “…he did not know what to say, for they were terrified!”
When God speaks, really speaks, it is usually so alarming that when the people complain they just might die….well vs. 17 could not apply more today, “…they are right in what they have spoken.”
And they are right, because when God speaks he demands not only our attention, but our whole heart, mind and body and even our very souls!
When God truly communicates with us; it must be mediated, because we cannot handle what is not mediated from God.
1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all…”
If The Prophet, Moses spoke of, would be heard; and if he would be a man like Moses; and He would actually speak the intimidating Word of God…only Christ Jesus could fulfill this role.
The Prophet is actually the Incarnation of Christ, God made flesh who is our eternal Prophet!
When Moses said in verse 18, “I will raise up from them a prophet, like you from among their brothers.”
Jesus defined his mother and brothers in Matthew 12:48-50, after speaking to the people when his mother and bothers were seeking him.
Jesus said, “Who is my mother and my brothers?” and stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
When Moses said the Prophet would be raised, Jesus was lifted up and nailed to a cross for all of us to see, dying for the sins of every mother, father, sister and brother.
When God says, through Moses, in verse 18, “I will put my words in his mouth”, Jesus says in John 12:48-50,“The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
Again only Jesus, of all the Prophets in the Old Testament and New fulfills these words so perfectly.
So just before Moses dies he communicates God’s Promise of a perfect prophet to come; a perfect prophet for an imperfect world that just can’t seem to ever get it right.
And while there is a clear warning against false prophets and those who deny the Word of God, there is also a promise of hope and love!
Jesus is the undeniable Prophet that had given us hope for an undeniable eternal life to come.
As we learn from Peter in Acts 2:29-33,
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.”
Those who have ears let them hear, Jesus; their Prophet…Priest and King.