The last words of Moses give us peace

The last words of Moses give us peace – a sermon on Deuteronomy 33:27a by Rev. Colin Pretorius.

The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Let me start this morning by telling you the story of a soldier who was captured and was sentenced to death by firing squad. This young man was a confessing Christian who was willing to forgive those who were about to kill him. He was at peace with God. When he was taken out of his cell to the parade ground where he was to be shot, he refused to wear a blindfold. As the firing squad raised their rifles he saw that a few of them, just as young as he was, were shaking. His last words to them were: “I am taking a few steps forward lads, it will be easier for you that way.”[1]

Last words can make an impact, can’t they? The words of the soldier probably had an impact on those who had to shoot him. Perhaps you’ve also heard of the final words of Augustus Toplady, the composer of that great hymn “Rock of Ages”, who said “I enjoy heaven already in my soul. My prayers are all converted to praises.[2] Yes, final words can be inspiring. And when we read the words of our text this morning they are certainly quite inspiring too. These are the final words of Moses and they are designed to remind the people of Israel just how awesome their God is. The Lord God Almighty is not just their dwelling place or their refuge but also the One who carries them in His loving and everlasting arms. And of course, thousands of years later, these words of Moses still ring true. They are just as trustworthy as they were all those years ago, and the beauty of it is that they apply not just to the people of Israel; because of the work of Christ they also apply to you and me. Our text is comprised of two parts, and we’re going to look at it under these two headings:

  • The eternal God is your dwelling place
  • and underneath are the everlasting arms

[1] Very loosely based on the story of Robert Erskine Childers. See Andrew Boyle, The Riddle of Erskine Childers (London: Hutchinson, 1977).

[2] Quoted on