“O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!”
Moses, the aged prophet, had rehearsed God’s dealings with Israel, placed before them a challenge to obey God, and publicly charged Joshua to be his successor. He then taught the children of Israel a song. The verse of Scripture we are considering is actually part of the song that Moses is leaving his people. In speaking of a shortcoming of his beloved people, Moses describes a mistake that is all too familiar today: “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” Moses laments the fact that they were too shortsighted in their vision. They did not consider where their present decisions and choices might lead them.
This is good advice for each of us. CONSIDER YOUR LATTER END. If people “would consider their latter end,” it might serve as a strong deterrent to disobedience and an incentive to resist temptations. Israel was guilty of disobeying God’s commandments. They had made marriages with the heathen in defiance of the Word of God. Rather than separating from the ungodly worship of their neighbors, Israelites participated in their idolatrous practices. Where did they think these decisions would lead them? What might be their “latter end”? Are there not consequences for rebellion and disobedience? Chastisement would surely come. The sins of the fathers would invite greater abominations by their children. Idolatry accepted in the high places would open the door for idolatry in the house of God. Eventually, the nation would be overcome by its enemies, the temple destroyed, Jerusalem ravaged, and the people taken captive. They would not “consider their latter end.”
Satan wants us to believe that willful disobedience will bring no consequences. He wants us to think only of the immediate, with no regard for the future. God wants us to think about where our journey will lead us. What will be the “latter end”? Where will a life of selfishness end up? Will we be thankful we lived for self rather than for God? Will our children be left with a good example of what Christian living is supposed to be? What about that appointment we all have at the Judgment Seat of Christ? Many heartaches and disappointments could be avoided if people would “consider their latter end.”