Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nitzavim

Nitzavim
Devarim 29:9 - 30:20
This weeks parasha deals with the unity of Israel, future redemption, practicality of the Torah and freedom of choice. Today we will look at Num. 30:1-30:10. Num 30:1-2 "When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today -". For so many of us that have not been grounded in the teaching of the Torah, we don't fully understand that much of our lives have been lived in the curses that are written in the Torah due to our disobedience. It's what we have been taught by our forefathers. We don't even realize that the curses are curses, we just accept them as part of life. But when we "Take them to Heart: and realize that our blessings and curses come from HaShem, we return to Him and begin to obey the words of His covenant.. As adults we have the ability to rationalize and piece together the connection between our blessings and curses to the source, HaShem. Children do not have the same ability, as when we were children we believed what we were taught, and so will our children. So it is important to see in V.2 that not only we as adults but our children will return to the Lord our God, and we should be diligently teaching our children Torah as we are being made aware of the power it has in our lives. Teaching our children Torah is crucial because it is part of the promise that continues from V.2 thru V.10. as the continuation from V.2 states "then the Lord your God", meaning "when you acknowledge and obey 'then' Hashem will do".
Also interesting in V.3 we see that it is not an individual return to HaShem but a group, national or multitude return. Deu 30:3 says "and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the Nations where He scattered you." This verse indicates that it is not addressed only to a single individual or reader, but as Moshe is addressing this to the entire nation of Israel and also "with those who are not here today." "Nations" in the verse is in the plural and thus also giving the importance of teaching not only to our children but also to the nations so as to return to HaShem as a group. This one verse alludes to what Paul was speaking of in his teaching of the grafted in branches to where it states in Rom 11:25-26 Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so also Israel will be saved,". For those who know the Torah and Yeshua it is their responsibility and duty to teach "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" about their Messiah and also to teach those who know the Messiah about the righteousness that is the Messiah that is the Torah. Not until these teaching for these tow groups have been successful will HaShem, as stated in Due 30:5 "bring you back to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it."
Verse 6 of this parasha can give all of us great hope in our desire of obedience to the Torah. Due 30:6 states "The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live." As we understand that the circumcising of the heart is to take away the sinful nature that we have. According to this scripture HaShem will do this for us. In Lev 26:41 we are told that we have an uncircumcised heart, Due 10:16 we are told that we need to circumcise our hearts and in this parasha we are told that HaShem will be the one to circumcise our hearts. To take away our sinful nature so that we may love Him and live. This brings up the argument of free will and freedom of choice. An argument that can only be supported by those who enjoy the sinful nature. It can only be that anyone that does HaShem's commands and has the testimony of Yeshua on their lips would want to have no choice between death and life, the sinful nature and righteousness. As Paul declares in Rom 7:15-25 and in a nutshell "for what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." A circumcised heart done by HaShem would keep us from this battle that Paul speaks of. Is there something deeper to the circumcision by HaShem than we can understand? Due 29:29 states "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever." This scripture is commonly related to sin. The secret sin an individual commits is for HaShem to know and deal with but the things revealed, are our sins others can see, and are for the nation to deal with. Can this also mean that in such cases of HaShem's circumcision of the heart that there is a secret to the blessings that come with that? Something that we are not meant to know?
As we make full circle in to V.10 we hear a repeat of "if you obey". This brings out a strong significance of obedience. One thing that really catches my attention is "That are written in this book of the Torah". It is the written Torah that we are to be concerned about. This is our life. The oral Torah is not attached to these blessings and curses. I find great significance in the oral Torah in our aid to abide in the written Torah, but as Yeshua states in Mrk 7:8 "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of Men." We can never overlook a command in the written Torah to fulfill a command or tradition of the oral Torah. Because as stated in Deu 30:19 "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." And what has been set before us this day? Only "That are written in the book of the Torah".

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