Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vaetchanan-ואתחנן: "And I besought"

Vaetchanan-ואתחנן: "And I besought"


Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11

   

The first three verses of this parasha kind of hit me square in the face, as the thought or impression I got as I read it was, this will be the case with so many self professed followers of Christ.  Here we have, Moshe, the most influential emissary in the history of the Benei Yisrael,  the Children of Israel.  Beseeching YHVH for permission to enter the promise land, no doubt he was repentant for his disobedience, yet he was not spared from his correction. What is this teaching us? that our actions have consequences, this is as much for me as for those that will read and listen to this Torah portion. Yes our actions have consequences, good and bad depending on what were they, if they glorify יהוה YHVH, Yeshua and the Torah, then the consequences are favorable, but if they are not then they will definitely not be favorable. 

Moses, one of the few chosen human beings apart from Adam and Eve to be in God’s presence and to hear and converse with him blew it when he and Aaron disobeyed when instead of talking to the rock he struck the rock.  Now Moses is at the door of the promise, he comes back begging to be allowed but the judgement was already passed in and the edict will come to pass. 

We read in the apostolic writings: in the last days many will utter Lord, Lord in your name we.....as we know the old teaching The Lord replies depart from me you evil doers, (paraphrased), Matthew 7:22: Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ Matthew 7:23: Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’ and Luke 6:46: “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things which I say? and the key here is the underlined part of the verse. As with Moses many will find themselves entering into the promise of the world to come, due to disobedience just as Moses came short of the promise land, he could only behold it from afar.  I am not implying that Moses did not inherited the world to come, he will but this image, is a warning to us right now and also the generations to come if Moshiach does not return in our lifetime.

It is in this parasha one of the reoccurring messages is keeping the commandments: Deuteronomy 4:5: Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the midst of the land where you go in to possess it.  Deuteronomy 4:6: Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who shall hear all these statutes, and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”  this continues through out: “keep therefore, do them, don’t do as the nations do”, etc. In this parasha, Moshe is reiterating the core tenant of the Torah to this new generation who grew in the wilderness after their fathers perished. Moshe is reminding the children of Yisrael the purpose and roles to their existence.

First of all they were not chosen and delivered out of Egypt because they were a great nation but rather because they were small nation in bondage.  Secondly they were chosen to fulfill a promise to their forefathers, Avraham, Yitzhak (Isaac) and Yaakov (Jacob). Thirdly the children of Yisrael were given a central piece of realestate in the middle east, for them to be a light to the nations so the nations as they passed through the land of Yisrael, would be able to see a people that dedicate their lives to serve the one true God, and true kingdom, where each individual counts in the eye of the King.  The rule of law and not the rule of mob or a dictatorship.  A dictator or a wordly king does not care about his constituents, so the laws are implemented to benefit the dictator of wordly king, and not the subjugants. In contrast יהוה  YHVH’s laws benefit the subjugants and not יהוה  YHVH, an unmistakable difference!.  That was the heart of   יהוה  YHVH all along. However as Moshe predicted, we know that the Israelites did exactly as prophesied by him, they turned away from God and followed the ways of the inhabitants and neighbours of the land. 

They were specifically instructed not to make any images of heaven nor earth nor to bow down to any other god, the word was , lest you corrupt yourself.  We are reminded that our Elohim is a consuming devouring fire and is a jealous God for our souls and the spirit of life that was given to us, His Spirit.  The warning was given and it as ignored as it was with Moshe it was with the children of Yisrael, the admonishment came to pass and they were scattered and taken captive, and only a portion was allowed to return those of a repenting heart with a desire to see the holy temple rebuilt.  This recounting of events should be a warning to us on how we live our lives and comport ourselves before the King of The Universe.

This brings me to another very important morsel that can be extracted from the Torah.  In this Torah portion we see the following phrase repeated at least three times: ‘that you may prolong your days’ in fact this was repeated three times in a positive note and once in a negative mode.  One thing for sure in Hebrew and in the Middle Eastern mind set anything that is repeated more than once is important , three times is very important, and in this case the phrase carries life and death, nothing more important than that. Keep, do observe hear.  Here we come to the core that has kept the Jewish nation and Jewish faith over millennia the Shema the daily prayer of every Jew and perhaps the last words any Jew will utter just before going to rest with their fathers. שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad, Hear o Israel Adonai is our God Adonai is One.  This tenant has kept generations of Torah observant Israelite all these millennia to this day with out variation in their prayers, practices, keeping the appointed times of YHVH and the Torah.

We were redeemed from the hand of pharaoh with a strong hand for a purpose with a purpose.  The whole aim of redemption was and is for the chosen people to be light to the nations.  That tenant has not changed, nor the purpose still the same, nor has the people changed, it is the children of Israel’s mandate to be the light to the world and in Messiah all believers not of the covenant of circumcision are grafted into Israel and brought near.  So in Messiah, we all have the same mandate, the same commandment whether naturally born Israelite, of a proselyte, or one brought near through the covenant of Yeshua the Messiah we all have the same responsibility to show the light of YHVH and teach Torah to the nations, to show the way of tshuvah, although some translate  tshuvah as repentance a better rendition is to turn around and return to YHVH.  We all come from YHVH and our life depends on him, without His spirit of life we would not exist so to say we return to Him is correct, more so if you are of the covenant that is returning to the covenant.

As the opening passage spoke to us that what we do and say matters, lets our lives and our actions in Messiah be counted for Tov and not Rah, may His Spirit guide us to do so with a humble and teachable heart.  (HNV) Deuteronomy 6:24 The LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day.  In Hebrew it says for לטוב לנו (letov lanu) = for our good.

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