Torah Portion for 6th September - 12th September
Torah portion Deuteronomy 29: 9 to 30:20
Haftarah portion Isaiah 61 : 10 – 63 : 9
“take a stand”
Read the Maker’s instructions
In last week’s portion, we read the promises of God contained in the blessings (for obedience), and curses (for disobedience), relating to the commandments and statutes which had been clearly communicated to the people.
Three times previously (Exodus 19:8, 24:3, and 24:7) the whole assembly of the people had affirmed their willingness to accept the instructions of God, spoken by Moses. The Land of Promise is before them. Entry into the Land is a gift of God, guaranteed by His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Occupation of the Land is conditional. It seems to me that at this point in time Moses is now asking them to affirm yet again that they have understood the Maker’s instructions.
The Apostle Paul, a devout and fervent adherent to Torah lifestyle, understood this well. Read Romans 11 in a quiet moment and see for yourself how well he understood the importance of believers living a life of faith in order to remain attached as partakers of the ‘natural Olive Tree’ which is Israel (God’s special treasure). The analogy is that of entry into the Promised Land (free by covenant) and remaining there (conditional on obedience). The question is worth asking our church communities today … Have you read the Maker’s instructions?.
Deuteronomy 29:29 is one of my favourite scripture verses :-
"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
Please take time to meditate on this verse. It amazes me that we argue and debate things which He has very clearly written for us in His word. God used Moses to communicate His instructions for righteous living. God does not change. Why is there such difficulty understanding that? Or am I the only one with that difficulty?
I do not wish to be misunderstood. I believe that our salvation is free to all who believe by faith. I also believe that “faith without works is dead”. What I believe about ‘works’ is contained in Matthew 5 : 16,17. And if you think that Yeshua had gentile believers in mind when He spoke those words, read it again. His audience was 100% ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel’. He was calling them back to a lifestyle of correct Torah observance, which had been distorted by the ‘traditions of men’.
I believe that Yeshua was reminding the people of scriptures like Deuteronomy 29:29 , encouraging them to “do all the words of this law” as was His own lifestyle and that of His disciples. In effect He was saying to them read the Maker’s instructions again.
In Deuteronomy chapter 30 we have a good indication that Moses knew that these folk were going to have difficulty in keeping their promises of obedience. It is an accurately prophetic chapter with a really happy ending.
Verse 4 sees the time when, through disobedience, they will be expelled from the land which they had not yet entered. Moses also foresees the time when they will be again restored to the land (an event we see happening today before our eyes as millions of Jews have made Aliya in the past 60 years). Beyond that even, Moses sees a future time when God will enter into a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. (see “Reflection” of August 22 “Shoftim”)
Then in verses 14 to 16 of chapter 30, Moses makes a final plea. None of these terrible things need happen to you :-
“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess”.
For your very life’s sake, when you ‘take a stand for the Lord’ take also time to “read the Maker’s instructions” .
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, …..” Deuteronomy 30 :19,20