Parashat Nitzavim (Standing)
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 29:9–30:20
There is something written in our weekly Scripture portion that always caught my eyes:
For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”
I am amazed by God’s grace to give us everything we need to live the life He has called us to. Specifically, when I read this, I always ask myself, “What is my excuse for not applying God’s Word to my life and living a life that's honoring to Him?” We human beings tend to complicate things and to add a yoke to our faith that God did not intend for us to have. But, in reality, it’s really quite simple and uncomplicated to walk with Him.
Rav Sha’ul (the Apostle Paul) refers to these verses from Deuteronomy when he writes about God’s plan of salvation in Romans 10:
Brothers, my heart’s deepest desire and my prayer to God for Israel is for their salvation; for I can testify to their zeal for God. But it is not based on correct understanding; for, since they are unaware of God’s way of making people righteous and instead seek to set up their own, they have not submitted themselves to God’s way of making people righteous. For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. For Moshe writes about the righteousness grounded in the Torah that the person who does these things will attain life through them. Moreover, the righteousness grounded in trusting says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend to heaven?’” that is, to bring the Messiah down or, “‘Who will descend into Sheol?’” that is, to bring the Messiah up from the dead. What, then, does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” that is, the word about trust which we proclaim, namely, that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be delivered. For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance. For the passage quoted says that everyone who rests his trust on him will not be humiliated. That means that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — ADONAI is the same for everyone, rich toward everyone who calls on him, since everyone who calls on the name of ADONAI will be delivered.”
Romans 10:1–13 (CJB)
Paul writes here that our faith in the LORD is simply an act of publicly declaring Yeshua as Lord, and believing — trusting — that He was raised from the dead. But this is not a faith that comes from within ourselves! It’s something we are given, which is readily available to every single person who calls upon the LORD.
As His followers, we really have no excuse to live in disobedience to Him. We have Him close to our hearts; He gave us His Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in the ways that we ought to walk. We have everything we need!
So, what’s your excuse?