Parashat Nitzavim (Standing)
& Parashat Vayelech (He Went)
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 29:9-30:20 & 31:1-30
Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
Lately I have been reflecting a lot on the events happening around us. My kids asked me if I think we are in the end times and, if I’m honest, with everything happening in Israel and throughout the world, it is not far-fetched to think we are quickly moving toward those days. I told my kids that whether these are the last days, I believe God and that everything written in His Word will come to pass. Regardless of the season, we need to be prepared and do whatever we can to help others prepare.
There are those who believe that followers of Messiah will not endure any of the hardships and that will come upon this world in those days. While I can understand this kind of wishful thinking, the truth is that Yeshua our Messiah actually promised us hardships & trials (John 16:33). The fact is that we are here, and unless one chooses to live in utter and complete ignorance, no one is immune to experiencing what is happening - wars, rumors of wars, natural disasters, etc.
In this week’s Parashah, we read of Moses passing the proverbial baton to Joshua. As I read that account, I was struck by the amount of faith that it took both Moses — but especially Joshua — to follow God’s instruction to enter into the Land of Promise:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, he time for you to die is near; call Joshua and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, and I will commission him.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the tent of meeting. And the LORD appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood at the entrance of the tent. The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the prostitute with the foreign gods of the land into the midst of which they are going, and they will abandon Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger will be kindled against them on that day, and I will abandon them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will find them; so they will say on that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have found us?’ But I will assuredly hide My face on that day because of all the evil that they will have done, for they will have turned away to other gods. “Now then, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel. For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they eat and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. Then it will come about, when many evils and troubles find them, that this song will testify before them as a witness (for it shall not be forgotten from the mouth of their descendants); for I know their inclination which they are developing today, before I bring them into the land which I swore.”
God knew that Israel would betray Him, that they will turn and worship idols and even be as a “prostitute with the foreign gods of the land”. Yet, God’s Word will not turn void, and He promised Israel that He would bring them into the Land of “milk and honey”, the responsibility of which He entrusted to Joshua.
The amazing part, in my opinion, is that God told both Moses and Joshua what would happen and yet they stillobeyed Him and faithfully followed His instructions. They trusted God enough to obey Him, despite knowing that Israel would be disobedient, and that God would punish them, which would result in Israel being exiled.
What motivated them to trust God in such a way? Love. Their love motivated both Moses and Joshua to be faithful to God, which they demonstrated through their actions.
Despite all the promises of judgment that God made to Israel, we also find some great promises of comfort which will happen in the future. This, my dear brothers and sisters, is where I find my hope!
Isaiah 61:10-11 says:
I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, my soul will be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a groom puts on a turban, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth produces its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
As the days draw near, and whether these really are the final days, my motivation to continue to press on and do the will of the Lord is that of love and faith. Just as Moses, Joshua, and many others throughout history have done, I choose to keep seeking Him first and be faithful to Him regardless of what is happening around me. I can “rejoice in the Lord” and His promises, because He has “clothed me with garments of salvation”.
He alone is our hope!
I will make mention of the acts of grace of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has granted them according to His compassion and according to the abundance acts of His grace. For He said, “Certainly they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely.” So He became their Savior. In all their distress He was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.”
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