Parashat Nitzavim (Standing)
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 29:9-30:20
Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
In this week’s Parashah, we read some of the most beautiful words of exhortation that I believe we will find in all of Scripture:
“So it will be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have placed before you, and you call them to mind in all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul in accordance with everything that I am commanding you today, you and your sons, then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.If any of your scattered countrymen are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers inherited, and you shall inherit it; and He will be good to you and make you more numerous than your fathers.
“Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live. And the LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you will again obey the LORD, and follow all His commandments which I am commanding you today. Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in every work of your hand, in the children of your womb, the offspring of your cattle, and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.
“For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it far away. It is not in heaven, that you could say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and get it for us, and proclaim it to us, so that we may follow it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you could say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us and get it for us and proclaim it to us, so that we may follow it?’ On the contrary, the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may follow it.”
One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the freedom to choose; I believe it is such an important part of His character as a loving and gracious God. First and foremost, He gave us the freedom to choose Him. While He clearly demonstrates a strong desire for us to embrace Him with all our hearts, He does not force Himself on anyone! God gives us a glimpse of the blessing that can come from choosing Him and returning to Him with all our heart. This is the work that He does in circumcising our hearts. Because of His love for us, we can love Him. When we choose Him, He will not only bless us, but as verse 9 says, the LORD will rejoice over us for good, as He rejoiced over our fathers. I must admit that as I write this, those words are an amazing encouragement for me; I am amazed that God would rejoice over me as He rejoiced over our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Another profound thing that He says in this passage from Deuteronomy is that His commandments are not too difficult for us, nor are they far away. If we understand that Yeshua is the Word made flesh, it makes sense that through the Holy Spirit, His word dwells within us, in our mouths and in our hearts.
I am amazed that today, I write these words as part of the fulfillment of those promises. Not only do I live in the land of promise, but I am also raising a future generation here. Many years ago, I made a personal choice to return and declare Him as my God, through faith in His Son, who He sent to reconcile me to Himself. As a result, He circumcised my heart, and today He has given me access through faith and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to follow what He desires me to do.
That brings not only great honor, but also great joy! This echoes some powerful words that the prophet Isaiah wrote in our Haftarah portion of this week:
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.
God was, is, and will always be the One who reconciled us to Himself. He is the One who deserves all the glory. I just count it a privilege to be one of those He chose to clothe with the garments of His Salvation and His plan of redemption! How beautiful is His love for us. Let us not grow weary of preparing this world for the King to return and reclaim His kingdom.
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