Parashat Nitzavim (Standing)
& Parashat Vayelech (He went)
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 29:9–30:20 & 31:1–30
I ended my most recent blog entry, Choose a Camp, with the question, “To which camp do you belong?” There are only two options: God’s or the world’s. This is something we choose daily, with every decision we make. While it’s not an easy choice, it is a clear one. It also connects us to this week’s portion, which opens with some strong statements:
You stand today, all of you, before the LORD your God: your chiefs, your tribes, your elders and your officers, even all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the alien who is within your camps, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water, that you may enter into the covenant with the LORD your God, and into His oath which the LORD your God is making with you today, in order that He may establish you today as His people and that He may be your God, just as He spoke to you and as He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath,but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today.
Deuteronomy 29:9–14 (10–15 in the English translations)
Note how clear these verses are that everyone – from the leaders to the workers, from the young to old, men and women, Israelite and Gentiles – will stand before the LORD in covenant. This is a crucial principle to understand because it applies to every single person today. The truth is that a day is coming where you and I will stand before God to give an account of our lives without excuse! This reminds me of Romans 14:12, where Sha'ul (Paul the Apostle) writes, “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” In fact, Deuteronomy 29:14 (15 in the English translation) is a prophetic verse because it foretells of those who would one day be part of the covenant.
Have you entered into covenant with God?
God made a covenant with mankind through His Son in order that we will be able to be reconciled with Him. There are no shortcuts; there is only one way to enter His camp.
We are quickly approaching a very special season known as the High Holy Days. We will first celebrate Rosh Hashanah (also known as the Feast of Trumpets), then Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and will then finish this special season with Sukkot (the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles). One of my favorite things about this special season is that we take time to reflect, repent, and return to God. A day is coming when we will all stand before God, each of us — leaders, workers, young and old, men and women, Jews and Gentiles — will have to give an account to God.
Let us take the time this Shabbat to reflect, repent, and return. A day unknown to any of us is coming when we will meet God face to face. He will either welcome us into His eternal rest, or cast us out to the outer, eternal darkness (Matthew 25). Let’s not waste any more time on things that do not have eternal significance. Today is all we have. Let’s make the best of it.
Did you know? — Lone Soldier
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