Parashat Vayelech (He Went)
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 31:1–30
This week, we read the deeply moving account of Moses commissioning Joshua and the Children of Israel, and preparing them for the task standing before them:
So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’ It is the LORD your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall inherit them. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the LORD has spoken. And the LORD will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. And the LORD will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. And the LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed.”
Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, in order that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this Torah.
As I was reading the verses above, I was thinking about the incredible connection between Moses and Yeshua our Messiah, but with one very big difference between them. Let’s first look at Moses. Moses commissioned Joshua and the congregation of Israel to enter and inherit the Land of Promise; he told them that God would go before them, that He would destroy their enemies, and that God – who is all powerful and has all authority – would always be there with them. Moses also warned the congregation of Israel to be obedient and faithful to God’s teachings (Torah).
Let’s compare this to what Yeshua said when He commissioned His disciples before He left the earth:
And Yeshua came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Similar to Moses, Yeshua commissioned His disciples (and by extension, us) to go and inherit a land, in a spiritual sense; He commissioned us to enter the land of darkness and to bring His light by making disciples of the nations, teaching them to observe everything that He has commanded. Yeshua, also promised that He would be with us always, even to the end of time, which is very similar to the promise we see in Deuteronomy 31.
It is significant to note that Moses commissioned the Children of Israel before his death to fulfill the task set before them. Together with that, he also promised that God would go before them and be with them always. Yeshua commissioned His disciples after His death and resurrection to fulfill the task set before them and He told them (us) that He is with them always to the end of the age.
I wrote that there is one big difference between Moses and Yeshua: Moses is still in the grave, but Yeshua is not. The big difference has to do with Yeshua’s death and resurrection, which makes Him higher than Moses. What a great comfort and hope we have knowing that God is with us always!