A common misconception about God’s Law is that it’s all about perfection, that it’s unrealistic in a fallen world. Rather, the capstone passage of the Torah — reading הַאֲזִינוּ Ha’azinu (“listen,” Deuteronomy 32) — recounts Israel’s screwups past, present and future as well as the LORD’s mercy and plan for redemption.
It should be no surprise, then, that the final acts of God’s redemption give the “song of Moses” (Deuteronomy 32) double-billing with the “song of the Lamb” (Revelation 15:3).
Continue reading Parashat Ha’azinu (האזינו): Deuteronomy 32
In the previous Torah reading, כי תבוא Ki Tavo, we learned the importance of having character that survives stressors big and small. The first part of this week’s double reading, נִצָּבִים Nitzavim (“standing,” Deut. 29:9–30:20), underscores the building blocks of that character: loving the LORD with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. We learn that the “New Covenant,” or “New Testament” really isn’t so new, but choosing a lifestyle that leads to life and not death does require us to leave our old “dead works” behind.
“Be strong and courageous.” Imagine getting that advice as you’re being sent out to accomplish something you feel totally unprepared for. Those were some of the last words Moshe (Moses) left as Israel was about to enter the Promised Land. What counts is how much trust you have in the one in charge. That baton was passing, but the people had to remember the One ultimately leading and fighting for them. The second part of this week’s reading, וַיֵּלֶךְ Vayelech (“he went,” Deut. 31:1–30), introduces what’s really the second verse of the “song of Moses,” mentioned in Rev. 15:3.
Continue reading Parashot Nitzavim (נצבים)/Vayelech (וילך): Deuteronomy 29:9–31:20
“Correcting” an aggressive driver on the road. “Losing it” with a screaming child in the store. We may think we’re far removed from the horror show described in this week’s Torah reading, כי תבוא Ki Tavo (“when you come in,” Deut. 26:1–29:8), but each of us encounters stress that pushes off any mask over our true characters.
Continue reading Parashat Ki Tavo (כי תבוא): Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8
Murder, adultery, theft, honesty and lust for people and stuff: The Torah passage כי תצא Ki Tetze or Ki Teitzei (“when you go forth,” Deut. 21:10-25:19) explains what’s under the hood of the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth commandments (Ex. 20:13–17).
Continue reading Parashat Ki Tetze (כי תצא): Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
Shadows of the prophet status and crucifixion of the Messiah appear in the Torah passage שֹׁפְטִים Shoftim (“judges,” Deut. 16:18–21:9). In a section of the Bible focused on codes of justice still used in modern society, there also is hope for the greatest mercy the world has ever seen, in Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ).
Continue reading Parashat Shoftim (שפטים): Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
Common advice in this world is, “Follow your heart.” But in the Torah reading רְאֵה Re’eh (“see,” Deut. 11:26-16:17), we learn that God wants to transform our way of thinking, so our desires will take us in a wiser direction. This section explains the reborn heart approach to the Second, Third and Fourth commandments on blasphemy, idolatry and stopping what we’re doing to remember the rest God gives us.
Continue reading Parashat Re’eh (ראה): Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17
“And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9 ESV)
Some have disregarded Israel — during the earthly ministry of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) and in modern times — as having anything to do with Bible prophecy, because of perceived failings of the people in trusting God.
But as we see in this week’s Torah reading — עקב Ekev or Eikev (“consequence”), Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 — God is faithful to His promises. We should be grateful for God’s mercy and bigger plans for our lives.
Continue reading Parashat Eikev/Ekev (עקב): Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25