Apostle Paul called Abraham the “father of us all,” those born in Israel and those who have faith like his (Rom. 4:16). In this week’s Torah passage, לֶךְ-לְךָ Lech Lecha (Lekh Lekha) (“go forth,” Genesis 12:1-17:27), we see Abraham’s first move of faith in leaving his homeland for some unknown destination Heaven was leading him toward. His response is an inspiration to us all.
Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus) and His apostle Shimon Kefa (Simon Peter) pointed to “the days of Noah” as important for believers to fully understand to be prepared for life now and for the “coming of the Son of Man.”
”For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matt. 24:37)
“… God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.” (1Pet. 3:20)
This week’s Torah section, נֹחַ Noach (“Noah,” Genesis 6:9-11:32), helps us catch the meaning of the enigmatic phrase “one taken and the other left” (Matt. 24:40-41; Luke 17:34-35).
These days, a Creator Who made the heavens, Earth, plants, creatures and people is scoffed at by many, including ever more in the Body of Messiah. But this week’s Torah portion, בְּרֵאשִׁית B’reisheet (“In the beginning,” Genesis 1:1-6:8), reminds us why Yeshua (Jesus) taught that this is important real history undergirding our faith.
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).
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.
“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.
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).