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D’Varim (Words) (Deut.) 1:1-3:22

: D’Varim (Words) (Deut.) 1:1-3:22

Haftorah Readings: Isaiah (Yesh’yahu) 1:1-27

Tonight we begin the final book of Torah. In Hebrew this book is named “D’Varim.” In English this word is “Words.” This word is found in the first verse of the first chapter. Here we read, “These are the words which Moshe spoke to all Israel.” This book consists mainly of a teaching given by Moshe over a month’s time on the East bank of the Jordan River, opposite Jericho. It is also mainly written with Moshe speaking in the first person.

In this book he primarily reviews or states again the Torah for the people. Remember, most of the listeners either would have not been born at the time G-d gave the Torah on Mt. Sinai or they would have been very young. This brings me to my main point of our study today.

In D’Varim/Deut. 1:30 we read these words, “The L-rd your G-d, Who is going over before you, He will fight for you like everything He did with you in Egypt before your eyes.” Right away this seems strange. As I just pointed out, most of these people were not slaves in Egypt. The few who might have been alive then would have been children. So what are we to make of this?

Moshe was speaking to the second generation of Israelites, gathered in the plains of Moab before they were to cross over into the Promised Land. Therefore, when we read verse 1:30 we have to understand this verse as Moshe’s encouragement to the people as he was reminding them, the same G-d who fought for your parents when they came out of Egypt is still here with you today and will fight for you too. He is saying this current generation is still G-d’s chosen people. The promises of G-d made to their parents still applied to the current generation. The G-d of Israel would fight for them. He would go before them when they entered the Land. The walls of Jericho would fall before them. The miracles G-d would do for them would be no less than the miracles He did for their fathers. So the words G-d spoke were true for them as they were when spoken to the earlier generation. When their mothers and fathers stood on the banks of the Reed Sea we read these words in Exodus 14:14, “The L-rd will fight for you, you have only to be silent. The L-rd shall fight for you.” G-d went before them and was their rear guard.

Moshe was calling on these people to remember what G-d did for their forefathers and He would do the same for them. What happened with their forefathers would happen again for them. Why did Moshe use this story, of nearly forty years ago now, just as they were standing ready to enter the Land? “Have no fear, stand by and see the deliverance which G-d will work for you today.” Exodus 14:13-14. Moshe was reminding the people that G-d was able to bring them into the land with the same power He demonstrated when he brought their parents out of Egypt.

It is an easy thing to do, to forget. When pressure rises in our lives it is not easy to stand our ground as G-d’s people. So here in our portion Moshe is encouraging them to remember what G-d has done for them. This is true for us as well, remember from where G-d has brought us.

In the Messianic Scriptures we see this same difficulty play out in Matthew 16:5-6. Here we read the story of Yeshua warning His disciples to be on guard against the attacks of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They then went cross the Sea of Galilee and we read in verse 5 the disciples forgot to bring bread for their meal. In verse 7 they seemed to think Yeshua, in His warning, was talking about their forgetfulness in not bringing bread for the trip. They were missing the point. In verses 8-12 we read Yeshua’s response to them. He seemed a bit frustrated that they had missed the point. He reminded them that physical bread was not the issue. Didn’t they remember the feeding of the five thousand or the feeding of the four thousand? The disciples were worried about the wrong thing. He was not talking about bread for their meal. If Yeshua could feed 5000 people with a few loaves of bread feeding the disciples would not be a problem. The read issues are the spiritual issues that would threaten them. This is the same in our lives. 

In our times today, who knows what tomorrow will bring. We are already going through a pandemic. It is easy to get caught up in worry, or brushing it off as nothing. Both of these reactions are not the correct response. We must hold on to the fact that G-d is with us.  He is never caught off guard. His arm is not short. We should live as responsible adults, doing everything we can to protect ourselves and others around us, but our faith is in our Heavenly Father. The real question we each have is not do we have the physical bread but are we standing on our faith in G-d and concerning ourselves with spiritual issues that might get us side tracked.

I fully expect our real challenges lie before us still. Now, in our world, we as the people of G-d stand in the minority. The time may come when we must stand up for G-d's truth and it may not be popular to do so. It may even cause us physical harm. If such times come our way will we get caught up in conforming, looking at the expediate thing to do rather than the right thing to do? May G-d give us all wisdom and a good memory of all He has done for us.

Please continue to pray for Pat and she battles the virus.