Torah Portion: Ha’azinu (Give Ear) D’Varim, Deut. 32:1-52
HafTorah: II Sam. 22:1-51
Tonight we look at “Song of Moses.” This is the next to last address he makes to the children of Israel before his ascent to Mount Nebo to die. He ends this song by reminding the people that these words, the Torah, is their life and it is to be taught to their children continually in the future.
Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When You Come) D’Varim, Deut. 26:1-29:8
HafTorah: Israel 60:1-22
This Torah section covers the blessings and curses that await the people depending on how they relate to the Father in the years ahead. I purpose that we can somewhat apply this to ourselves as well. What does G-d require of us in our walk with Him? In my first question this week I quoted Deut. 28:47. I asked you to tell me what this means to us and how do we acquire this joy in our lives. I got some very good answers to this and I appreciate them. Is joy or gloom a thermometer of our general situation in life? Does it measure our emotional feeling at any given time? What does scripture have to say? Read James 1:2. The real question comes in how we see G-d in the world around us. Do we see everything around us as an opportunity to express our joy for what He has done in our lives? Now in the good things this is usually no problem. But in those things that come to us that are difficult it is more difficult. Even in the good times we can get caught up in what we’ve done or we think we have to protect what we have by worrying or working harder and harder. In fact this verse says exactly that. They did not serve Him with joy when they had everything.
Torah Portion: Ki tetze (When You Go Out) Devarim Deut. 21:10-25:19
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:1-10
This week we look at “Ki Tetze or in English, when you go out. As you read this Torah section you will notice many commandments covering all areas of life. Some seem to have little or no relevance to our life today. However I would like us to look at several to see what we might be able to glean from them spiritually.
Torah Portion: Shoftim (Judges) Devarim Deut. 16:18-21:9
HafTorah: Isaiah 51:12-53:12
This particular Torah portion always comes during the month of Elul. In this section of scripture we read about cities of refuge where someone who had accidently caused the death of another could escape the avenger of blood. Elul is seen in the same light. It is seen as a month of repentance, a sanctuary in time for a person to have a dedicated length of time to examine his/her life in a concentrated way. A time where they can turn from their sins and missed opportunities and dedicate themselves to a renewed and closer walk with the Father. Of course we have the avenue of repentance and renewal available at any time. However this month brings our lives front and center for an extended period. So, I pray we each can and will take this time to lay everything open before the Throne and renew our relationship between us and our Father and between us and anyone we might have issues with in our lives. Take advantage of this city of refuge and allow G-d to speak with you.
Torah Portion: Re’eh (See) Devarim Deut. 11:26-16:17
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Tonight we read a section of Torah that speaks to many areas of our spiritual life. I pray you see it in that light. It is a guidebook on how to live each day of our walk both practically and spiritually. So let’s look at some things from these verses and see what they say to us.
Torah Portion: Va’etchanan (I Pleaded) Devarim Deut. 3:23-7:11
HafTorah: Isaiah 40:1-26
This Torah portion is filled with things that would take a life time to study. We will look at several in the minutes ahead. This Shabbat is known as the Sabbath of Comfort based on the prophet reading of Isaiah 40:1-26. It begins with, “Comfort, Comfort My people.” Tell me how we can comfort Israel, how we can comfort the Jewish people? There is no doubt this is required of us. Yeshua alluded to this in the New Testament where He tells us in Matt. 25:31-36 to comfort His people by feeding, clothing and visiting them in prison. In fact this is one of the reasons for the founding of Road to Zion Ministries. This is vitally important to us as believers. Is it enough to talk about how much we love Israel and the Jewish people or does it require us to do something, to take some action? Evangelism is not the only thing we should be doing. Yeshua says here He judges us by our actions toward His people. His people are the Jewish people. They are his brothers and sisters. For far too long we Christians have been the main source of pain and persecution rather than comfort. The time is drawing close at hand when our response to our Jewish neighbors will be called for. We are required to comfort. How will we respond?
Torah Portion: Devarim (Words) Deut. 1:1-3:11
HafTorah: Isaiah 1:1-27
First a few words about this fifth book of the Torah. It is the last book of the Torah. It is introduced with, “These are the words of Moses.” So in this book Moses speaks in the first person. In all the other books the pattern was, “G-d said.” Here it is, “I spoke.” Moses recounts the last 40 years in the desert. Remember all of those people were either not born yet or very young at the time of leaving Egypt. So Moses recounts some of the things that transpired in the wilderness. There were some things he does not mention which we may talk about in a few minutes. It took Moses over a month to deliver this farewell speech to the people. (remember he can see his own death here and senses the importance of what he is saying.)
Torah Portion: Matot (Tribes) & Masa’ei (Stages) (Bamidbar) Numbers 30:2-36:13
HafTorah: Jeremiah 1:1-2:28
NT Matt 5:33-37; James 4:1-12
This week we finish the book of Bamidbar (Numbers) by looking at the last two portions of the book. We are also in the third week of mourning marked by the 17th of Tammuz which commemorates the day when the Romans broke through the walls of Jerusalem and ending with the fast day of 9th of Av which was the day the Romans burned Herod’s Temple. The sages say this catastrophe occurred because of brotherly hatred where the religious hierarchy was caught up in arguing and fighting among themselves. This fighting spread to the people causing them to fight among themselves more than fighting with the Romans. This can be tied into our current Torah sections of oaths and vows found in Numbers 30:2-3. Here we see the importance of being true to our word. If we make a vow or oath using G-d as our witness, we are to do all that proceeds out of our mouth. There are a lot of examples of oaths and vows in scripture. Genesis 21:31 Abraham and Avimelech made an oath at Beersheva. In Genesis G-d takes an oath to bless Avraham. He swears by His own name. In Hebrews 6:16 we read where an oath given was the end of every dispute. The point being we are to be truthful people. We are required to keep our word even if it costs us something or is embarrassing to us. Nothing but the truth is expected from G-d people. The New Testament takes this further in that it teaches we should be so honest that our yes or no should be seen by those around us as sufficient. No further word should have to be given.
Torah Portion: Pinchas (Bamidbar) Numbers 25:10-30:1
HafTorah: I Kings 18:46-19:21
NT Matt 26:1-30, John 2:13-22, Acts 2:1-21
In this Torah portion we see another census being taken of the men 20 years old and up, who can go to war. In fact this census takes up Numbers 26:1-65, an entire chapter. For your information if we look at the census in Numbers 1 and compare it to this one at the end of their journey we notice the total number stays almost the same. Chapter I total was 603,550 and here in chapter 26 it is 601,730. Not much change in the total. However, when we look closer we see that seven of the 12 tribes went up in population and five went down. But the tribe of Shimon went from 59,300 to 22, 200. This is a drop of over 60%. What could have caused such a drop? Sages believe it may be connected with the sin of Zimri. The story of Zimri precedes this census. He belonged to the tribe of Shimon. Whatever the reason it began the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:7. The tribe of Shimon was eventually be absorbed by the other tribes of Israel.
Torah Portion: Balak (Bamidbar) Numbers 22-25
HafTorah: Micah 5:6-6:8
NT II Peter 2:1-22, Jude 11, Rev. 2:14-15
This week we look at a very interesting story. It concerns Balak, King of Moab and a Gentile prophet named Balaam. We read of the fear of Balak when he becomes aware of the approaching Israelites. Should he have been afraid? No. Why? The Moabites were descendants of Lot. In D’Varim (Deut) 2:9 G-d tells Israel they are not to disturb Moab because they are cousins and G-d has given them their own land. So actually Balak had nothing to fear. He just didn’t know it. How often we fear what has no real threat because we do not know who we are as G-d’s children. Balak’s response to Israel, in Numbers 22:3, is much like Pharaoh’s reaction in Exodus 1:9. Another parallel we see here is when Balak calls to Balaam in Numbers 22:6 he echoes G-d’s word to Abraham in Genesis 12:3. What is odd is that with Abraham, it is G-d who blessed. Here Balak thought this power rested with Balaam. In fact Balak seals his own fate by trying to curse Israel.