Nothing is something
Nitzavim (Standing) D’Varim (Deut.) 29:9-30:20
Haftorah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
I read a very interesting essay about our Torah portion this week. I would like to share with you some of the thoughts that arose from this reading.
What do you believe is the point of our faith? Is it life on earth or death and being in heaven? There is a famous quote from a book about Sherlock Holmes that might help us find an answer to my question. “I draw your attention”, he said to Dr. Watson, “to the curious incident of the dog at night.” “But the dog did nothing at night,” said Watson. “That,” said Holmes, “is the curious incident.” Sometimes to know what a book is about you need to focus on what it does not say, not just on what it does say.
This brings us to the question of what is missing from the Torah? Consider the cultures and peoples of this time period. The Egyptians, for example, were obsessed by death. The most famous book to come down to us from their time is, “The Book of the Dead.” The pyramids were giant tombs or portals through which, the Egyptians believed, the soul of the dead Pharaoh could ascend to heaven and join the immortals. In this way it was thought they lived on.
In the Torah there is nothing like this. The Jews believed in life after death for sure. They believed in the resurrection of the dead. However, these ideas hardly appear in Torah. We as the grafted in ones come from this background. We believe that Yeshua died, was resurrected and sits at the right hand of the Father. We believe that our faith is not about striving for the world to come but is much more focused on life and how we as G-d’s people are to live out our days. Each day we are faced with the choice of Deut. 30:15, 19 choosing life not death, choosing the blessing and not the curse.
Our walk is to be consumed with doing and living G-d’s will every day. We defeat death by living our life as part of the covenant we entered into when we turned to the L-rd. We defeat death by realizing we have become part of this covenant that has been handed down to us. Moshe said in Deut. 29:13-14, “But I am not making this covenant and this oath only with you. Rather, I am making it both with him who is standing here with us today before Adonai our G-d and also with him who is not here with us today.” Notice the last words, “ with him who is not here with us today.” Our goal each day should be to live in such a way that our faith is passed on to our children. We should also live our life in a way that acquaintances and friends would want to be a part of this covenant by seeing how we live our life in front of them.
Our lives should always be focused on life in the here and now, allowing G-d to work through us. Heaven will take care of itself. As I have read almost through the Torah this year, as well as Messianic writings, it has been apparent to me that how we go through each day is what really matters. Ours is a faith that is concerned with today and how we live. That is what matters.
I write all of this to encourage each of you to do G-d’s will today, tomorrow and everyday so that those children not yet born will be able to see G-d in what each of us have left behind. There is no better goal for us all to hold up in front of us in our life. G-d’s word points us to life not death.
These coming holidays are the perfect opportunity to reexamine your life, to refocus your attention on what is most important. Shana Tova to each of you. Monday evening is Erev Rosh Hashana. May our Heavenly Father bless you with peace and a renewed determination to live each day to its fullest by doing His will.