Torah Portion: Nitzavim (Standing) (Deut.) 29:9-30:20
HafTorah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
NT Romans 9:30-10:13; Hebrews 12:14-15
Before we really get into our study, I want to share something with you that I read this week. Israel became a state in May 1948. The Hebrew year when this occurred was 5708. Now to the interesting part: This week we read in Deut. 30:3, “The L-rd our G-d will bring you back from captivity and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where He has scattered you.” The article I read said this is the 5708th verse in Torah. If this is correct, and I didn’t count to see, what an orderly G-d we serve. Thousands of years ago G-d led Moses to speak this verse that would corresponds exactly to when the State of Israel would be formed. He is faithful, He is always faithful to Israel and to us. He is worthy of our trust, our love and faith in Him.
This brings me to one of my questions for the week that was found in this same verse. In our English translation it is usually translated as, “G-d will return your exiles.” Literally this should read, “G-d will return with your exiles.” What is the difference? Joseph hints at it in Genesis 48:21, where Joseph tells his brothers G-d will be with you. During their hard labor G-d was there, during everything G-d was/is there. Psalms 91:15 quotes G-d as saying, “I am with him in distress.”
G-d isn’t some uninvolved conductor of the choir who remains aloof from our perils and trials, rather He is with us. As our Father He is distressed when His children suffer. In fact He is right there with us and when we choose life, He is there to return with us. Isaiah 27:12 says, “And you will be gathered up, one by one, O children of Israel. In the New Testament we read in Hebrews 13:5, “G-d has said, ‘ Never will I leave you. In John 14:18 Yeshua says, “ I will not leave you as orphans.” From all this we can learn that G-d in a way, suffers when we suffer. He hurts when we hurt and He returns with us when we return. He is not far away but sticks closer than a brother. I would pray that each of us can hold on to this everyday, no matter what happens to us. He is there, not only in Heaven but right there with us loving us and caring for us.
So, later in this chapter Moses can say choose life. What does it mean to choose life? Is it a one time choice? What happens when later in our walk there are times when we choose death and not life? We can repent we can come to Him who loves us and acknowledge what we have done, take responsibility for it and ask for His forgiveness. This is choosing life and it happens everyday, everyday we are faced with situations which present us with a choice. May we always choose life.
This choice of life is something accessible to us all. In fact Moses speaks of it in D’Varim 30:14. Here he says, “For this thing is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart that you may do it.” Of course the question comes…What is this thing that Moses speaks of? Most commentators agree that Moses is speaking of love of G-d. Each of us is born with an innate love for G-d. Our decisions in life sometimes covers that love but it is still there. So for each of us it is in our heart from the beginning – a hunger for G-d – but life sometimes or our choices sometimes may obscure it.
However, somewhere sometime we all feel this longing for Him. We may choose death rather than life but I pray you choose life and that choice allows this love to blossom into actions that are motivated by that love for our creator. And this love moves us to live each day for Him who never leaves us. It probably will cause us to reassess how we live and what we do with our time but He is with us and loves us so our lives change from being self centered to being spent with the Lover of our soul. So I leave you with CHOOSE LIFE.