Grafted into joy and love
Torah Portion: V’Zot HaBrachah (And This is the Blessing) D’Varim (Deut.) 33-34
Haftorah Reading: Joshua 1:1-9
Today I want us to spend our time together discussing the last two chapters of Deuteronomy. This will be the last Torah portion of the year. This portion is usually read on Simchat Torah, a celebration that is held at the end of Succot. However, we will not be together on that day so rather than miss this reading, I want us to look at it today.
I pray that these holidays that are grouped together here in this one month have sharpened your spiritual senses. I pray you have been spiritually renewed and find you are not held so tightly by the things of this earth. We are in the world but truly not of the world. John 15:19, John 17:14-16 and Romans 12:2.
Our portion today describes the last days of Moshe’s life. He used his time well and ended his teaching of the people with the blessings we read in this portion. I want us to take a minute to look at three verses in his final speech. Look at Deut. 33:2-4. We read of Moshe talking about when G-d came down on Mt. Sinai and gave the Torah to Israel. He painted a beautiful and moving picture of this blessing. If we move on to verse 33:4 we read, “Moshe commanded us the Torah, an inheritance to the congregation of Jacob.”
When we look back at the verse between 2 and 4 we read, “He truly loves the people; all His holy ones are in your hands, and they sit down at your feet; everyone shall receive of your words.” The first words of verse 3 reveal a beautiful promise for us and for the world. These words in Hebrew are, “chovev amim.” Chovev means love in English. The more interesting word here is amim. The most common meaning for this word is nations or peoples. For us as believers today I think here, G-d spoke to us as non-Jews. He loves us. We were people without hope. But this verse gives us hope in that G-d loves all people as well as Israel. We were grafted into the Jewish people when we come to faith in the Messiah.
When we read the Messianic scriptures we see Yeshua and His disciples living their lives in a framework of their faith. They went to the local synagogue. They celebrated all the holidays. We as people who have put our faith in the Messiah can have a deeper understanding of who we are and who we were meant to be as grafted in ones. We can enrich our faith by participating in these Biblical holidays.
Our present holiday of Sukkot is a great example of this. In John 7 Yeshua and His disciples were in Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot. In fact, the entire chapter speaks of their visit. As we read the Messianic Scriptures we find examples of how Yeshua’s life revolved around the mission His Father gave Him to complete. That mission was influenced by His Jewishness. He taught from that back ground.
In Acts 2:7-11 we read of Yeshua’s disciples being in Jerusalem for Shavuot and many were added to their ranks. It should be clear to us that the calendar of G-d is important to us as believers. Without a good understanding of who we are as the grafted in ones we live our lives missing the other half of our story.
Jean and I arrived in Israel about forty years ago without a clue how this verse in Deut. 33:3 applied to us. We did not understand G-d’s promises to us because we knew very little of what the Hebrew scriptures had to say. Studying and experiencing what G-d was saying to us in His word in verses such as Deut. 33:3 opened our eyes to the depth of His love for us and who we are in Him.
Now that we do know, we have a mission to tell others and celebrate these holidays to their fullest. I pray each of you also have that desire and passion in your own lives.
Happy Sukkot and bless each of you in the name of Messiah Yeshua.