Torah Portion: Vayelekh (He Went) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 31:1-30
Haftorah Reading Hosea 14:1-10, Micah 7:18-20, Joel 2:15-27
Tonight, our Torah reading covers only one chapter in D’Varim. In Judaism this Shabbat is known as Shabbat Shuva because it is the last Shabbat before Yom Kippur. The word shuva means repentance. This time of year calls us to remember, to think back over our life, over the last year and set right anything that stands between us and the Father or anything between us and another person. According to the Jewish faith, on Yom Kippur the book is closed. In the Messianic scriptures we see the same thought in Revelations 20:15. I would pray for all of us to use this time in G-d’s calendar to take a spiritual inventory and set right those things that need our attention.
Now to our scripture for this week. In my question this week I should have included a couple of verses. Let’s read verses 6-8 and see what we can find that can apply to our life today. Here in our verses Moshe is speaking to the people on the last day of his life. In verses 1-5 he reminded the people of all G-d had done for them and what He would do when they cross over into the Land. I think this is important for us too. Remember what G-d has done for you in your life as you face the challenges of today. Did He ever fail you or forsake you? No. He has not. Remember His faithfulness when you come into challenges. In verse 6 we read where Moshe told the people to be strong and of good courage for G-d would not fail them or forsake them. In fact, He would go with them.
In Hebrew the words for strong and courage are Chazak-strong and ametz – courage. How do these words differ in meaning? Chazak means physical strength. We are to stand up for what is right. We are to take a stand. Ametz means more of a continuing standing, enduring until the battle is won.
We all are called to these same two qualities. To take a stand and to continue in that until the battle is won. How do we do that? We are able because the L-rd will not fail us or forsake us. As long as we stand with the L-rd and not on our own desires He will not fail us or forsake us. He goes before us and is with us.
In our verses we further read where G-d told the people that they were not to fear (irah in Hebrew) the people in the Land. Another word used in verse 6 is the Hebrew word Ahratz. This word in Hebrew means to tremble as they confront the people in the Land. How are they not to fear or tremble? How are we also not to fear or tremble before the challenges we face in our lives?
The answer lies in the next few words in verse 6. The word is Irpha, translated in English as not fail. G-d will not fail you or more precisely, He will not let you fall or be taken out of His Hand. Our trust must be in Him. No power on this earth or of the devil can overpower Him. He is above all. The last word of this verse is the Hebrew word yazvah. That word translated to English is forsake you. It has a stronger meaning in Hebrew. It can mean He will not let you go. He will hold you tightly in His Hand.
As we read these promises of G-d to Israel we can apply them also to our spiritual lives. As G-d’s children we can hold on to these words. G-d will never leave us. He will always hold us in His Hand. It does however, require that we walk faithfully before Him, living our lives as His people and following His will for our lives. In the Messianic Scriptures we see the Messiah expressing some of these same thoughts. In Mark 16:7 we read, “Go tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee.” We are assured that He is still going before us to be our guide and light on our journey of faith.
The Father goes with us and before us as we face life’s struggles. We are never alone. He sent the Messiah as our example, as our guide. As we read these verses each year we should always remember how they form the foundation of the Messianic Scriptures and give us a deeper understanding of what G-d is saying to us. A good example is found in Hebrews 13:5-6. We read, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. The L-rd is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me.” Do these verses sound familiar?
Bless each of you this week with the assurance that you are held in the strong Hand of G-d Almighty.