This week’s Torah portion, 19th July, 2020 is taken from the book of Moses (by Miriam Wakefield)
“Deuteronomy” chapters 1 - 3 called in Hebrew “Devarim” - meaning “the Words” and it is one long address to the people by Moses. It is his last will and Testament as he reviews the last 40 years of wandering from Egypt to Sinai to the Promised Land-.
It is the history of their journey in which he inspires, and he rebukes the people for their failures and iniquities, and encourages them to keep the word of God and to observe its Instructions in the land that God is giving them for an eternal inheritance into which they shall enter after his death.
The older generation had all passed away and He is now speaking to the Joshua generation, all those born on the journey, to help them understand the history of their parents’ challenges and struggles. Like all good teachers, he reviews the key challenges making sure his class gets the most important parts of the lesson down pat focusing only on the main points.
He actually takes them on another journey back in time...
The Joshua generation were about to graduate from the “desert classroom” to the land flowing with milk and honey and Moses was making sure they were ready for their grand entrance focusing only on what he thought was important.
Moses will spend the next few days recounting their adventures in the desert, peppered with a bit of tender loving scolding and reminding them of all the ups and downs along the way... sometimes more downs than ups and for many of us - that’s life.
He encourages them to learn from past experiences as history tends to repeat itself. He encourages them to trust in God and everything will work out for the best - better than the best. He teaches them about keeping the Word of God and it’s commandments including the sabbath - take a day of rest. The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. It’s a gift to us, to keep it Holy and spend time with Him.
He also tells them not to get involved in idol worship and Moses warns them again and again of its dangers.
We learn about the blessings and the curses in Deuteronomy 28 when we keep His Word and he finishes up with the “Song Of Moses”.
Deuteronomy is a book of opposites; it contains sad stories of past mistakes and words of encouragement for a new time and a new place. It contains instructions on confession, repentance, and forgiveness.
The book of Deuteronomy is inspired by God but is in fact, Moses’ own words to the Nation. It contains everything we need to understand about our journey from our personal enslavement in the world, our Egypt, to receiving Jesus as our Lord and Saviour going through our Red Sea moment through the waters of baptism, and our battles along the way.
It tells us that if we keep His word in our lives, although there will be battles, the Lord our God is with us. When we are tempted and tried - that God will make a way where there seems to be no way. It’s an exciting journey when you know that the battle belongs to the Lord and that He is fighting for you, He will send His angelic armies to fight on your behalf if we ask Him, walk with Him and talk with Him. God wants relationship with us - Emmanuel means “God with us”. Moses cries out to God in a difficult situation and says, “if you don’t come with us, we won’t go”. God is our greatest encourager; He loves us and wants us to get through this journey called life until He takes us home. Yes, there are giants, but greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. The Jordan is a place of vision as I mentioned before, go on... take the first step... the fruit is enormous.
And when our time on earth is over and done, remember The Words - Devarim “I looked over Jordan and what did I say coming for to carry me home, a band of angels coming after me - coming for her to carry me home. Shabbat Shalom