Torah – Deuteronomy 29:10-30:20 Haftarah – Isaiah 61:10-63:9 Brit Chadashah – Romans 10:1-12
As we race towards the conclusion of another year on G-d’s calendar, we are finding ourselves nearing the end of the blessing of the month of Elul. We are also embarking upon the final parashot (portions) of Torah. In fact, these final portions all were written on the final day of Moshe’s life.
Nitzavim comes from the opening verse this week. “When you stand.” Yes, this is how Moshe (Moses) addressed the people of Israel just prior to their receiving their inheritance known as the Promised Land. But there are some implications of the word I want to make you aware of at this time, before we dig in to the meat of this week’s study.
Nitzavim doesn’t merely point to the physical act of standing upon one’s feet any old way. There is an uprightness to it. It speaks to me to the Holiness (set apart) of the people being addressed. It speaks to me of being at attention, as in a state of readiness.
I want you to see now how the opening verses speak to us even today as we approach the end of 2018 on our Gregorian calendar and the end of the year 5778 on the Hebrew calendar. We are all going to stand before the L-RD one day. The Fall Feasts of ADONAI point to this very event. Even now as court is being conducted in Heaven, we all, in essence, are standing before the King and Judge. We then enter into the ten Days of Awe when the King deliberates what his judgements will be upon every man, woman, child and nation for the coming year. Todah Rabah! Thank you very much to our Messiah Yeshua for His intervention on our behalf!
Deuteronomy 29:10-15, “All of you stand today before the L-RD your G-d: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, 11 “your little ones and your wives–also the stranger who [is] in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water– 12 “that you may enter into covenant with the L-RD your G-d, and into His oath, which the L-RD your G-d makes with you today, 13 “that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and [that] He may be G-d to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 14 “I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, 15 “but with [him] who stands here with us today before the L-RD our G-d, as well as with [him] who [is] not here with us today.” (NKJV)
There is much to glean from the verses above. I just want to point out that the Word makes it clear that G-d, through Moshe, is not just speaking to those people present at that time but to us here and now as well.
Let’s take a moment to also look at some very important verses that follow the above. They contain a sobering warning we need to hear in our time today just as much, if not more than they needed it back then.
Deuteronomy 29:16-20, “(for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, 17 and you saw their abominations and their idols which [were] among them–wood and stone and silver and gold); 18 “so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the L-RD our G-d, to go [and] serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; 19 “and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’–as though the drunkard could be included with the sober. 20 “The L-RD would not spare him; for then the anger of the L-RD and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the L-RD would blot out his name from under heaven.”
The verses warn that in part the reason they were brought through the nations that they had was to show them the evil ways of the peoples in those lands. They all had forms of godliness, in that they believed in and served “higher powers.” They engaged in all manner of filthiness and had great riches.
We are warned to stay away from such things. My attention is particularly drawn to the riches part! The reason is that our riches, for the most part, are promised in the world to come. Yes, there are certain blessings intended for this life as well, but they are all tied with the strict adherence to the Law (Torah.)
Verses 19 and 20 are particularly sobering. May all those asleep in the light (to borrow the title from Rabbi Cliff’s book) wake up soon! Shalom and may we all be sealed for a good and healthy and prosperous new year in HaShem (YHVH).