Parashat Nitzavim – When These Things Happen

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 in Teachings
Parashat Nitzavim – When These Things Happen

This is a message of hope, teshuvah (repentance/returning) and restoration.

[Read Deuteronomy 30]

(Vs. 1-5) The passage starts with saying “when all these things come upon you.”[1] Here Adonai is under no illusion about our state as human beings. We are broken and fallen with a tendency to walk away from Adonai, but this passage holds hope for us today. These things spoken through the mouth of Moses have come to pass. For almost 2000 years the Jewish people have been scattered throughout all the nations, even here in Australia, the very end of the earth. Adonai is declaring that if we return to Adonai then he will return to us. The call is to listen (and obey) what Adonai has spoken with all our hearts and souls. The promise is that not only will Adonai bring us into the land that he promised our fathers, but that he will also prosper us more than our fathers. Has this happened?

(Vs. 6) The promise goes on to say that Adonai will circumcise our hearts, that we might love Adonai with all our hearts and souls, with the goal being life! Rabbi Nachmanides points this passage to the New Covenant that is spoken of in (Jer. 31:31-37)[2]. This is the New Covenant that is ratified by Yeshua’s Blood when Yeshua said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you” (Lk. 22:20). (Also see Jn. 6:45. Rom. 11:27, Heb. 8:8-12, 10:16-17, 2 Cor. 3:3) The author of Hebrews does an in-depth study on the passage in Jeremiah 31. In (Heb. 8:6) we see the author saying that, “Yeshua has obtained a more excellent ministry, insofar as He is the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on better promises.” So we are beginning to see this happening in Israel, but it is not fully accomplished. We continue to hold the hope in (Zech. 12:10), that all Israel will be saved “when they will look toward Me whom they pierced [and] mourn for him as one mourns for an only son.” Teshuvah is coming to the whole house of David!

(Vs. 11-14) Moses continues with an interesting fact about Adonai’s word, and indeed this principle is throughout the entire Bible (2 Pet. 1:20). It says that Adonai’s word is “not too difficult” nor is it “difficult to understand”; it is “not in the heavens” nor is it “across the sea.”  Rabbi Hirsch comments that Adonai’s commands are not “‘too wonderful’ to understand and beyond one’s power to do; nothing abstruse (perplexing) or esoteric (secret), like the heathen mysteries. Rabbi Hertz goes on to say, that there is nothing in Adonai’s commands that is “out of reach [or] far removed from the sphere of ordinary life. … It is not something inaccessible or supernatural, making it necessary for man to scale the heights of heaven to find it and bring it down to earth.”[3] Dr. Grisanti mentions that Moses could be referring to “one’s ability to understand [the commands] … or to fulfil them,” but that the ultimate goal of this passage is that we obey these commands. Therefore, “The covenantal commandment is not so lofty and high that only a specially qualified person has access to it. It is not beyond Israel’s capacity. Their obedience does not require that someone first receive a special revelation to explain [Adonai’s] demands.”[4]  Sha’ul also uses this passage to show the simplicity of the Good News. Let’s turn to [Rom. 10:4, 8-11].

(Vs. 15-20) Moses now summarizes the book, while annunciating Adonai’s perspective on Free Will (vs. Determinism). While Determinism may not be a big issue in this group, it is held by Materialists, Atheists and Calvinists, and is the concept that all of our decision are only based upon our genetics and environment, or in the case of Calvinism, our decisions are based on God’s own choosing. This Scripture contradicts all those world views. We are commanded to love Adonai [our] God, walk in his ways, and keep his mitzvot, statutes and ordinance. The climax of this passage is, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” All of Judeo-Christian “ethics [are] rooted in the doctrine of human responsibility, that is, freedom of the will.”[5]  Adonai has set before each one of us a choice. Do we choose to love Adonai our God, listen to His voice, and cling to him? Or do we choose to go our own way?

Yeshua said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me.” (Jn. 14:1) Sha’ul says that we receive “the righteousness of God through [continually] putting trust in Messiah Yeshua” (Rom. 3:22) and that those of us who are “in Messiah” are a new creation, the old has passed away, and behold all things have become new! (2 Cor 5:17) Let us choose to be “in Messiah”, to abide in Him (Jn. 14), and clothed with his righteousness.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.

[2] Hertz, J.H., The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, 2nd Ed., Soncino Press, London, 1978, Pg. 881.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Grianti, M. A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Rev. Ed., Vol 2, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2008.         Pg. 766.

[5] Ibid, Pentateuch, Pg. 882.

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