(In a regular year, read with Parashah 51; in a leap year read separately.)
“Moshe went and spoke the following words to all Isra’el: ‘I am 120 years old today. I can’t get around any longer; moreover, Adonai has said to me, You will not cross this Yarden’” (Deuteronomy 31:1-2).
Moshe is now 120 years old and isn’t as ‘young’ as he used to be. He knows he will not cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. He promises Isra’el that Adonai will go ahead of them and defeat each nation they encounter. He tells them to be bold and not to be afraid because Adonai will never fail or abandon them.
Moshe kept writing the words of Torah in a book until it was completed. He gave it to the cohanim, the descendants of Levi, who carried the Ark of the Covenant. He told them to put the book next to the Ark as a testimony to the stubbornness of the people. At the end of every seven years, at the sh’mittah, when Isra’el gathered for Sukkot, he told them to read the words of Torah for all Isra’el to hear. Along with all the foreigners in their cities, they were to hear, learn, and fear Adonai. They were to guard all the words of Torah in order that future generations would learn to fear the Elohim of Isra’el.
The sh’mittah was specifically given for the land of Isra’el, but there were foreigners whose sustenance came from the land, too. As followers of Messiah, our sustenance also comes from Adonai and the sh’mittah is the perfect year to be thankful for all the spiritual provisions that we receive from Isra’el. Adonai is our Provider and through Isra’el, we reap the blessings of their labors.
“The people of Isra’el! They were made God’s children, the Sh’khinah has been with them, the covenants are theirs, likewise the giving of the Torah, the Temple service and the promises; the Patriarchs are theirs; and from them, as far as his physical descent is concerned, came the Messiah, who is over all. Praised be Adonai for ever! Amen… For if the Gentiles have shared with the Jews in spiritual matters, then the Gentiles clearly have a duty to help the Jews in material matters” (Romans 9:4-5, 15:27).
Hear, Fear, Learn, Guard, Obey
These five words outline the teachings of Torah. First, we are to hear them. In order to hear them, they must be spoken as they were in the days of Moshe and read aloud as with the first-century church. Once we hear Torah read, a reverent fear of Adonai should come into our hearts and minds. This being a journey of wisdom that includes learning the commandments, teaching them to our children as we sit at home, walk along the road, lie down or rise up. Guarding Torah means to preserve and protect it. The Jewish people have guarded the Torah with their lives for millennia so that we have the D’var Elohim today. The Dead Sea Scrolls, preserved in clay jars by the Essenes at Qumran, prove the words of Torah and the prophets are the same today as they were 2000 years ago. Finally, obeying Torah should be goal for which we aim. We should allow Torah to convict us of sin, corrected us, train us in righteous living so we are fully equipped for every good work now and in the Messianic Era (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
“But how can they call on someone if they haven’t trusted in him? And how can they trust in someone if they haven’t heard about him? And how can they hear about someone if no one is proclaiming him? And how can people proclaim him unless God sends them? — as the Tanakh puts it, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those announcing good news about good things!’” (Romans 10:14-15)
Hebrew Word Pictures
Hear or shema – שמע – shin, mem, ayin
– consume the mighty, understand
Learn or limod – למוד – lamed, mem, vav, dalet
– urges forward the mighty binding of the pathway
Fear (Revere) or yirah – יראה – yod, resh, alef, hey
– finished work the highest authority, first strength behold
Guard (Preserve) or shomer – שמר – shin, mem, resh
– consume the mighty highest authority
Obey or shama – שמע – shin, mem, ayin
– consume the mighty and understand
Adonai Requests a Song
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh appears to Moshe in the Mishkan in the column of cloud that stood above the entrance. He tells Moshe that he is about to sleep with his ancestors, but the people of Isra’el will be unfaithful with foreign gods in the land where they are going. They will abandon Him and break covenant. In His anger, He will hide His face from them and they will be devoured. Many troubles will come upon them and they will realize that He has left them.
Adonai asks Moshe to write a song and teach it to the Israelites. They were to memorize the song as a witness against the people of Isra’el. The song would be a testimony to their descendants who would also learn the song. Moshe obeyed, wrote the song, and taught it to the children of Isra’el.
The word song in Hebrew is shir and means ‘sing.’ A derivation of shir is shiron meaning ‘breastplate’ or ‘body armor.’ The Song of Moshe that Isra’el learns and sings will become the armor over their hearts. It will protect them from the fiery arrows of the Adversary and the enemies who attack them in the Land.
The Commission of Y’hoshua
Y’hoshua is called to stand in the presence of all Isra’el. Moshe gives him words of encouragement; Adonai commissions him to lead Isra’el into the Promised Land.
“Be strong, be bold, for you are going with this people into the land Adonai swore to their ancestors he would give them. You will be the one causing them to inherit it. But Adonai – it is he who will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you; so don’t be afraid or downhearted” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8).
“Adonai also commissioned Y’hoshua the son of Nun with these words: ‘Be strong and full of courage; for you are to bring the people of Isra’el into the land about which I swore to them; and I will be with you’” (Deuteronomy 31:23).
Yeshua, the Commander
“One day, when Y’hoshua was there by Yericho, he raised his eyes and looked; and in front of him stood a man with his drawn sword in his hand. Y’hoshua went over to him and asked him, ‘Are you on our side or on the side of our enemies?’ ‘No,’ he replied, ‘but I am the commander of Adonai’s army; I have come just now.’ Y’hoshua fell down with his face to the ground and worshiped him, then asked, ‘What does my lord have to say to his servant?’ The commander of Adonai’s army answered Y’hoshua, ‘Take your sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Y’hoshua did so” (Joshua 5:13-15).
“As Yeshua entered K’far-Nachum, a Roman army officer came up and pleaded for help. ‘Sir, my orderly is lying at home paralyzed and suffering terribly!’ Yeshua said, ‘I will go and heal him.’ But the officer answered, ‘Sir, I am unfit to have you come into my home. Rather, if you will only give the command, my orderly will recover. For I too am a man under authority. I have soldiers under me, and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.’ On hearing this Yeshua was amazed and said to the people following him, ‘Yes! I tell you, I have not found anyone in Isra’el with such trust!’”(Matthew 8:5-10)
“Halleluyah! Adonai, God of heaven’s armies, has begun his reign! Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many royal crowns. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself. He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which he is called is, “THE WORD OF GOD.” The armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations — “He will rule them with a staff of iron.” It is he who treads the winepress from which flows the wine of the furious rage of Adonai, God of heaven’s armies. And on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:6, 11-16).
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