Updated: Oct 11
[22-28 Sept 2024]
Theme of the Book of Deuteronomy:
Possessing the Promised Land
Meaning of "nitzavim" = "standing"
Meaning of "vayeilech" = "he went"
This week's Torah portions:
Sunday: Deuteronomy 29:9-28
Monday: Deuteronomy 30:1-6
Tuesday: Deuteronomy 30:7-14
Wednesday: Deuteronomy 30:15-31:6
Thursday: Deuteronomy 31:7-13
Friday: Deuteronomy 31:14-19
Shabbat: Deuteronomy 31:20-30 & Isaiah 61:10-63:9
Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:
2 Chronicles 13-18
This week's portion is quite a long one, but I want to encourage you to make you way through it bit by bit - as it holds so many wonderful nuggets of revelation!
It's the third last portion of this year's reading cycle. This week’s portion is a double portion again. It’s the last double portion of this year’s reading cycle. Some years these portions are read together and other years they are read in two separate weeks – depending how long the harvest year is.
Just like with the other double portions, we'll take a look at each one of these two portions separately.
Firstly, we'll take a look at Nitzavim... Nitzavim is the Hebrew word for “to stand / standing.” In this week’s portion, we read about 4 very important principles in the Jewish faith walk. Before you run away after reading the dreaded J-word. May I remind you that I am not Jewish, nor do I practice Judaism.
A while ago I did a short video on where the Jews come from to clarify this concern. If you haven’t watched that video yet, you can do so here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Renjrvnxvw&t=225s
When people start to observe the Bible as a whole, many religious people think that you have gone over to Judaism. The Jews consist of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin - hence the term Judaism. The biblical principles are not Jewish. It was, is and forever will be Abba's principles! The major reason why people are quick to label it as Jewish is because the Jews are actually still keeping Abba's instructions. But the fact is that His instructions still apply to each one of us today if we say that we are believers in Yeshua the Messiah.
So back to our torah portion again, we see that the difficult part of our journeys is not to get to the promised land, but to actually stay there! Surely the years in the desert was nothing easy. But the real challenge came in when they entered the promised land. The hard part is not to find out what our calling is. The hard part is to stick to that calling once we have found out what it actually is!
In our fleshliness / carnal mindedness, we are always looking for the next best thing, something new or exciting, etc. When we are focus on the earthly things / things of the flesh, we often end up moving "out of the promised land" again and away from the promises which Abba has in store for us.
Moses was still addressing the Israelites in this portion. He shared with them the 4 important principles they had to grasp as children of God.
1st Principle: (Deut 29:10-15)
Moses spoke to all who stood before him collectively, once again implying the importance of unity and community. We don't have to look to far to see that in today's world, there is way more division between people than there is unity.
From a Hebrew perspective; words don't only have meaning or definition. It also includes action. Thus, whenever a biblical principle is given, there's always a part which requires action from your side to fully "understand" the concept.
From a Greek/Roman perspective; words are understood based on the definition of the word. Thus no action is directly linked, but might still sprout forth.
Hebrew language and understanding are a much richer than Greek/Roman. Greek/Roman understanding is linked to the definition of words. Thus, in effect we could say that concepts, ideas, ideology, etc are placed in boxes.
The world we live in today is greatly influenced by Greek/Roman thought patterns and ideology. Hence why we are all so prone to placing people and situations into boxes. Boxes of our limited understanding. And we act from that limited understanding.
In Greek/Roman ideology or thinking everyone should think the same and act the same. But that's not Abba's heart for us whatsoever!
In our worldly driven mindsets, we (me included) don't like it when people differ from us. But Moses reminded the Israelites that this is not the limited mindset that they should have! The same applies to us still!
Abba is calling us to a place of spiritual maturity. We don't all have to think and be a like, then Abba would have created us that way. He desires for us to walk in unity despite of our differences. Unity is not uniformity.
People who are spiritually immature or held in bondage, will always feel that those who are seeking unity are seeking uniformity. Which reminds us of the importance of having discernment but also the importance of emotional healing – to ensure that we do not unknowingly operate from our wounds.
As long as we live with a mindset that everyone has to fit into a certain box of our limited understanding, it makes life uncomfortable for you and those around you.
Abba wants us to get to a place where we are willing to heal from our emotional wounds, in order for us to be able to pursue unity (not uniformity).
Unity means that we can differ from one another BUT we have the same vision.
Many times when someone who has walked the road of emotional healing start to press on the importance of unity to those around them (such as friends and family) – they (the friends/family) would see it as a call for uniformity. You see, the big thing that happens when you go through emotional healing, is that you are able to see beyond the veil of your wounds. You get to a point where you can start to see the bigger picture that Abba has planned all along and it changes your vision!
You cannot get to a place of unity without going through emotional healing! You might think that you have unity when your soul is unredeemed, but truth is that “unity” without emotional healing is just dictatorship! You cannot pursue the same vision as someone who has gone through emotional healing – because you are literally veiled and unable to see (re-eh) that vision! And THAT is why unhealed people think that it’s a call to uniformity. We need to pray and ask Abba to lift the veils of our wounds from our spiritual eyes as we go through the process of emotional healing – so that we can get the vision which He intended for us to have!
When we have the same heavenly vision – THEN we can pursue unity!
We need to get the place where we pursue unity, where we pursue the same vision and the same values!
How we pursue that same vision and values can and will differ from person to person. Abba intended for it to be that way! He can be busy working with me in a certain way and with you in another way – yet He is busy with both of us – towards that same vision.
Disclaimer… Yes, He can and will work in me and you. But He can only do that when we surrender to Him and apply His principles. He can’t work with us as long as we are unwilling to change and unwilling to go through emotional healing so that He can change our vision to see His bigger picture. The choice is in our hands.
Pursuing unity does not mean that our convictions must be on the same level. They must be in the same direction, but not on the same level. Abba deals with each one of us differently and takes us deeper into different things in different seasons.
Abba is looking for people to be one in Him – within our own individual callings and uniqueness as He created us.
In Psalm 133:1-3 we read “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”
Firstly, we see that there’s anointing. Anointing is always linked to oil and thus the menorah which was the light in the tabernacle. Thus, where there is unity, there is light. Secondly, we see that there is blessing. And thirdly, we see that there is life everlasting/evermore. The entire theme of the Torah is about pursuing life! Abba’s heart for us is to live in the rhythm of His appointed times so that we can be blessed and have a harvest.
Thus, where there is unity there is light, blessing/harvest and life! These three concepts are confirmed over and over again throughout the Torah (and the rest of the Bible for that matter)!
We can differ from one another in our opinions and approaches, but when we are spiritually mature, we can do so without getting personal.
If we want to experience Abba’s blessing & harvest in our lives – we have to pursue unity (1st principle).
2nd Principle: (Deut 29:16-30:10)
The second thing Moses told the Israelites was a warning. He warned them that they would be exiled from the promised land if they disobeyed Abba’s instructions. His prophecy didn’t end there though. He also told the Israelites that they would return to the land after the exile.
Moses spoke to them, bringing bad news (exile because of disobedience) but from a redemptive point of view (the fact that they could return to the promised land if they repented for their disobedience).
Yeshua came to die for each one of us. Thus, this portion is a reminder to all of us that we should never live with an “exclusion” mindset. It’s not for us to decide whether someone is lost or not. We should live in such a way that those who are lost can come back to God; and those who already follow Him – that they can grow spiritually.
From this part of the portion, we can learn that we always have to live from the principle of redemption. God’s heart will never be to cut people off for good/forever. His heart was, is and will forever be for redemption. His desire will always be for us to return to Him so that He can restore and redeem us.
If we believe that we are made in His image and His likeness, then we should also pursue this principle of redemption. The overhanging theme of the Torah is about pursuing life. Life is Abba’s heart for us. Without redemption, we cannot have the life He has planned for us. Therefore, we have to turn back to Him so that we can be restored and redeemed. And we should also treat others in such a way that they will realise that redemption is also available for them.
In Matthew 18:10-14 we read “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
This parable is also written in Luke 15:3-7.
Abba’s redemption is available to everyone who turns back to Him! Therefore, we must live from the principle of redemption (2nd principle).
3rd Principle: (Deut 30:11-14).
In verse 11 we read “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.” From this verse we can see that Abba’s instructions are practical instructions. They are not too difficult or too far fetched for us to live according to.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Abba will never put things in our paths that will tempt us beyond a point that we are equipped to handle it.
In Joshua 1:8 we read “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” This links so well to the 3rd principle.
In 1 John 5:3 we read “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” Being obedient to Abba’s instructions are not burdensome, it’s not hard to do. The only time when it’s hard to do is when it does not come from a place of love. His instructions are only difficult when we haven’t received revelation about it; when it hasn’t become a heart conviction.
We are not justified through adhering to the law. We are justified through the revelation we receive in our hearts when we pursue a relationship with Abba!
When we grasp this concept, we realise that it’s not about the letter of the law. But we are then actually obeying Abba’s instructions as an act of faith. The revelation which we receive might differ from the person next to you; based on the different journeys you have been on. It took God YEARS to bring each one of us to the place where we are today. Who are we then to judge someone else’s journey and how long it takes for them to get revelation! How can we expect Abba to have patience with us when we don’t have patience with others?
When we love Abba, we would want to be obedient to His instructions. When we are stuck in religion and don’t stand in a love relationship with the King of Kings, then we will find it burdensome to do what He asks of us. When we love Him, His instructions become our joy! We are not bound to the instructions by the letter of the law. We are connected to it through a love relationship, a heart conviction, an individualised faith journey! Abba meets each one of us exactly where we are in life.
What Abba asks us to do will always be do-able (3rd principle)!
4th Principle: (Deut 30:15-20)
In verse 19 we read “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”
This principle reminds us of the fact that we have freedom to choose. We have a choice between life and choice. The life we’ll live reflects the choices we make. Back to the topic of emotional healing which we have discussed earlier; if someone says that they don’t have to go through the process of emotional healing. It’s their choice. They don’t have to do it. Abba won’t force them. However, they would not be able to live in the blessings which Abba intends for them to live in.
It’s not our job to convince others. We have an obligation to share with others what Abba has revealed to us and to testify what He has done in our lives and set us free from. But what others do from that point onwards is completely up to them. If people don’t want to accept what we share with them, it’s up to them. As long as we do our part to share, what they do with that information is completely up to them. We should not get into arguments to convince them – as this will only cause disunity, breaking the 1st principle. We will all carry the consequences of our choices.
All too often people who do not choose life (i.e. go through emotional healing) say that it’s unfair that others (who has gone through emotional healing) live in blessing, yet they live in curse. But our lives reflect our choices. Abba’s Word never changes. We have a choice between life and death, blessing and curse. If we are not living in the blessing which He has in store for us – we must realise that there is something blocking that blessing in our lives. And it’s our responsibility to find out what that is and get healing and breakthrough for it. No one else can do it for you!
The essence of all of this is about remaining teachable. We are all on a journey of growth and we can all learn from one another. We should be willing to share what we have learned, but also willing to listen to that which Abba has taught others. AND we must be willing to acknowledge when we have been wrong or believed the lies of the enemy before we have received revelation on some matters.
We are all called for different callings and different purposes. And altogether we form the Body of Yeshua. The way we live should be an open invitation for others to say that they also want what you have!
Now we get to Parashat Vayeilech. Remember that in some years, when the harvest seasons are longer – this portion is sometimes read on its own in the week after Parashat Nitzavim.
In this portion we read about the actual day of Moses’s death. Moses recalled his last day on earth as well as his early years. In Deuteronomy 31:1 we read that Moses was 120 years old the day which he died and that he was no longer able to “come out or go in.” Remember that 2 week’s ago out portion was called Parashat Ki Teitzei which means “when you go out” and last week’s portion was Ki Tavo which means “when you go in.”
There are several characters in the Bible which were a type and a shadow of what the Messiah would be – Moses was probably the biggest example thereof in all of the Old Testament.
Abba gave mankind the earth to live on for 120 years.
As we made our way through the Torah, we saw that there are three types of agricultural years. The first one is a normal agricultural year – from annual harvest to annual harvest. The second one is a shmita year – which is a seven-year period – three years plus three years plus on sabbatical year. And the third agricultural year is a jubilee – which is a fifty-year period – seven shmita years plus one sabbatical year.
What is an agricultural year? The agricultural year is based on the annual harvest cycles. Thus, it’s the same cycle on which the Torah readings run! It starts every year roundabout September / October and runs to the next year September / October. Remember that the original biblical calendar does not work like the Gregorian calendar (the one that we are using: January, February, etc) does. Each physical agricultural year goes through four seasons of rest. Winter, Spring, Growth, Harvest.
From this understanding we obviously know that it’s not physically 120 years, because there have been many cycles of 120 years already. Thus, we have to look at it from a biblical perspective to understand what Moses said.
Then, from basic history we also know that it can’t be 120 shmita years. As that adds up to only 840 years. We all know that the earth has existed for much longer than 840 years.
Thus, it only leaves one option left. A jubilee. In other words, 120 years x 50 jubilees – which gives us 6 000 years. This concept fits into what we read in the rest of the Bible!
When Moses said that he could no longer go out and come in and that he has reached 120 years – he referred to 120 jubilee cycles. Remember that in earlier blog posts, we have said that the jubilee year is about a year of restoration. Everyone had to be restored to their original inheritance in the year of jubilee. Moses shared with the Israelites that after these 120 jubilees, that there will be no more time for restoration once those 120x 50 cycles have run out.
It’s amazing to comprehend that each and every person is considered to be able to experience at least one jubilee in their lives. If we become 70/80 years old, we would get to experience at least one jubilee during our lives! How incredible is it that it was all part of Abba’s design for us - to experience His redemption - at least once in our lives!
There is not a single generation who can say that haven’t had an opportunity for restoration! Each one of us have that opportunity. Linking to Parashat Nitzavim which said that we have a choice between life and blessing OR death and curse.
In this portion we also read that Moses transferred his leadership to Joshua. He also handed over the Torah, first 5 books of the Bible – which were all written by Moses – to the Levites. He gave the Levites instruction to safeguard the writings within the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle.
From Parashat Nitzavim we saw that Abba’s heart is for us to be redeemed and restored – but we have to make the choice. He is so gentle that He gives each one of us at least one jubilee, so that we could experience His restoration!
When Moses transferred his leadership onto Joshua, he also instructed the Israelites that they had to continue doing it – to ensure that the instructions are continuously passed onto the next generations. Moses understood that leadership does not mean position, but it actually means responsibility. The name of Joshua consists of mostly the same letters as Yeshua. Thus the fact that Moses transferred his leadership to Joshua, was also a prophetic act of Yeshua Who was still to come!
In this portion we also see that it was the king/leader’s responsibility to read the Torah to his people in the first year of a new shmita cycle. Thus, whenever we read in the Bible that a king read the Torah to his congregation/nation – we know that it was the first year of a new shmita cycle!
Detail is so so so important to Abba! We see that all throughout the Torah, but also in the rest of the Bible!
This little nugget of the king reading the Torah to his people in the first year of the new shmita cycle, is not where it all stops! The reason why the king read it, was because of his responsibility as a leader. To be a leader, you first have to do the work yourself – before you can teach it.
We all have a responsibility to do the work which Abba requires from us ourselves. But then also to teach others what we have learned and help them to learn and grow as well. Wherever you find yourself in life – your house, your workplace, your community – Abba is calling you to teach and share with those around you that which you have learned and what Abba has done for you in your life!
We also see in this portion that Moses (for the third time) stated / prophesied that the children of Israel would turn away from Abba’s instructions. That’s the sad part. Luckily there is also a good & joyous part connected to it! Moses also stated that the Word of the Torah would not be forgotten.
Abba confirms in this portion that His Word will forever and ever remain steadfast! It will never cease to exist and carry value!
If we had to give a theme to this portion, it would be about bringing the community together and teaching them that through Yeshua, we all have the opportunity to experience redemption. We are called to not only teach it to our generations, but also to the generations to come!
We have a responsibility to bring the message of Abba’s redemption to the next generations so that they would know that they can be redeemed and restored. And since Abba’s Words will never change, the next generation would also be enabled to pass on the good news to the generations that comes from them!
When we come to the end of the 6000 years which the earth was given to mankind – there will be no more time for redemption and restoration. We should live with an urgency to ensure that we are ready for Yeshua’s Second Coming. However, we should not only focus on getting ourselves ready. We should also equip and help those around us to also get ready for the coming of our Bridegroom, Yeshua the Messiah!
Just before Yeshua ascended to heaven, He told His disciples to go and make disciples and to teach others to observe everything which Yeshua told them. It’s the exact same message which Moses gave many years prior.
The message is still just as valid today as it was in the days of Moses and in the days when Yeshua walked the earth!
We have a big opportunity, but also a massive responsibility which we have to share with and teach others that which Yeshua has taught us!
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Portion 45: Nitzavim / Vayeilech (The blog you are reading now)