‘Parsha Devarim’ - Believe and trust almighty G-d

“Moses began to explain this law, saying, “The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighbouring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers--to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--to give to them and their descendants after them.’ ” ” (Deuteronomy 1:5-8)

The ‘parsha’ (‘Torah’ portion) this week is ‘Parsha Devarim’ (Words) – found in Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22; the corresponding ‘haftorah’ (reading of the prophets) is found in Isaiah 1:1-27.
‘Parsha Devarim’ is the 44th weekly ‘Torah’ portion in the annual Jewish cycle of ‘Torah’ reading, and the first in the book of Deuteronomy.

The book of Deuteronomy is not just a repeat of Exodus and Leviticus, rather it is the summary of a G-dly heritage; a record of G-d’s faithfulness to Israel during forty difficult years.
Deuteronomy is also the final pronouncement of a great leader, Moses.

On the first of the Hebrew month of Shevat, 37 days before his death, Moses began his repetition of the ‘Torah’ to the assembled children of Israel, reviewing the events that occurred and the laws that were given in the course of their forty year journey from Egypt to Sinai to the Promised Land.
Moses rebuked the people for their failings and iniquities, and commanded them to keep the ‘Torah’ and observe its commandments in the land that G-d was giving them as an eternal heritage; the land into which they would cross after his death.

Moses recalled his appointment of judges and magistrates to ease his burden of meeting out justice to the people and teaching them the word of G-d. He also recalled the journey from Sinai through the wilderness and the sending of the twelve spies to spy out the Promised Land.
He then recalled how ten of the spies persuaded the children of Israel that they would not be able to conquer the “giants who dwelt in the land”; this caused the people to spurn the promise of G-d - that he had given the Promised Land into their hands.
Moses reminded them that, because they did not believe G-d - even though G-d’s presence went before them in a pillar of fire by night and in a cloud by day, G-d decreed that the entire generation of the Exodus would die out in the desert, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb.
Moses then told the people that G-d was also angry against him “for their sakes” and because of His anger, G-d decreed that Moses would not enter the Promised Land.

Moses told the congregation that G-d had spoken to him, saying that the children of Israel had gone around this mountain long enough, and that the time had come for them to enter the Promised Land.

Moses also recounted some of the more recent events: The refusal of the nations of Moab and Ammon to allow the Israelites to pass through their countries; the wars against the Amorite kings Sichon and Og; and the settlement of their lands by the tribes of Reuben and Gad and part of the tribe of Manasseh.
Finally, Moses recounted his message to his successor, Joshua, who would take the people into the Promised Land and lead them in the battles for its conquest.
Moses ends this ‘Parsha’ by saying to them that he commanded Joshua saying: “‘Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings; so will the LORD do to all the kingdoms through which you pass. You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.’ ” (Deuteronomy 3:21-22)

‘Haftorah Devarim’, found in Isaiah 1:1-27, is the third of a series of three ‘haftarot of affliction’. These three ‘haftarot’ are read during the three weeks of mourning for Jerusalem, between the fasts of 17 Tammuz and 9 Av.

Isaiah relays to the Jewish people a G-dly vision he experienced chastising the residents of Judah and Jerusalem for having rebelled against G d and criticizing them for repeating their errors and not abandoning their sinful ways - even after having been reprimanded and punished by G-d.
Isaiah uses harsh words, comparing the Jewish leaders to the rulers of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In this ‘haftorah’, G-d states his distaste for their sacrifices and offerings which were ‘flavoured with pagan customs’.

Isaiah then speaks gentler words, encouraging the people to repent sincerely and to perform acts of justice and kindness towards the needy, orphans and widows, promising them the best of the land in return for their obedience.
The ‘haftorah’ concludes with a promise that G d will eventually re-establish Israel's judges and leaders, when “Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her penitents with righteousness.” (Isaiah 1:27).

There are a number of lessons that we can learn through ‘Parsha Devarim’.

The first lesson is: Don’t keep going around the mountain.
Because of Israel’s unbelief in G-d’s ability to bring them into the Promised Land - despite the size of the inhabitants in the land - they went ‘around the mountain’ for forty years.
This same principle applies today. Many times we don’t see an answer to prayer or a breakthrough in a particular situation because of unbelief or disobedience.
We pray the same prayer over and over again and see no change and, like the children of Israel, we keep going around the mountain.
One may ask: “How many times must I go around the mountain?” The answer is: “As many times as it will take to learn to trust and obey G-d.”
So, if you learn to trust and obey G-d, it will not be necessary for you to ‘keep going around the mountain’. 

The second lesson is: G-d Himself fights for you.
G-d has always promised to fight Israel’s battles for her; we see this in the following scriptures:
Exodus 14:13-14: “And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.””
Deuteronomy 3:22: “You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.”
Joshua 23:9-10: “For the LORD has driven out from before you great and strong nations; but as for you, no one has been able to stand against you to this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.”

To this day G-d is fighting for Israel, and the same G-d who fights Israel’s battles will fight your battles – if you allow Him to. You need to trust and obey G-d as He fights your battles; you need to allow Him to direct and guide you; you need to allow His will to be done in your life and surrender your own will to Him.

The third lesson is: G-d is faithful.
There is a song that is sung: “What a faithful G-d have I, what a faithful G-d; what a faithful G-d have I, faithful in every way.”
Another song declares: “Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness; morning by morning new mercies I see…”
How true these two songs are; G-d is so faithful.

G-d has been faithful to His covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He has faithfully given the land of Israel to “their descendants after them” – the Jewish people.
He has been faithful to the Jewish people and Israel – never letting them down, even in the face of their disobedience. In fact, to this day, G-d’s faithful hand is on Israel, and He is faithfully returning the Jewish people to the Promised Land - just as He promises in His Word. He is also faithfully gathering in His Jewish remnant to salvation.

And G-d is faithful to you, He will never let you down. Deuteronomy 7:9 declares: “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments”
In all situations, trust G-d and be obedient to His will for you.

There is one battle that you cannot fight on your own; that is the battle for your soul. And it is here, where we see G-d at His most faithful – John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

G-d has, through His Son Yeshua, been faithful to forgive your sins through the work of the cross. He is also faithful to grant you eternal life in heaven, through the death and resurrection of Yeshua.
All you need do is believe in the death and resurrection of Yeshua; confess your sins and repent of them; receive His forgiveness and invited Yeshua to be your L-rd and Saviour.
To do this, all you need do is pray the prayer of salvation found at the end of this article.

To my Jewish brothers and sisters, this applies to you as well. None of your good deeds or charity will grant you the forgiveness of sin or eternal life in heaven. Only through faith in Yeshua can your sins be forgiven you and eternal life in heaven be granted to you.
In fact, allow me to ask you a question: How do you make atonement for your soul?

Leviticus 17:11 tells us that the only way to the forgiveness of sin and eternal life in heaven is through the sacrificial system and the shedding of blood - “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
However, there is no temple; therefore there is no sacrificial system. Because there is no sacrificial system, there is no shedding of blood; how, then, can you make atonement for your soul?
Scripture records that Yeshua was the perfect sacrifice. He died on the cross, shedding every last drop of His blood, thus taking our sins upon Himself, guaranteeing all who believe in His death and resurrection and who invite Him to become L-rd of their lives, eternal life in heaven.

I am not asking you to stop being Jewish and follow another religion. I do, however, want to encourage you to have a personal, intimate relationship with the Jewish ‘Mashiach’ - Yeshua.

In conclusion, don’t go around the mountain over and over again; don’t be like the ten spies who did not believe in and trust G-d’s faithfulness. Be like Joshua and Caleb; be like the great Jewish leader, Moses, and believe G-d for your situation; then trust Him to bring it to pass.
We love you.
Shalom.
Scripture of the week: Deuteronomy 3:18-21: ““Then I commanded you at that time, saying: ‘The LORD your God has given you this land to possess. All you men of valour shall cross over armed before your brethren, the children of Israel. But your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall stay in your cities which I have given you, until the LORD has given rest to your brethren as to you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them beyond the Jordan. Then each of you may return to his possession which I have given you.’ And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings; so will the LORD do to all the kingdoms through which you pass.” ’ ”


SALVATION PRAYER

Thank you Yeshua for Your love for me.
Thank you for giving up Your life on the cross for me and for taking my sins upon Yourself.
I confess that I have sinned.
I repent of my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.
I invite You to come into my life as my Messiah, my Saviour.
By Your grace I will serve You all the remaining years of my life.

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