From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 4:45 PM
Due to a many people asking us to send out the Torah portion on Fridays
before Shabbat, we are continuing to do so.
This week’s Parsha (Torah Portion), is named Va’etchanan.
This portion of Scripture is read during the Shabbat (Saturday) morning
service in synagogues around the world. Enjoy!
Parsha VA’ETCHANAN (And I Pleaded)
Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11, Isaiah 40:1-26, Matthew 23:31-39
The Jordan River
This week’s Parsha begins with Moses’ remembrance of how he implored God
to allow him to enter the good land beyond the Jordan (Deuteronomy 3:23-27).
God refused, however, and instructed him to ascend a mountain so that he could
see the Promised Land.
The Promised Land was Moses’ dream, vision, and goal. And after all his hard
work, not only was he not allowed to enter, but he had to support his successor
Imagine his disappointment!
How should we respond when God says NO?
We desperately want something with all of our heart and soul. We plead with God
over and over again, but in the end, He refuses to grant our request.
We can learn how to respond to these situations from Moses and other great
When King David’s infant son from his adulterous affair with Bat Sheva became
gravely ill, David begged God to spare the child’s life. He fasted and prayed and
prostrated himself, face to the ground all night. (2 Samuel 12:16)
Nevertheless, the child died.
How did King David react to God’s decision?
When David learned that his child was dead, he picked himself up, washed and
anointed himself, changed his clothes, and went into the house of the Lord and
worshipped. Then he went home and ate something. (2 Samuel 12:20)
What a picture of submission to the will of God!
David realized that God in His wisdom had made His judgment. David accepted
God’s divine rule and sovereignty.
In the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant), we see another example of perfect submission
in the Apostle Paul.
Three times Paul pleaded with God to remove his thorn in the flesh. Three times
God refused saying,“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in
weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12: 8-10)
Although this unnamed thorn must have caused Paul great distress, God allowed it to
remain in order to refine Paul’s character.
In our own lives there may be a situation so aggravating that we beg God to remove
it. But if the sovereign God allows the situation to remain, like Paul we can trust
in the sufficiency of His grace.
The Garden of Gethsemane
Even Yeshua (Jesus) was met with the answer ‘No’ from his beloved Father. In the
Garden of Gethsemane, Yeshua asked if the cup of suffering could be taken from him.
“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but
as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)
Although Yeshua was sorrowful and deeply distressed to realize the terrible suffering
he’d endure, even death on a cross, he submitted to the will of God, saying,
“O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be
done.” (Matthew 26:42)
A 2000-year-old Olive Tree in Gethsemane.
In Hebrew, the Garden of Gethsemane is called Gat Shemanim. The word is the
plural form of shemen, the Hebrew word for oil.
Since oil represents the anointing of Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), it was an
appropriate place for Yeshua to submit to the will of his Abba (Father) and receive
an anointing to carry it out.
“Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He
suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8)
What can we learn from these great men of God?
We learn that there will be times when God’s resounding NO may cause us
pain and sorrow.
We also learn that if we graciously accept this as the perfect will of God, out trials
will refine our character and make us more like Yeshua.
Here is a true test of character. Not only accepting that we won’t have our heart’s
desire, but also being happy for someone who does, and even encourage them?
Jewish man with his son at Wailing Wall
Encouraging the Next Generation
“But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him, for he shall go over before
this people.” (Deuteronomy 3:28).
Just as God told Moses to encourage Joshua to cross over the Jordan and to take the
next generation into the Promised Land, we may also be called to pass the torch of faith.
This parsha discusses this very thing – the importance of encouraging and strengthening
the next generation to follow God even more wholeheartedly than we do!
In Deuteronomy, God commands us to teach His Torah to the generations to come:
“Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:9)
Observing and doing the commandments of God is to be our wisdom and understanding
in the sight of all the peoples. God’s people should be known as a wise and
understanding people. (Deuteronomy 4: 6)
Israeli school children sit near the Knesset Menorah in Jerusalem.
The Hebrew text is the Shema – HEAR, O ISRAEL – Deut: 6:4.
The Shema: Hear O Israel
This Torah portion contains the most famous prayer in Judaism called The Shema:
Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad (Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our
God; the Lord is One…)
When the Scribes asked Yeshua which was the first and most important commandment,
he answered, “Shema Yisrael…” (Mark 12: 29-31).
The Shema is an affirmation of the basic tenets of Jewish faith. It is also a
declaration of faith in one God for a nation surrounded by a sea of pagans
worshipping a variety of false gods.
The Shema expresses Israel’s duty to love God with all her heart, soul, and might:
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6: 5)
This is the first instance in human history that the love of God was demanded in
any religion. The love of God is the distinctive mark of a true worshipper.
What is love of God? The First Letter of John provides a wonderfully succinct
answer: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.
And His commandments are not burdensome.” ( 1 John 5:3)
We are to remember God’s commandments and to teach them to our children
and to speak about the Word of God with them all day long:
“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and
when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
We are even to go so far as to bind God’s word as a sign on our hand and
between our eyes: “And you shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and
they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” (Deuteronomy 6:8)
Observant Jewish men keep this commandment literally with the custom
of putting on ‘tefillin’, little leather boxes containing these verses that are
worn on the head and arm.
The mezuzah is affixed to the right-hand side
of the doorpost of the outer entrance to every
dwelling room in the house.
The word of God is to be written on the doorposts of our house and
on our gates.
“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Jewish people observe this part of the Shema by affixing a mezuzah to the
right-hand side of the doorpost of the outer entrance to every dwelling
room in the house.
This little box contains a parchment on which the Shema is carefully handwritten, as well
as Deuteronomy 11: 13-20 and Numbers 15: 37-41. The Hebrew word Shaddai
(Almighty) is written on the back of the parchment.
The mezuzah is a symbol of God’s watchful care over the house and its occupants. It
is a reminder to everyone who goes in and goes out that this house is devoted to God
and keeping His commandments.
The Mezuzah is in itself a declaration: “As for me and my household we will
serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Jerusalem dividing wall view from the west
Haftorat Va’etchanan (Prophetic Portion)
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people, says your God. Speak comfort to
Jerusalem, and cry out to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is
pardoned, for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
This prophetic reading follows Tisha B’Av, a time of severe judgment against Israel. Now,
through the prophet Isaiah, God speaks messages of comfort and encouragement to His
God’s prophet, Isaiah, is a voice crying out to comfort Israel, and to proclaim to her
the Restoration of Zion.
“Get yourself up to a high mountain, m’vasseret (female messenger of good
tidings)to Tziyon (Zion), raise your voice with strength, m’vasseret to
Jerusalem; fear not…” (Isaiah 40: 9)
To share the ‘good news’ (gospel) in Hebrew is levasser. The word used here is the
feminine form – a female messenger bringing the good news to the people of Israel.
God is calling His people up into the high mountains of Israel to proclaim ‘good tidings’
to Jerusalem. In Hebrew, the word for this is “Mevasseret Tziyon”, which is also
a city in Israel on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
“Behold, the Lord God will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him:…
He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arm, and
carry them in his bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young.”
(Isaiah 40: 10-11)
This Shabbat is called the Sabbath of Comfort, “Shabbat Nachamu.”
All those who love Jerusalem are commanded to comfort Israel.
Will you be a ‘mevasseret’ and partner with God, the Compassionate One, in
bringing comfort to Israel and to those who mourn in Jerusalem?
Shabbat Shalom from all of our ministry staff in Israel!
“I will bless those who bless Israel.” Genesis 12:3
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