Messianic Torah Portion Nitzavim - Va'yelech "Standing - And he went"


Nitzavim - Va'yelech "Standing - And he went"

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 29:9- 31:30

Serving HaShem requires the kind of faith of faith that is based on what we believe and not on what we see. The strongest faith we can develop comes from a personal belief in HaShem. In other words, our faith must come from our heart and not our eyes. Hebrews 11:1 states it this way "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith is based on the unseen promises of HaShem. Avram's faith was based on the unseen promises of HaShem. Therefore Avram's faith was counted as righteousness as we can see in Romans 4:3 "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." Avram's faith did not rely on what he saw, because he had a strong personal relationship with HaShem.

Faith based on personal relationship is difficult to find today. Many modern religions seek physical manifestations as a reminder that the Ruach HaKodesh is present. The Children of Yisrael also sought physical reminders that HaShem was present. One of the physical representations of HaShem that the Children of Yisrael relied on was Moshe. Moshe was the only person in the camp that spoke to HaShem face to face. Shemot 33:11 states "the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." Because Moshe spoke to HaShem face to face, the Children of Yisrael relied on Moshe to communicate HaShem's will to the rest of the camp. As a result, the Children of Yisrael became dependant on Moshe as an intermediary. When Moshe died the Children of Yisrael felt they had lost their link to HaShem. This is because after the death of Moshe each individual was required to rely on his or her own personal relationship with HaShem. We can see this in Yehoshua 24:15 which states "if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." HaShem knew that each individual needed a strong personal relationship with Him in order to have enough faith to continue serving Him. By allowing the development of personal relationships HaShem took the chance that many would return to the familiarity of idols. In Va'yelech we can see that HaShem even forewarned the Children of Yisrael that after the death of Moshe, their faith in Him would crumble and they would return to serving idols.

Devarim 31:16-17 states "And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shall sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?"After Moshe's death each individual was required to rely on his or her own personal relationship with HaShem. Because they had not developed a strong personal relationship with HaShem the Children of Yisrael sought physical reminders to assure them HaShem was in their midst. The Children of Yisrael used idols to bolster their faith, even though HaShem had forbidden them to create any physical representations. The Children of Yisrael's faith in HaShem was based on what they saw and not on a personal relationship. The Children of Yisrael had not developed the type of faith that allows individuals to believe without seeing.

B'resheet 15:3-6 states "Avram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, this shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if are able to number them: and he said unto him, so your seed shall be. He believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness." Avram's faith was counted as righteousness because he believed even though it did not seem physically possible. Avram's faith in HaShem surpassed what he saw. Believing without seeing allowed Avram to establish a strong personal relationship with HaShem. Therefore, Avram's faith strengthened his relationship with HaShem, and led him into righteousness.

Physical reminders are only needed if our faith is weak. Yeshua even states that the generations that believe in Him, without seeing Him will be blessed. We can see this in Yochanan 20:26-29 which states "After eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Yeshua, the doors being shut, and stood in their midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then he said to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Yeshua said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." Yeshua makes it clear that faith that believes without seeing is a greater blessing than faith that is based on physical reminders.

The Children of Yisrael fell into idolatry after Moshe's death because they needed physical proof of the existence of HaShem. When HaShem's people rely on physical proof they can easily be deceived. During the end times the prophet of the anti-Christ will use physical signs to deceive many. He even calls fire down from heaven as Revelations 13:1314 states "he did great wonders, so that he made fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And he deceived them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live." The false prophet calls fire down from heaven because it is a duplication of Elijah's miracles in 1Kings 18:38 and 2Kings 1:10-14. Physical signs can be deceiving. We should strive to develop faith that leads to a personal relationship. Only by establishing, a strong personal relationship with HaShem can our faiths endure so that we walk in righteousness in spite of what we see.

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By Rabbi Yaakov benYosef ­

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