Saturday, September 24, 2022

Nitzavim - Reading #7

Nitzavim נִצָּבִים - Standing (Witnessing)

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

Isaiah 61:10-63:9

John 12:41-50

Reading #7 - Deuteronomy 30:15–20

My Thoughts:

If your heart turns away, you will perish (verses 16-17). This is a concurrent theme throughout Scripture. We must not turn to other gods (money, relationships, sin). Our life depends on it. We must only follow Hashem and His Torah. This requires us to “guard” our hearts. And how does that work? That means we stay saturated in His Word. That means we don’t go places or hang out with people that give us temptation to sin. Instead we surround ourselves with people who love Hashem with all their hearts. It also means we pray and worship Him consistently. Remember, Torah is life. To not follow Hashem and His Torah is death. I choose life.


When you choose life it is required (according to today’s reading) that you; love Hashem, obey His voice, and cling to Him. We know how to hear His voice (I hope). We know how to obey Him. But, how do we cling to Him? Ruth “clung” to her mother-in-law Naomi. She told her she would love her, follow her and her G-d, her country - everything. That is what “clinging” is. You hold close. It’s not letting go when you hug someone. I challenge you today to not let go of Hashem. To cling to Him. Give Him everything you have. Do everything for Him and for others. He is your life. Don’t let go. 

Reading #7 - Deuteronomy 30:15–20

30:15 Behold, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and evil. 16 For I command you today to love Hashem your Elohim, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His ordinances, that you may live and multiply, and that Hashem your Elohim may bless you in the land where you go in to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away and worship other gods, and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you will surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you pass over the Jordan to go in to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life, that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 to love Hashem your Elohim, to obey His voice, and to cling to 

Him; for He is your life, and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land which Hashem swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.


My Thoughts:

This Haftarah is clearly about redemption in the Olam Haba (the world to come). In verse 63:9 we read, “In His love and in His pity He redeemed them. He bore them, and carried them all the days of old.” Through love and pity Hashem redeems us -- He forgives us and restores us. Isn’t that so wonderful? He understands how weak we are, and how strong He is. Not only does He redeem us, but He “bears and carries” us. It’s like He stretches His arms out wide, picks us up and carries us through our difficulties. During the storms of life, some of us feel His presence and others do not. In fact, some get very mad at Hashem during hard and difficult times. But, if you study Torah, you know that He never leaves you or forsakes you. He is there through horrible times even if we don’t “feel” His presence. We must rely on that. We must depend on Him and His Word through these times. Never give up on Him because He certainly never gives up on us. Amen?


In verse 62:12 we read how Hashem will portray us to the world, “They will call them “The Holy People, Hashem’s Redeemed”. You will be called “Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken”.” Isn’t that amazing? The world will recognize us as Hashem’s. There will be no doubt that we are His. Jerusalem will not be forsaken, but Hashem will “seek” out His people and gather them back to the city, to the Land. My challenge today is to reflect on all of this. Do you want to be a part of His Redeemed? Do you want to be recognized as part of His “Holy People”? I do. That means we must start acting like we are -- today. Just like I wrote about in today’s Torah reading. We must follow Him, obey Him, worship Him, love Him and love others. This is the beginning of becoming a part of His Holy People. And that is for eternity. Don’t you want that? 

Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9

10 I will greatly rejoice in Hashem!

    My soul will be joyful in my Elohim,

for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation.

    He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

    as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland

    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth produces its bud,

    and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring up,

    so Hashem Elohim will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

62 For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace,

    and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,

until her righteousness shines out like the dawn,

    and her salvation like a burning lamp.

2 The nations will see your righteousness,

    and all kings your glory.

You will be called by a new name,

    which Hashem’s mouth will name.

3 You will also be a crown of beauty in Hashem’s hand,

    and a royal diadem in your Elohim’s hand.

4 You will not be called Forsaken any more,

    nor will your land be called Desolate any more;

but you will be called Hephzibah,

    and your land Beulah;

for Hashem delights in you,

    and your land will be married.

5 For as a young man marries a virgin,

    so your sons will marry you.

As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,

    so your Elohim will rejoice over you.

6 I have set watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem.

    They will never be silent day nor night.

You who call on Hashem, take no rest,

7     and give him no rest, until He establishes,

    and until He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

8 Hashem has sworn by His right hand,

    and by the arm of his strength,

“Surely I will no more give your grain to be food for your enemies,

    and foreigners will not drink your new wine, for which you have labored,

9 but those who have harvested it will eat it, and praise Hashem.

    Those who have gathered it will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.”

10 Go through, go through the gates!

    Prepare the way of the people!

Build up, build up the highway!

    Gather out the stones!

    Lift up a banner for the peoples.

11 Behold, Hashem has proclaimed to the end of the earth,

    “Say to the daughter of Zion,

    ‘Behold, your salvation comes!

Behold, his reward is with him,

    and his recompense before him!’”

12 They will call them “The Holy People,

    Hashem’s Redeemed”.

You will be called “Sought Out,

    A City Not Forsaken”.

63:1 Who is this who comes from Edom,

    with dyed garments from Bozrah?

Who is this who is glorious in his clothing,

    marching in the greatness of his strength?

“It is I who speak in righteousness,

    mighty to save.”

2 Why is your clothing red,

    and your garments like him who treads in the wine vat?

3 “I have trodden the wine press alone.

    Of the peoples, no one was with me.

Yes, I trod them in my anger

    and trampled them in my wrath.

Their lifeblood is sprinkled on my garments,

    and I have stained all my clothing.

4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart,

    and the year of my redeemed has come.

5 I looked, and there was no one to help;

    and I wondered that there was no one to uphold.

Therefore my own arm brought salvation to me.

    My own wrath upheld me.

6 I trod down the peoples in my anger

    and made them drunk in my wrath.

    I poured their lifeblood out on the earth.”

7 I will tell of the loving kindnesses of Hashem

    and the praises of Hashem,

    according to all that Hashem has given to us,

and the great goodness toward the house of Israel,

    which He has given to them according to His mercies,

    and according to the multitude of His loving kindnesses.

8 For he said, “Surely, they are My people,

    children who will not deal falsely;”

    so He became their Savior.

9 In all their affliction He was afflicted,

    and the angel of His presence saved them.

In His love and in His pity he redeemed them.

    He bore them,

    and carried them all the days of old.

Apostolic Reading

My Thoughts:

Sometimes people just do not stand up for their faith. In verse 43 we read, “...for they loved men’s praise more than Elohim’s praise.” In other words, they were looking for approval and safety from the Pharisees more than love and approval from Hashem. We can look at this 2,000 years later and in our heads “condemn” them for doing that. But, isn’t that what we do sometimes? Don’t you ever hold back on confessing Hashem’s word to someone for fear of rejection? Think of what we could be missing out on, or what blessing someone could have received from Hashem’s word if we had spoken it. You don’t have to quote a verse number, just speak His word. It is so alive and holy, that Hashem will take care of the rest. Be bold and courageous. 


Yeshua was always “pointing” to the Father. In verse 44 He says, “Whoever believes in Me, believes not in Me, but in Him (Hashem) who sent Me.” Yeshua doesn’t want you to worship only Him alone, He wants you to worship Hashem in His fullness. I believe Yeshua is Hashem’s “heart”. He taught Torah, He is a walking living Torah. To love Him is to love Hashem. To follow Him is to follow Hashem. My challenge to you today is to think about this. Think about who you think Yeshua is. He represents only Hashem -- and all He is. If you study about Him in the four gospels you will learn about His life and His teachings. You will see that He only taught the “heart of Torah” and His purpose was to bring people back to Hashem. And that’s just what we want to do - right?

Apostolic Reading: John 12:41-50

12:41 Isaiah said these things when he saw His glory, and spoke of Him. 42 Nevertheless even many of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they didn’t confess it, so that they wouldn’t be put out of the synagogue, 43 for they loved men’s praise more than Elohim’s praise.

44 Yeshua cried out and said, “Whoever believes in Me, believes not in Me, but in Him who sent Me. 45 He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me may not remain in the darkness. 47 If anyone listens to My sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive My sayings, has One who judges him. The word that I spoke will judge him in the last day. 49 For I spoke not from Myself, but the Father who sent Me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 I know that his commandment is eternal life. The things therefore which I speak, even as the Father has said to Me, so I speak.”

Friday, September 23, 2022

Nitzavim - Reading #6

Nitzavim נִצָּבִים - Standing (Witnessing)

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

Reading #6 - Deuteronomy 30:11–14

My Thoughts:

These are the most wonderful verses today! Verse 11 clearly explains that the Torah is not too hard or far away for you to grasp. I have heard from many Christian friends, “Well, we don’t have to be under the Law anymore. And all those Commandments!” Like they are something burdensome or even bad. Hashem forbid! He has made them easy to understand and easy to follow. The Feasts, the dietary and Shabbat. They all are for your good and to develop a closer relationship with Him! So why wouldn’t we follow them? They are LIFE and they are a total blessing to our lives. Thank you Hashem for giving us Torah and your Commandments. Please help us to know them and follow them. Please help us to draw closer to You. Amen.


Verse 14 says, “...the Word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.” My challenge to you today is to search your heart and make sure the Torah resides there. Make sure you speak it and live it. Daily. In order to do this you must study it. That is why doing daily Torah readings are so very, very important. They keep you close to Torah, close to Hashem. The really cool thing is when you read the Torah you will actually see it working in your life that day or week. I have had that happen so very often! That makes Torah real and alive. Which it is. Study, pray, worship and give glory to Hashem. Love Him and love others. That’s what it is all about. Amen!

Reading #6 - Deuteronomy 30:11–14

30:11 For this commandment which I command you today is not too hard for you or too distant. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up for us to heaven, bring it to us, and proclaim it to us, that we may do it?” 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us, bring it to us, and proclaim it to us, that we may do it?” 14 But the word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Nitzavim - Reading #5

Nitzavim נִצָּבִים - Standing (Witnessing)

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

Reading #5 - Deuteronomy 30:7–10

My Thoughts:

Verse 8, “You shall return and obey Hashem’s voice…”. What are we returning from? It is simple. We are returning to Him from a godless, disobedient and rebellious life. We are returning to spiritual things that are wonderful, from a dark, callous world. We are returning to the Light from the darkness of evil. We must try and remember that He has so much and IS so much, and the earthly life we live is so selfish. We must make an effort every day to return to Him in all we do. To love Him with our whole heart and soul and strength. There is no other way to live. Amen.


To continue my thoughts above, in verse 10 we read we are to return to Hashem with “all your heart and with all your soul”. This is not just being flippant about how we serve Him -- but intentional. It is giving Him ALL we have within us! That’s the challenge today. Think about how you can give Hashem “your whole heart and soul”. Not just part of it, but all of it! Then we have the greatest blessing of all -- “Hashem will again rejoice over you for good”. Can you even begin to imagine what it means for Hashem, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to rejoice over us? What does that look like? Does He smile or sing, does He speak kind words about us? Whatever He does, we look forward to being able to receive it. And we will do our part to follow Torah to the best of our ability. In every minute of every day. Amen.

Reading #5 - Deuteronomy 30:7–10

30:7 Hashem your Elohim will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. 8 You shall return and obey Hashem’s voice, and do all His commandments which I command you today. 9 Hashem your Elohim will make you prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground, for good; for Hashem will again rejoice over you for good, as he rejoiced over your fathers, 10 if you will obey Hashem your Elohim’s voice, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law; if you turn to Hashem your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Nitzavim - Reading #4

Nitzavim נִצָּבִים - Standing (Witnessing)

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

Reading #4 - Deuteronomy 30:1–6

My Thoughts:

The idea here today is that if Hashem’s people are dispersed among the nations (as they have been) then they must “return” to Hashem with their whole heart and soul. When they do that, He will gather them from the nations (verses 2-3). In the 1940’s after World War 2 that is exactly what happened. People prayed, people returned to Hashem, the Holocaust was over and He brought them back to Israel. And now Hashem is restoring the country. However, there is a cost -- that is the people must serve only Him and not false gods. It is mandatory from Him, or else we will lose everything. We must pray every day that the chosen people will return their hearts to Hashem, as will the rest of the world.


In verse 5 we read “He will do you good”. What does that look like? Will He give you things, bless you with good health, give you good relationships -- a new car, house, job? I’m thinking it means just what it says, that He will be good to you. Maybe He will meet you in worship in a special way. Maybe He will speak to you in a small, still voice. Or maybe you will just feel content in knowing that He loves you. It doesn’t have to be material things, it can be beautiful spiritual things. That’s the kind of “good” I am looking and waiting for. My challenge to you is that you take a minute today and look at the “good” Hashem has given you. Then praise Him for it all. I see Him do “good” in my life, several times a day. Thank you Hashem!

Reading #4 - Deuteronomy 30:1–6

30:1 It shall happen, when all these things have come on you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations where Hashem your Elohim has driven you, 2 and return to Hashem your Elohim and obey His voice according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 that then Hashem your Elohim will release you from captivity, have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the peoples where Hashem your Elohim has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there Hashem your Elohim will gather you, and from there he will bring you back. 5 Hashem your Elohim will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you will possess it. He will do you good, and increase your numbers more than your fathers. 6 Hashem your Elohim will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your offspring, to love Hashem your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Nitzavim - Reading #3

Nitzavim נִצָּבִים - Standing (Witnessing)

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

Reading #3 - Deuteronomy 29:15–28

My Thoughts:

What does Hashem say about those who turn away from Him? Read verse 20, “Hashem will not pardon him, but then Hashem’s anger and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book will fall on him, and Hashem will blot out his name from under the sky.” For those who choose not to follow Hashem -- not only will He impose the curses in the Law -- but he will be “blotted” out from heaven! Pretty clear, right? If we decide we don’t want Hashem in our life, our name (which is who we are) will be erased. Forever. It only makes sense that Hashem only wants those -- who want Him. Is that you?


Here it is. Abandon the covenant and you will be cursed and thrown out of the land. Hashem does not want ANYONE to abandon or leave His Law. So why do the followers of  Jesus think that He would want us to abandon or cancel the Law? Are their translations of Scripture to supersede the voice of Hashem to Moses and the Israelites? Are the pastors greater than Hashem’s holy word? We truly live in an “upside-down” world and here is one of the obvious reasons. Yeshua never “cancelled” or told His disciples to abandon the Law, to do so would bring curses. Your challenge today is to really think about what you believe. Is Hashem’s Torah forever -- or have you been “excused” from following it? I would weigh your answer heavily and carefully. Your life may depend on it. 

Reading #3 - Deuteronomy 29:15–28

29:15 ...but with those who stand here with us today before Hashem our Elohim, and also with those who are not here with us today 16 (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the middle of the nations through which you passed; 17 and you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which were among them); 18 lest there should be among you man, woman, family, or tribe whose heart turns away today from Hashem our Elohim to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that produces bitter poison; 19 and it happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, “I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart,” to destroy the moist with the dry. 20 Hashem will not pardon him, but then Hashem’s anger and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book will fall on him, and Hashem will blot out his name from under the sky. 21 Hashem will set him apart for evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law.

22 The generation to come—your children who will rise up after you, and the foreigner who will come from a far land—will say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses with which Hashem has made it sick, 23 that all of its land is sulfur, salt, and burning, that it is not sown, doesn’t produce, nor does any grass grow in it, like the overthrow of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which Hashem overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath. 24 Even all the nations will say, “Why has Hashem done this to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?”

25 Then men will say, “Because they abandoned the covenant of Hashem, the Elohim of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, 26 and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods that they didn’t know and that he had not given to them. 27 Therefore Hashem’s anger burned against this land, to bring on it all the curses that are written in this book. 28 Hashem rooted them out of their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and thrust them into another land, as it is today.”

Monday, September 19, 2022

Nitzavim - Reading #2

Nitzavim נִצָּבִים - Standing (Witnessing)

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

Reading #2 - Deuteronomy 29:12–14

My Thoughts:

In verse 12 we read, “...that you may enter into the covenant of Hashem your Elohim.” We have talked about this before but think about “covenant”. A covenant is a binding agreement made by both parties. Sometimes it would be “sealed” with blood or food or gifts. That is the covenant Hashem was making with His people as they were about to enter into the Land of Israel. What a beautiful picture of His love and care. Remember there were godless people already living in His land. They were to go in peacefully or if not received then they had to fight and take it over. This was a huge task ahead of them. To be in covenant with Hashem before going into a really huge endeavor, you may want to ask Him to join you. To be in covenant. It will make things right and it will make things good. It will make things the BEST. Amen!


Verse 13 reads,  “that He may be your Elohim…”. It is important to Hashem that we make Him our one and only Elohim. There is no other. It is time we set aside other “gods” in our lives, and recognize Him as the ultimate and only Elohim. That’s my challenge to you today. It’s simple. Focus on Him, serve only Him, praise only Him -- make Him your Elohim. In all you do today, consciously make sure you are only loving and serving Hashem. Amen.

Reading #2 - Deuteronomy 29:12–14

29:12 “...that you may enter into the covenant of Hashem your Elohim, and into his oath, which Hashem your Elohim makes with you today, 13 that He may establish you today as His people, and that He may be your Elohim, as He spoke to you and as He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 14 Neither do I make this covenant and this oath with you only…

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Nitzavim - Reading #1

Nitzavim נִצָּבִים - Standing (Witnessing)

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

Reading #1 - Deuteronomy 29:9–11

My Thoughts:

Verse 9 reads, “...keep the words of this Covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.” What does it mean to keep? Can we “keep” the Temple and priestly laws? No. But we can “keep” the rest, to the best of our ability. We can avoid unclean foods. We can honor and remember the Feasts. We can protect the Sabbath. And we can follow the rest (including the big ten)! When we do this, and Hashem does know our hearts -- we have the blessing of prosperity. That does not necessarily mean money. It could be wonderful children, a wonderful job and a wonderful house/car. It could also mean the best friendships and relationships. Most of all it could mean that we could be prosperous in our relationship with Hashem. That we could really get to know Him and His Torah. We could serve Him and love Him. True prosperity is in the heart. And it is a blessing only from Him. Amen!


In verse 10 we read, “All of you stand today in the presence of Hashem your Elohim…”. Were they really visibly seeing Hashem at this time? I don’t think so. But, because Moses who was speaking for Hashem and the community of the people standing together -- I believe Hashem was in their presence -- by His Spirit. So my challenge today is this. If they could be in His presence, maybe we could be in His presence also. Take a minute to think about what this would look like. Maybe through your worship, your prayer, your obedience or just taking a moment to be silent and talk to Him. You will get to know and become familiar when He is there. And when that happens, you will want to be with Him more. We are just getting reading on this planet for a time when we will be with Him always in the Olam Haba. Practice this now. Get to know Him now. Ask Him to come and visit you, walk with you and show you His ways. Amen.

Reading #1 - Deuteronomy 29:9-11

29:9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. 10 All of you stand today in the presence of Hashem your Elohim: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel, 11 your little ones, your wives, and the foreigners who are in the middle of your camps, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water,