Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah # 53 Ha’azinu (Hear) D’varim (Deuteronomy) 32:1-52
Haftarah: Shmuel Bet (2 Samuel) 22:1-1-51
B’rit Chadashah: Hebrews 10: 28-39
Moshe is about ready to climb the mountain and be gathered to his ancestors. We might expect him to complain that he will not go into the land after all he has gone through, or to vent his frustration that he must have felt when G-d told him the people will fall away after his death. True to his basic humble character love for his people, and G-d, he admonishes the people to hear, listen, internalize, and act on all the words of G-d’s Torah. Chapter 32:46-47 reads: “Take to heart all of the words of my testimony against you today, so that you can use them in charging your children to be careful to obey all the words of this Torah. For this is not a trivial matter for you; on the contrary, it is your life! Through it you will live long in the land you are crossing the Yarden to possess.” These verses, along with verses 1-2, contain key words that indicate a dynamic process of allowing something to fall on a surface; “ May the teaching fall like rain, may my speech condense like dew, like rain on blades of grass, or showers on growing plants. In the context of plants, it is the leaves that reach out to absorb the S-U-N and water. The roots descend below the ground while absorbing life-giving nutrients, while the leaves and stems ascend towards the heavens. In the case of humans, our ears absorb sound waves that penetrate our brains as dew penetrates leaves. Hopefully, action results from that which penetrates our brains and hearts; the words of Torah. For plants, photosynthesis takes place. For humans, action is the resultant behaviors learned through obedience out of love and fear to G-d’s Torah. These new behaviors can override our human nature, much as nutrient rich soil, rain, and sun revives a wilting plant. Humans must reach toward the S-O-N aspect of G-d (Yahshua) who provides the nutrients (Bread of Life, Living Water; and a relationship with G-d in the role of Yahshua. Drinking and absorbing the Living Water revives us to new levels and then sustains us (John4:13; 7:37; Is. 55:1; Rev. 21:6; Rev. 22:17). The need to live by G-d’s commands out of love and fear are addressed once more in Chapter 32:45-47: When he had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them’ Take to heart all the words of my testimony against you today, so that you can use them in charging your children to be careful to obey all the words of this Torah. For this is not a trivial matter for you; on the contrary, it is your life! Through it you will live long in the land you are crossing the Yarden to possess.’”
This parashah is the Song of Moshe that corresponds to guarding the commands of G-d Yahshua refers to in the book of Revelation as one of two requirements of a true believer.
Fast forwarding to the future, we also learn what will come when the people become too independent, comfortable, and forget G-d. Because of their sins, G-d will remove Himself from the people and they will be left without His protection. This alludes to the Rapture. Thanks be to our G-d, He will ultimately defeat Israel’s enemies and reestablish His people in His city.
When Moshe finishes his address to the people, Adonai directs him to the place that he will be gathered to his people. G-d gives him the opportunity to see the land from a distance but will not allow him to go to the Land because he did not exhibit the faith required of such a leader to glorify G-d in front of the people. Striking the rock from which the living water came is a metaphor for striking Yahshua as the Rock Who provides the Living Water. The Song of Moshe provides a poetic review of Israel’s history from the Exodus to the inheritance of the land. It is important to understand that G-d chose the Tribes of Israel in the beginning as an example for the rest of the world to follow. This is how we can confidently say “all Israel shall be saved.” (Rom. 11:26). “All Israel” is not geographical Israel or just those from the 12 Tribes of Israel. Israel used in the context of this verse and described as the Bride of Yahshua is the united group of all true believers defined by Yahshua in the Seven-fold witness found in the book of Revelation. John chapter 14 provides Yahshua’s definition of who loves G-d, and Romans chapters2-3 define who Yahshua considers a “true Jew.” An interesting passage relating to Israel’s (true believers’) punishment is found in verse 21; “They aroused my jealousy with a non-god and provoked me with their vanities; I will arouse their jealousy with a non-people and provoke them with a vile nation.” In all other places where G-d says He will send a nation to punish B’nai Yisra’el, there is no mention of the word “non-believing” to describe that nation. We must ask ourselves why this phrase is used in this particular situation.
The word “non-believing” is used to describe a nation whose driving force is to prove to the world that there is no G-d. The reason for using this kind of nation in this case is because of the unique sin committed. Unlike previous sins originating from the people leaving G-d’s path (the King’s highway), Moshe predicts “They will not believe in G-d.” We have learned that a belief in G-d is an action verb that indicates following G-d’s laws, rulings, and statutes; not an intellectual, abstract knowledge that He exists. Let’s examine how America and other nations have drifted away from G-d that parallels the sin of Israel to the letter.
The sociological view of religion is that man invented it and G-d to relieve their sense of anxiety based in a lack of knowledge about the world and the way in which it functions. Consequently, at one time man was intensely religious. The G-d hypothesis was the perfect answer for the time. Man attributed anthropomorphic characteristics to an unseen G-d so that we could attach our descriptions and understanding to Him in our own terms. We attributed His motives to our own, thereby making Him predictable and in control and allowing us to face the future and plan our lives with an illusion of security. However, no different from the time of the building of the tower of Babel, we think we are now smarter than G-d and have no further need for Him. We perceive we are in control of our world. We are unraveling the complexities of DNA, reinventing the social sciences, developing technology faster than we can learn to use it or consider detrimental effects on human interaction and relationships. Western society has abandoned G-d and has turned militantly secular. Other nations are following the same path if they are not won over by terrorist regimes. It is no longer a matter of whether modern man believes in G-d or not. The issue doesn’t even arise today; the possibility of the existence of a controlling Divinity has become irrelevant. If there is no Law to follow, there are no rules; anything goes in the name of loving thy neighbor according to our own, individually manufactured definition.
The Democratic view of religion maintains that a liberal, tolerant society is the best way to demonstrate love for one another. This definition is in complete contradiction of G-d’s/Yahshua’s instructions and teachings. We can easily see the results of tolerance in our society. Tolerance results in compromise. Either we stand for G-d or we succumb to another system of faith. This attitude is based on the assumption that it is within our power to keep our economy ever expanding, just as was the belief of the Babylonians. The social pie will grow without boundaries through the redistribution of wealth. We can already see how this philosophy is being used against us. As the confidence in our leaders fades, the Western world becomes more anxious about the future. Generous feelings toward our fellow man begin to fade into an attitude of “survival of the fittest.” Policies of exclusion result, which in turn literally destroys the entire fabric of the social contract that underlies the political system. Our society fails to see the inverse relationship to G-d that must take place in order for us to achieve true security and peace. We must give up total control of our lives to the One Who knew us in the womb (Psalm 139:13; Jer. 1:5). We are like the nation Israel; we have become a secular nation that has shoved G-d out the door of our nation. Let us now examine the terrorist perception of religion.
Some may be surprised to learn that terrorists subscribe to the sociologist theory of religion just as does America. The uninterrupted success of America at least for now is a threat to the continued existence of fundamental primitive societies. Repressed populations have become aware that the possibility for a better existence is America is possible through technological advances in communication and recent liberal policies on immigration and illegal immigrant benefits. How can radical fundamentalists protect themselves and promote their agenda? This can be done by exposing the weaknesses of Western society which are becoming more apparent and visible than ever before. Perceived or real weakness in a nation’s leadership represents the opposite of strength; a lack of belief in anything other than its own ability to control the world. We are living this scenario today. Western society is on the brink of total destruction and remodeling into a system compatible with the coming New World Order. Without control, Western society has nothing to believe in because we have banished G-d from our midst. Terrorism does not inherently physically threatening. The power of terrorism is psychological. It destroys the feeling of being in control as did the incident in 2001. America’s confidence was shaken, but not to the point of repentance. In total defiance our leaders vowed to build bigger, stronger, and taller, just as did the Babylonians. Furthermore, the country’s leaders quoted scripture that was defiantly stated just before the destruction of Jerusalem! (Is. 9:10). G-d even reveals the arrogance of the people of Israel that is true of America’s leadership during the 9/11 crisis. In Isaiah 9:12 we read “Yet the people do not turn to the one striking them, they don; seek Adonai –Tzva’ot.” America has gone the way Israel did after they entered their promised land: “But Yeshurun grew fat and kicked. He abandoned G-d his Maker; he scorned the Rock, his salvation. They roused Him to jealousy with alien gods, provoked Him with abominations. They sacrificed to demons, non-gods, gods that they had never known, new gods that had come up lately, which your ancestors had not feared. You ignored the Rock that fathered you, you forgot G-d, who gave you birth (Deut. 32:15-18). The next Shemittah year one will be in the Fall of 2020. This should cause all humans to consider where they are in their relationship to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the fact that our time on this earth is finite. We will be held accountable to the One who created us when our time to leave earth arrives. Our lives do not end at the funeral home. Let’s now examine Abraham’s view on the world.
By definition, Abraham’s worldview requires surrendering control of our lives to G-d. G-d makes it clear in the Old and New Testaments that this world is a training ground and a place to accomplish the purpose G-d has for each of us. Abraham sought G-d out in an environment of idolaters. He sought, knocked, and asked until G-d revealed Himself. He surrendered himself and everything dear to him to the point that he was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience to G-d’s command until G-d intervened at the 11th hour and 59 minutes to stop him. He had no interest in S’dom or ‘Amorah unlike his nephew. Lot. He intervened on behalf of any righteous people that may have lived in those two cities. Not surprisingly, he is known as the epitome of hospitality. Yet, many who claim a common ancestry to Abraham, embrace the lifestyle Abraham renounced. We cannot have it both ways. Either we must choose to convert our lives to Torah obedience out of love and fear of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or choose a life of rebellious insistence that we have a new and improved version of instructions that negates Torah observance. Remember, YHVH/ Yahshua describes anyone who does His commands as friends (Lev. 26:3-4; John 15:14). Therefore, those who do not obey His law are not His friends. We must abandon the illusion that we can control the world and everything in it. We must repent (teshuva) before He exacts His justice as He describes in Deut. 32: 19-39 and surrender ourselves to His will that we follow His law and accomplish our unique purpose for His glory.
Haftarah: 2 Samuel 22:1-51
This haftarah describes the song David wrote in his old age, reflecting this week’s parashah where Moshe delivers his final words to the Jewish nation. David’s song expresses gratitude for G-d rescuing him from his enemies. He starts his song as we should begin our prayers; with thanksgiving and praise. He begins with “The L-rd is my rock and my fortress.” He describes the pain and trials he encountered in his life and reiterates that he always turned to G-d in times of distress. He recounts G-d’s reaction to his tormentors: “The L-rd thundered from heaven; and the Most High gave forth His voice. And He sent out arrows and scattered them. Lightening and He discomfited them… I have pursued my enemies and have destroyed them; never turning back until they were consumed.” He attributes his salvation to his uprightness in following G-ds’ ways and ends the song with an expression of thankfulness: “Therefore I will give thanks to You, O L-rd, among the nations, and to Your name I will sing praises. He gives great salvation to His king, and He performs kindness to His anointed; to David and to his seed, forevermore.”
B’rit Chadashah: Hebrews 10:28-39
“Someone who disregards the Torah of Moshe is put to death without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses. Think how much worse will be the punishment deserved by someone who has trampled underfoot the Son of G-d; who has treated as something common the blood of the covenant which made him holy; and who has insulted the Spirit, giver of G-d’s grace! For the One we know is the One who said, ‘Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay,’ and then said,’ Adonai will judge his people.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living G-d! …
How is it possible to trample underfoot the Son of G-d? Disregarding His Law in favor of our own interpretation of obedience to G-d is as trampling Yahshua underfoot. Anyone requiring additional scriptural proof need only look at Yahshua’s mission described throughout the New Testament. He was also known as “HaTorah” indicating that he is the Living Word of G-d (John 1:1-3) Isn’t it interesting that the King James Version puts the first verse in the passage in the past tense? “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses.” It is easy to recognize the agenda put forth by antinomians who maintain that G-d’s Law is dead. If this were true, Yahshua would not have spent so much time speaking of obedience to His (the Father’s will and commands) in the present. Who are we going to believe and entrust our soul; the King James translation or the original Hebrew and the consistent support of Yahshua’s testimony? YHVH/Yahshua will have His day. Contrary to many who maintain Yahshua is all mercy and love, His own words discount this illusion.
The remainder of the passage reminds us that we must persevere. We must endure the trials and tribulations of this life and study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim. 2:15) to properly mature spiritually. “If he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him” (Heb. 10:38). This sentence emphasizes that our salvation is progressive in nature. We are not instantaneously saved when we come to a reconciling relationship with G-d through Yahshua. We are reconciled to a life of learning to walk toward the Light of YHVH/Yahshua on the King’s highway (G-d’s Torah). If we turn to the right or the left and do not repent (return) to the King’s highway, we may lose our way to our ultimate destruction.
Let us take the Song of Moshe seriously. It is as applicable today as it was at the time of its writing. How do we know? The Seven-fold Witness in Revelation revealed by G-d to John should suffice as to the validity and reliability of the Old Testament; “all the words of this Torah.” (Deut. 32:46; Rev. 22:7)
Rabbi Tamah Davis