REFLECTIONS ON PARASHAH D'VARIM
RABBI MARK RANTZ
Beit Hallel Messianic Congregation
17th of Jun, 2021 | 8th of Av, 5781
Parashah D’varim (found in Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22) begins on the first of Shevat, and 37 days prior the death of Moses. Here, Sefer D’varim begins, “These are the words דברים that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness in the Arabah opposite Suph, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahah.” (Deut. 1:1, ESV) D’varim corresponds with the fourth word of verse 1, where Moshe reminding God’s people of the whole of the Lord’s commandments and that of His promises stating,
“Moses begins his repetition of the Torah to the assembled children of Isra’el, 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, rebuking the people for their failings and iniquities and enjoining them to keep the Torah and observe its commandments in the land that God is giving them as an eternal heritage, into which they shall cross after his death.”
According to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (z’l), D’varim is in essence Moses’ renewal of the covenant of God which had already been communicated in the books of Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus. However, in the context of the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses joins the covenant to the next generation, as they are soon to enter into the Promised Land.
Here we see God’s faithfulness to His people whom He has chosen, knowing that they need discipline and a reminder of the truth. It is in this context that Moses reminds of the heart of God who has created a people, whose lives are to be based on the Torah alone!
Continuing, what we find is astounding as Moses explains to his listeners (and to us today) the background and importance of God’s covenant of love. Although seldomly commented on, Parashah D’varim in its (דברים, words) of instruction, first and foremost reminds that a repeating of Torah instruction is both essential, and for us as believers in Yeshua, is necessary as we are exhorted that our faith in Messiah cannot be that of our “fathers alone,” but instead should be that of “our own today” as individuals. Deuteronomy exists to remind of all that God had said and done since their Exodus from slavery. In the same light, the Good News of Yeshua must be communicated afresh in a way that not only ministers to and speaks to each, new generation and at the same time, its message is not corrupted or altered by ignorance and misinterpretation!
Within our context, Moses was soon going to die, and his (דברים, words) had to set both a legacy and heritage for all others in future generations. Such is reminiscent of George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) in the composition of his “Messiah,” where he sternly instructed that his musical arrangement (of the supremacy of Yeshua as Isra’el’s Messiah) should be recomposed and readapted afresh for each new generation so that all might know, appreciate, and receive as their own - the truths of the Good News in Yeshua!
Yet long before “Handel’s Messiah,” Moses knew this truth before any classical composer, where in every generation we all must receive God’s revelation as our own and the truth of God’s Word must go forth to all peoples and at all times!
Are you receiving God’s fresh (דברים, words) of truth for you today?
~ Rabbi Mark Rantz
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