PARASHAH: “VaYelech” (and he went) DEUT 31:1-30
(Just got back from South Florida on Thursday, No, the hurricane didn't get us in Miami, just a lot of rain and a bit of wind)
Just a few important points over this short Parashah. A few more points to add to the previous study where we combined “Nitsavim and VaYelech”.
“I am 120 years old today” starts Moshe, “I can no more go out and come in…” It is interesting that he mentions his age, 120 years old. Guess the day he spoke to his people was his last birthday. He would complete 120 years on earth and give up the ghost. We can divide 120 years into 3 parts, the first 40 years, the second 40 years, and the third 40 years. “40” is the number of testing and trials.
He lived the first 40 years as a prince of Egypt and a general in the Egyptian army, through circumstances (which never happen by accident) Adonai sends Moshe running to the land of Midian where he meets his wife and family and becomes a shepherd. So, we go from royalty to shepherd, a profession loathed by the Egyptians. Then the last 40 years are the “ministry years”. Adonai changed his profession so that he could fit into God’s perfect plan, that of freeing his people from the bondage of slavery through HIS chosen vessel.
Moshe was 80 years old when he received the commission to free his people. The prior years were all “training years” or “Years of getting ready”. We ask ourselves what we will be doing when and if we reach 80 years of life. Will we be ready to continue in ministry? Or will we be looking forward to a rocking chair and sipping ice tea through a straw?
We must take the example of Moshe, active until the day he dies. One can retire from a secular job, but not from ministry. Ministry is a life-long calling. Whether it be a pastor or rabbi, Torah teacher or Sunday School teacher, music leader, youth worker, o just giving out bread to the hungry along with a gospel tract of the “Bread of Life” we must not think of retirement, not from that.
“I can no more go out and come in” Moshe has already been told that he is about to leave the land of the living, so, he is to anoint the future leader. So, who will lead the people to the promised land? The answer is in verse 3; “YHVH your Elohim Himself is passing over before you. He shall destroy these nations from before you and you possess them. Yehoshua himself is passing over before you, as YHVH has spoken.”
There is a play on words here. Adonai Himself is leading the people, He is passing over before the people. This is what a king in battle does. The king leads his army. Yet the verse also states that “Yehoshua” will pass over before the people. So, who is leading? BOTH are leading. The spirit of YHVH is within Yehoshua (Joshua) whom Moshe has anointed as his successor.
“Yehoshua” will take the lead and lead the people to the promised land. “Yehoshua” (Joshua) is the longer name of “Yeshua” the name “Yehoshua” contains the name “Yeshuah” which is “salvation” or we could say, the name “Yeshua” with the added “h” which means “Behold, Salvation comes from “YAH” The name “Yehoshua” has the first three letters of YHVH (the “Yod” “Hey” and the “V”)
Symbolically, it is God himself who will take the people through the final steps of the journey to reach the promised land, through his servant Joshua. We will not live forever in our mortal bodies, sooner or later, we must name a successor, someone who will take our place. Kind of like Luke Skywalker taking “Yoda’s place as the next “Jedi” yet he had to get prepared first! We need to be preparing someone who will be the next “you” in ministry.
After Moshe had finished writing the scrolls of the Torah, he gave them to the priests to put beside the Ark of the Covenant. So, I imagine that the Ark of the Covenant had some sort of “side pocket” or a place to put the scrolls. Now, the “Aron HaKodesh” was complete, with a gold chest with the tablets of the Commandments, the pot of Manna, Aron’s rod, and now the Torah scrolls. All to remind us that the “Torah is our guide and leader to give us the “Bread of Life” who is Yeshua, who leads us through his Holy Spirit and his WORD.
Moshe also commanded that the Torah would be read during the time of Sukkot at the end of seven years (vss 10,11) It may have been just the book of “D’varim (Deuteronomy) or the whole Torah (from Genesis to Deuteronomy) I would like to think that it was the whole Torah (the five books at that time). That way, the people would listen to the history of the world, the entrance of sin, and the plan of redemption.
Why is the WORD of God important to us? What is its purpose in our lives? Why should it be so important to read and study it?
It shows us the perfection and sinless being of God and who He is. It points out our weakness and sinful nature, and it points us to reconciliation with God through Yeshua. Then it teaches us how to live a holy and righteous lifestyle through the mitzvoth (commandments) (In that order!) Good works do not come before salvation, but rather the other way around. Righteous works will count towards rewards in heaven, not towards a salvation experience, THAT only comes by faith in the completed work of Yeshua at Calvary.
P.S. I really enjoyed my time in South Florida, spending time with family, meeting new friends, fellowship with other believers, going to the Keys, fishing and diving, and enjoying the sun and surf, (and big iguanas). Thank you congregation Beth Hesed, Thank you "Go Elevate", Rabbi Hugo, Pastor Luis, the praise team, the "speakeasy/open mic" guys, and the "Real Estate" Torah study group. (from Sept 15-29th)