This week is a double portion entitled Nitzavim-Vayelech which mean “Standing” and “And he went” respectively.
In Nitzavim, Moses reviews the covenant between Israel and Adonai, warning once again about the evils of idol worship, and describing the destruction in the Land that will follow because of disobedience to Adonai. It also contains a section on repentance and returning to Adonai.
In Vayelech, Moses bids goodbye to his people. He designates Joshua to lead them. Adonai predicts to both Moses and Joshua that the people will stray in the future, and the second parasha ends with Moses preparing the people to learn the song Ha’azinu, which will be in the next parasha.
Adonai had made a covenant with Israel at Horeb. Now, in Chapter 29 they are at Moab. Adonai commands everyone, including the foreigners among them, to stand before Him to hear and renew their commitment to the covenant. Adonai tells them to carefully follow the terms of the covenant so that they may prosper in everything they do, and so that He might confirm them as His people and be their God, as He swore generations earlier to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
This wasn’t some lecture where you could just fall asleep in the back. Adonai mentions even the woodchoppers and people who draw the water to be in attendance. Additionally, the Scripture is written in such a way that it includes the generations to come.
Moses reminds the people that in their long journey from Egypt, they passed many groups of people who were idolatrous, who worshiped their gold and possessions. He warns us to avoid imitating their example and not to fall into those same traps. However, our loving and merciful Father assures us that if we do sin, there is still a way to repent and return to Him.
In Chapter 31 Moses talks of being 120 years old and reminds the Israelis that Adonai told him he would not be allowed to cross the Jordan River with them. He formally presents Joshua to the people as their new leader, and charges Joshua in front of the people to be strong and courageous.
Adonai instructed Moses to write a song and teach it to the Nation of Israel to remember their covenant and that song will begin next week’s Parasha.
The New Testament speaks of the Covenant that Yeshua made with all believers in His death burial and resurrection.
The old covenant that God had established with His people required obedience to the commandments and statutes given through Moses. Because the wages of sin is death the Law required that people perform rituals and sacrifices in order to please God and remain in His grace. The Prophets, however, predicted that there would be a time when God would make a new covenant with the nation of Israel.
Adonai had always intended to establish a new covenant with His people. The Old Covenant with the rituals and sacrificing, was just a shadow of heavenly things. The New Covenant is a promise that Adonai would forgive sin and restore fellowship with those whose hearts were turned towards Him.
Heb. 9:15 tells us that Yeshua is the Mediator of this New Covenant, and His death on the cross was and is the basis of this promise. There was nothing in the Law that could empower the people to obey it. It simply informed the people what they should do, and what they shouldn’t do. With the New Covenant that Yeshua established, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we not only know what to do, but now have been given the power to do it through the Holy Spirit.
Yeshua came to fulfill the law of Moses and inaugurate the New Covenant between Adonai and His people, by living a perfect life and then shedding His own blood to atone for the sins of the world, thus becoming a perfect sacrificial lamb.
The old covenant was written in stone, but the new covenant is written on our hearts, made possible only by faith in Yeshua’s death, burial, and resurrection as the only means of atonement for our sins.
Now that we are under this new covenant, we are not under the penalty of the Law. We are now given the opportunity to receive salvation as a free gift. Through the life-giving Holy Spirit who lives in all believers, we can now share in the inheritance of Messiah and enjoy a permanent, unbroken relationship with Adonai.
Hebrews 9:15 declares, “For this reason Messiah is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”
If you have not seriously given your heart and life over to Yeshua and transferred your loyalties to Him, I invite you and urge you to consider it today. May today be the day of your salvation.