V’zot Haberachah – “And This Is The Blessing”

This week’s Parasha covers Deuteronomy chapters 33 and 34, it is called V’zot HaBerakhah.  This is the last Parasha in the cycle. Next week we will begin a new Parasha cycle back in the beginning in Genesis 1

In these two chapters, we will read of the blessings that Moses bestowed upon the tribes as they would be entering the Promised Land soon.  The last chapter will be of Moses’s death.

Chapter 33 :1  starts out this way “ This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed  the people of Israel before his death”.  When Moses gives this blessing,  only Moses, Joshua, and Caleb had any experience in Egypt as adults because all of their generation had perished in the wilderness during the last 40 years.  When we think of the book of Deuteronomy,  it is Moses telling the people what had taken place throughout the Exodus during the last 40 years.  While most of the reading we have in the Torah is of the continued flaws the Jewish people had in relationship to how they followed God,  this Chapter 33 is of the blessing that he bestows upon the people of Israel.

One interesting note,  the tribe of Simeon is not mentioned.  Moses  starts out by giving a blessing to the tribe of Reuben and Moses prays that this tribe would never be extinct in Israel.  Moses then blesses Judah, which he calls the royal tribe from which the Messiah will  come.  He then blesses the tribe of Levi. If you remember, the tribe of Levi was that one tribe that when Moses came down from the mountain  with the 10 Commandments,  Levi sided with the Lord against the others when they made the golden calf.  Levi was the instrument God used to kill those responsible for the golden calf incident, with the exception of Aaron.  Just a thought to remember, when you think your sin too great to be forgiven, here is Aaron who builds the golden calf.  When his brother Moses asked him about it, he says “it just  appeared out of the fire”.  Aaron repents of his sin and God makes him the first priest.  Just like us, he was redeemable.

The tribe of Levi was given the privilege to be the teacher of the word of the law.  God then honors the tribe of Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh. He blesses Asher last and tells him that he would be blessed with many children and that he should be able to dip his foot in oil.   Today, we find that there is much oil in that area. The chapter ends with Moses telling the people, “your enemies shall come fawning to you and you shall tread upon their backs”.   When the Israelis followed the Lord, this happened and when they didn’t, God punished them.

In chapter 34, Moses begins the trek up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo and from there God showed him all of the Promised Land but again reminded him he would not enter it.  Moses’ actions with regard to taking credit for bringing water out from the rock with his brother Aaron cost him the right to go into the promised land.  God says to him “I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not go over there”.  Moses was 120 years old when he died and God buried him in a location unknown to man.

When we think of Joseph who died in Egypt and wanted his bones buried in the Promised Land, which happened, Moses body never enters the Promised Land it stays on that mountain. Now many centuries later, Moses does make it to the Promised Land with Elijah when they visit with Yeshua on the Mount of Transfiguration. So while he didn’t enter the Promised Land that day, he did later on in the good company of Elijah — still doing the work of the Lord.

The people mourned the death of Moses for 30 days and then Joshua, God’s choice for Moses successor to the Israelis, takes them into the Promised Land that God promised to give and fulfilled Adonai’s promise.

Thoughts for us to consider

Moses brought down the law to the people.  Jewish people today think they follow the law and it saves them from their sin, but the law never saves anyone it just reveals their sin — it never removes it.  The only way sin is truly removed is through the blood of Yeshua, the Messiah, by the grace and mercy of El  Elyon, the God most high.

As Joshua begins to lead the people, they obey him,   as God had commanded them. Verse 10 in chapter 34 says “And there has not arisen a prophet since in all Israel like Moses whom the Lord knew face-to-face”.  This is high praise from Elohim given to Moses.

One final thought, when we read chapter 34, while it falls in the Torah, did Moses write it or did Joshua? While we do not know. The answer to that is worth pondering,  but either way. It is most definitely God’s word.