V’zot HaB’racha – “And This Is The Blessing”

This week’s Parasha covers Deuteronomy chapters 33 and 34. It’s called V’zot HaB’racha – And This Is The Blessing. This is the last Parasha in the annual cycle. Next week we begin a new book, In The Beginning, with 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; and the last chapter will be of Moses’ death.

Chapter 33 starts 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. All their generation had perished in the wilderness during the last 40 years, so when we think of the book of Deuteronomy it’s Moses telling the people what had taken place throughout the Exodus during the last 40 years.

While most of the Torah records the continued flaws the Jewish people had in relationship to how they followed God, this chapter is about 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 prays that this tribe would never be extinct in Israel. He then blesses Judah, calling that tribe the royal tribe from which the Messiah will come.

Moses then blesses the tribe of Levi, and if you remember, the tribe of Levi was that one tribe that, when Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments, sided with the Lord against the others when they made the golden calf. The tribe of Levi was the instrument God used to kill those responsible for the golden calf incident – with the exception of Aaron. So just a thought to remember when you think your sin too great to be forgiven: here is Aaron who builds the golden calf, and when his brother Moses asks him about it, he says it just appeared out of the fire. Aaron repents of his sin and God makes him the first priest. Aaron, just like us, was redeemable. So the tribe of Levi was given the privilege to be the teacher of the word of the law.

Moses 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 and today we find that there are olive groves in that area.

The chapter ends with Moses telling the people that their enemies will come fawning to them and they will tread on their enemies’ backs. When the Israelis followed the Lord this happened and when they didn’t, God punish 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. His 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 land that God promised to give which 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 will 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.” That’s high praise from God given to Moses.