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Commentary on Parashat Nitzavim (Standing) and Parashat Vayelech (He went)

D’varim (Deuteronomy) 29:9–30:20 and 31:1–30

In this week’s Scripture portion, we read of Moses speaking about when leadership of Israel will be transferred to Joshua:

So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the Lᴏʀᴅ has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’ “It is the Lᴏʀᴅ your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall inherit them. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the Lᴏʀᴅ has spoken. “And the Lᴏʀᴅ will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. “And the Lᴏʀᴅ will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lᴏʀᴅ your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lᴏʀᴅ has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. “And the Lᴏʀᴅ is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed.”
(Deuteronomy 31:1–8)

There are two key points here, which I believe if we can really take hold of them and apply them to our walk with the Lord, we will see great victory in our lives! The first one is found in verse 3,

It is the Lᴏʀᴅ your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall inherit them.

Moses was telling the people that although he would not cross the Jordan River with them into the Promised Land, they should not worry but instead put their trust in the Lord Himself who would walk before them. Our human nature is to trust in that which we see, touch, and feel, and in this case, the people trusted Moses. However, the person who brought them out of Egypt could not continue with them and first and foremost, they had to trust in God and God alone. It is only after that, that Moses told them about Joshua.

The second important point is found in verse 6,

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lᴏʀᴅ your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

Oftentimes, when the Lord calls us to do something, we focus more on the challenge lying before us than on the Creator who created all things and controls all things. In other words, this verse is telling us to be strong and courageous in the Lord, to keep our eyes on Him because He is standing right there with us.

It also tells us not to fear, or in other words, not to tremble at what we see before us! The Hebrew word here is “ta’arzon” which can be translated as “tremble”, but it can also mean, “to admire someone or something, to respect it, or to be afraid of it.” When we focus more on that which we see, it brings us to a place where we may unintentionally hold that scary thing in a higher regard than even the Lord. We focus so much on the “giant” in front of us, giving it such a huge place in our lives, which could be tantamount to making it an idol.

The Lord wants our eyes on Him and Him alone. He wants to be our God. We are to fear, honor, admire, and respect Him over anything else in our lives…especially that intimidating “giant” standing before us.

This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel, September 14, 2017, and reposted with permission.

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Moran Rosenblit
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.

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