Parashah 52: Vayelekh (He went)
Deuteronomy 31:1-30

Parashah 52: Vayelekh (He went); Deuteronomy 31:1-30.

Haftarah reading: Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27.

B'rit Hadasha suggested reading: Hebrews 13:5-8.

Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the Aramaic English New Testament.

Welcome "newbies" and "oldies!" As you all know, Torah was written by Moshe (Moses) and consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey, transliterated into English as YHWH, and most likely pronounced "Yah-way" (see Exodus 3:13-15). His Son's Name is Y'shua (most likely pronounced "Ye-shoo-ah"). Enjoy this week's Torah portion!

This week's Torah lesson is another "tear jerker" for all those who love YHWH (Yahweh) because, for those who understand the words of this parashah, they reveal YHWH's words weren't meant only for the people of Moshe's (Moses) time, but that they have reverberated throughout the millennia to reveal that the state of the world today is a direct result of our disobedience to YHWH's Torah (divine instruction in righteousness)!

Please allow His words to speak to your heart as you follow along with this study, beginning with Deuteronomy 31:1-30 where we discover that YHWH had a plan for keeping His teachings alive:

Deuteronomy 31: 9 Then Moshe wrote down this Torah and gave it to the cohanim, the descendants of Levi who carried the ark with the covenant of ADONAI, and to all the leaders of Isra'el. 10 Moshe gave them these orders: "At the end of every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot in the year of sh'mittah, 11 when all Isra'el have come to appear in the presence of ADONAI at the place he will choose, you are to read this Torah before all Isra'el, so that they can hear it.

12 Assemble the people -the men, the women, the little ones and the foreigners you have in your towns -so that they can hear, learn, fear ADONAI your God and take care to obey all the words of this Torah; 13 and so that their children, who have not known, can hear and learn to fear ADONAI your God, for as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Yarden to possess."

WOW! Please note He is also talking to the "foreigners" (non-Hebrews) and future generations! The above means that children who were babies and toddlers seven years before were now old enough to start hearing and paying attention to the history of their God and all He ever said!

What has happened since those days? Most of today's "believers" certainly don't believe that Torah pertains to them! This misconception began when Catholicism came to pervert the Word; and later Christianity, while restoring Yeshua to His rightful place, insisted that the Torah was a curse and something that was abolished at the cross....

Humans have short memories, and they tend to forget rules and traditions if not constantly reminded. This is why every generation throughout history has waned and waxed in their relationship with YHWH. We're still doing it today; this is why we are now "as in the days of Noah" (Genesis 6:5-8). The only thing we can do now is to "get ourselves right with YHWH" by clinging to His Word and learning to obey His Torah. Those who have "put God in a box" and come up with their own rules and ideas and religions/religiosity will be considered "lukewarm" upon Y'shua's return (Revelation 3:16).

Throughout the rest of this parashah, we see YHWH prophesying how His people would ultimately turn away from Him. Case in point:

Deuteronomy 31: 16 ADONAI said to Moshe, "You are about to sleep with your ancestors. But this people will get up and offer themselves as prostitutes to the foreign gods of the land where they are going. When they are with those gods, they will abandon me and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will flare up, and I will abandon them and hide my face from them. They will be devoured, and many calamities and troubles will come upon them. Then they will ask, 'Haven't these calamities come upon us because our God isn't here with us?' 18 But I will be hiding my face from them because of all the evil they will have done in turning to other gods.

What "foreign gods" was YHWH referring to in Deuteronomy 31? As mentioned in other parashahs, these include not just the various "gods" we see in the myriad "religions" (such as Islam's "Allah"; Hinduism's "Krishna"; the rituals of Japan's Shintoism; Satanism's "Satan", etc.), but also the idols in our lives, such as food, drugs and alcohol, money, possessions, etc. - all those things that draw attention to ourselves and take our eyes off YHWH and His will.

America - are you listening? Have we, as a nation, not offered ourselves as prostitutes to "tolerance" and "political correctness"? Have we, as a nation, not experienced many trials and tribulations over the years, especially in recent years? This isn't due to "El Nino" or "global warming!" It's because we are in the end times and YHWH has removed His mighty Hand from us as a collective whole because we are mired not in Torah but in religion and religiosity, and He is allowing us to choose whom we will follow while our country crumbles before our very eyes....

If you don't think your lukewarm attitude towards "God" is a problem, then please ask yourself: Which one of the nearly 40,000 Christian "denominations" did Y'shua bring? Which "flavor" of Messianic Judaism did He bring - "two-house"? fights over the spelling of the transliteration of the Sacred Names? the erroneous belief that Acts 15 says Gentiles only have to follow certain rules and don't have to bother with the deeper commands?

When are we going to wake up and realize YHWH is ONE and He has certain rules to follow that ALL all must follow (see Numbers 15:13-16). He doesn't have separate rules for His Natural and Adopted children! What makes anyone so special that they think they can ignore HIS rules and come up with their own?

Haftarah reading:

The prophets Hosea and Joel spoke of false gods:

Hosea 14: 2 Take words with you, and return to ADONAI; say to him, "Forgive all guilt, and accept what is good; we will pay instead of bulls [the offerings of] our lips. 3 Ashur will not save us, we will not ride on horses, and we will no longer call what we made with our hands our gods. For it is only in you that the fatherless can find mercy." 4 "I will heal their disloyalty, I will love them freely; for my anger has turned from him. 5 I will be like dew to Isra'el; he will blossom like a lily and strike roots like the L'vanon. 6 His branches will spread out, his beauty be like an olive tree and his fragrance like the L'vanon. 7 Again they will live in his shade and raise grain; they will blossom like a vine, and its aroma will be like the wine of the L'vanon. 8 Efrayim [will say], 'What have I to do any more with idols?' And I, I answer and affirm him; I am like a fresh, green cypress tree; your fruitfulness comes from me." 9 Let the wise understand these things, and let the discerning know them. For the ways of ADONAI are straight, And the righteous walk in them, but in them sinners stumble.

Micah 7: 18 Who is a God like you, pardoning the sin and overlooking the crimes of the remnant of his heritage? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in grace. 19 He will again have compassion on us, he will subdue our iniquities. You will throw all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20 You will show truth to Ya'akov and grace to Avraham, as you have sworn to our ancestors since days of long ago.

Joel 2: 15 "Blow the shofar in Tziyon! Proclaim a holy fast, call for a solemn assembly." 16 Gather the people; consecrate the congregation; assemble the leaders; gather the children, even infants sucking at the breast; let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride the bridal chamber. 17 Let the cohanim, who serve ADONAI, stand weeping between the vestibule and the altar. Let them say, "Spare your people, ADONAI! Don't expose your heritage to mockery, or make them a byward among the Goyim. Why should the peoples say, 'Where is their God?'" 18 Then ADONAI will become jealous for his land and have pity on his people.

19 Here is how ADONAI will answer his people: "I will send you grain, wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you; and no longer will I make you a mockery among the Goyim. 20 No, I will take the northerner away, far away from you, and drive him to a land that is waste and barren; with his vanguard toward the eastern sea and his rearguard toward the western sea, his stench and his rottenness will rise, because he has done great things." 21 Don't fear, O soil; be glad! rejoice! for ADONAI has done great things. 22 Don't be afraid, wild animals; for the desert pastures are green, the trees are putting out their fruit, the fig tree and vine are giving full yield.

23 Be glad, people of Tziyon! rejoice in ADONAI your God! For he is giving you the right amount of rain in the fall, he makes the rain come down for you, the fall and spring rains - this is what he does first. 24 Then the floors will be full of grain and the vats overflow with wine and olive oil. 25 "I will restore to you the years that the locusts ate, the grasshoppers, shearer-worms and cutter-worms, my great army that I sent against you. 26 You will eat until you are satisfied and will praise the name of ADONAI your God, who has done with you such wonders. Then my people will never again be shamed. 27 You will know that I am with Isra'el and that I am ADONAI your God, and that there is no other. Then my people will never again be shamed.

As you can plainly see, this week's Haftarah reading reiterates the fact that turning to YHWH and His Torah is the only way to "be saved" and have a real relationship with our Elohim!

It is amazing to discover that, even in those "wilderness days" we are told that YHWH's people were "stiff-necked" and rebellious...despite the fat that they had, for 40 years, been living in the shadows of the "pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night" (Exodus 13:21) and were under the influence of the humble Moshe (Moses) who was the greatest prophet on earth at the time - a man who had been selected by YHWH personally to have the distinct honor and privilege of talking with God face-to-face (Exodus 33:11)!

B'rit Chadashah reading:

The B'rit Chadashah, too, warns us of "other gods":

Hebrews 13: 5. Let not your mind love money, but let what you have, satisfy you. For Master YHWH Himself has said, I will never leave you nor loosen the hand towards you. 6. And it belongs to us to say confidently, My Master (Y'shua) is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7. Remember your guides who have spoken to you Elohim-inspired concepts; observe the perfection of their works and imitate their faith. 8. Y'shua the Mashiyach is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Footnote from the AENT: Rav Shaul knows Y'shua as the Word of YHWH who is Mashiyach, as the same yesterday, today, and forever, and all things were created by the Word of YHWH from the beginning of time. It was Mashiyach who spoke with Noach and Avraham and gave the Torah to Moshe, which is why it is very wicked for Christians to speak evil of Torah and suggest that Israel could not keep the Torah which was given them, when YHWH Himself says, "But the word is very nigh unto you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it." (D'varim/Deut. 30:14)

Finally, at the end of today's lesson, we see that Moshe wrote the entire Torah - and we are even told what he did with it:

Deuteronomy 31: 24 Moshe kept writing the words of this Torah in a book until he was done. When he had finished, 25 Moshe gave these orders to the L'vi'im who carried the ark with the covenant of ADONAI: 26 "Take this book of the Torah and put it next to the ark with the covenant of ADONAI your God, so that it can be there to witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stiffnecked you are! Here, even while I am still alive with you today, you have rebelled against ADONAI; so how much more will you do so after my death?

28 Assemble for me all the leaders of your tribes and your officials, so that I can say these things in their hearing, calling heaven and earth to witness against them - 29 because I know that after my death you will become very corrupt and turn aside from the way that I have ordered you, and that disaster will come upon you in the acharit-hayamim, because you will do what ADONAI sees as evil and provoke him by your deeds."

Alas, today we have no prophets like the "Old Testament" prophets whom YHWH chose to speak through. But we do have the Bible as our guide; a holy entity that contains all we need to know here on earth to help us conduct our daily lives in a holy, set apart manner. Everything we see, read or hear must be filtered through Scripture - or else it isn't of YHWH....

Micah 7: 18 Who is a God like you, pardoning the sin and overlooking the crimes of the remnant of his heritage? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in grace. 19 He will again have compassion on us, he will subdue our iniquities. You will throw all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20 You will show truth to Ya'akov and grace to Avraham, as you have sworn to our ancestors since days of long ago.

Please note the message of Micah 7 as it reveals that "grace" isn't a "New Testament" thing! Grace has always been around, since the day Adam and Eve were allowed to LIVE and leave the Garden of Eden. Grace was extended to Cain when he killed Abel. Grace saved Noah and his family from perishing in the flood! Many Christians like to use "grace" as an excuse to show they don't have to DO anything except "believe in Jesus" - an ideology that can send one straight into the pits of hell because, unless one is DOING what "Jesus" said/commanded/taught, who is one really worshipping?

There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and we wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and we pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH. And, as always, please let us know if you ever see anything in our studies that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....

The next Parashah reading will be:

Parashah 53: Ha'azinu (Hear); Deuteronomy 32:1-52.

Haftarah reading: 2 Samuel 22:1-51.

B'rit Hadasha suggested reading: Romans 10:14-21 and 12:14-21.

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