Nitzavim - נצבים - "Standing"
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)
Many times when we defend the importance of Torah in our lives, we tend to make it more complicated than what it really is. In this week’s Torah portion Moses lays it all on the line. In his last ditch effort to convince Israel to give their all to God and His ways Moses simplifies the importance of Torah in our lives by simply making it a matter of life and death. Moses is pleading with Israel to love God with all their hearts, minds, and strength which in effect is choosing life. This is what Torah is all about; it is the instructions on how to love God with all your heart, soul and strength, how to live a sanctified and holy life, His way. Torah is instructions on how to live life to the fullest for God.
Unfortunately, the majority of Christianity has dropped the ball when it comes to understanding the true meaning behind Torah. Taking certain New Testament scriptures out of context, many Christians believe that Torah is a foreshadowing of things to come, it’s all about stoning, sacrificing and it is without grace. In error, many believe that Torah is done away with and that no one can fulfill it. All of these understandings are conflict with the totality of the scriptures. For example, prior to Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Moses says the following.
For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?" 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, "Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?" 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)
Moses makes it very clear that following Torah is not too hard. Notice that he did not say it would be easy. To love God with all your heart, soul and strength requires courage, faith, discipline, dedication and sacrifice. It is a total change from within that can only be accomplished through the born again experience. To totally commit to following God and all His ways is far from easy but, it is not impossible; it is hard but, it is not too hard.
Yeshua is the living Word of God, Torah made flesh.
Everything that makes up who Yeshua is can all be found in Torah. He walked Torah perfectly which is why He is our Perfect Lamb sacrifice. This is why it’s no surprise that Paul repeats Moses words in his letter to the Romans in relation to Yeshua.
For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. 6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, (Romans 10:5-8)
Do you think that Paul was talking about a different righteousness than Moses? Torah is the only definition of righteousness for the entire Bible. If you want to see a complete list of the things God wants us to do and not do, you can only find it in Torah. Both Moses and Paul was speaking of the same righteousness but from different aspects; Moses from a physical aspect and Paul from a faith aspect. When you truly under the heart behind what both men are saying you will realize that both aspects lead to the same physical results in a believer’s life.
Contrary to popular belief, following Torah is not too hard, what is hard is continuously making the choice to live by it. We do not need to complicate matters much; Moses simplified it all for us. You either believe God or you don’t, you either choose life or death; pretty simple right? However, there is one grave mistake that many people make. Choosing between life and death is not a onetime decision. When you are living for God, when you accept Yeshua as both your Lord and Savior, you must choose between life and death every second of every day for the rest of your life on this earth. Unfortunately, many people think it’s a onetime decision, but God demands righteousness from His people 24/7. Maybe this is why Paul says,
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:16)
Do not take God’s commands lightly, follow his commands with great caution and you cannot go wrong. Study Torah to get a more accurate and clear understand of what God expects from you. In all that you do stick to His Word no matter what and be very cautious of man-made doctrines that do not coexist with Torah (they are all over the place) because it is a matter of life and death; not only for you but also for those around you as well.