“All of you stand today before the Lord your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, your little ones and your wives—also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water— that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today, that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 29:10-13
This week’s bible reading
Nitzavim – נצבים : “You are standing”
Torah : Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20
Haftarah : Isaiah 61:10-63:9
Gospel : Luke 24:1-12
Our lives are about choices. Every choice that we make can have incredible effects on our lives. The Lord started the human race with a choice too. Adam and Eve were given the choice of obedience to God or obedience to self. We may not understand it, but we are given the exact same choice. Will we stand with the people of God or will fall to the nature of our flesh?
The title of this week’s scripture reading comes from the Hebrew word nitzavim, it is translated as “you are standing”. There are several words for standing used in Hebrew. This word is not referring to people just standing about waiting for something. Rather, this word means standing at attention, similar to how I would stand at attention to salute the flag during the national anthem while in my military uniform.
The Lord calls us to stand in agreement with Him that His ways are right and our ways are destructive. Deuteronomy 29:12 calls us to take this stand “that we may enter into covenant with the Lord your God.” The Lord through Moses uses the Hebrew verb avar, which means, “to cross over”. This could symbolically mean one who crosses over from darkness into light.
This theme is at the heart of Jesus’ message when He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17b) and “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3b)
We must listen to the voice of God and do as He tells us. Living contrary to the way of the Lord brings death and destruction. If we hear His voice and obey Him, agreeing that He is right and His ways and commandments bring life and blessing, we can cross over into a born again life and stand with His children like trees planted by rivers of water bringing forth fruit that will bless others.
I know that when I live for myself, I am not the only one to pay the price. My family and my community suffer too. That is why it is important that when God calls, I stand up, listen with respect and reverence along with everyone else who has an ear to hear.
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