We are approaching the end of the Torah scroll. D’Varim (words) is the Hebrew name for the book of Deuteronomy. In the Torah (which doesn’t mean “law” but is translated as “teachings”) each new book is named from the first words of that book. D’Varim comes from the first line of the book, which starts, “These are the words Moshe spoke…”.
What we see throughout this book is Moshe, at the end of the forty years , telling this new generation the history of how they got to where they are. He reminds them, in this parasha, of how he assigned men to help him adjudicate and lead the vast throng of people, how they were in the desert for forty years and never wanted for anything (God’s providence), how when they first came to the land they refused to enter, then were defeated after trying to enter because God said not to try. Moshe is reminding this generation why it is they who are entering the land. This parasha ends with Moshe (Moses) reminding them of how, because God was with them, they defeated the two kings Og and Sichon, whose lands were given to Gad, Reuben and the half tribe of Menasheh, and his encouragement to Joshua to go into the land and defeat it because God will continue to be with them as He has been all this time.
One thing I find interesting is in Chapter 2, where Moshe relates that God said to leave the people of Edom and Amon alone. Edom is the descendants of Esau and Amon the descendants of Lot. This is important to me because what I see here is that God’s promises are not just to the Jewish people, and He is just as faithful to anyone He makes promises to as He is to those who follow Him. Remember, Esau and Lot weren’t the most “Godly” people we find in the Bible. They also were not the receivers of the covenant God made with Avraham, but they were still remembered by God.
We need to remember that God is watching out for everyone. Not just those of us who are “Born Again”. Not just those of us who profess to have a “special relationship” with Him. From God’s point of view, everyone is special to Him. We need to keep our pridefulness at bay. We need to remember that God has done wonderful things for us, none of which we really deserved, and He did this because of who He is, not because of who we are. I bet if you think about it, you can see where God intervened and did wonderful things for you, even before you accepted His grace. He does wonderful things because He chooses to. He rules, He decides, and He can do whatever He wants to do. That’s important to remember. This new generation, about to enter the land and fight for it, is not being given the land because they deserve it, but because God promised it to their forefathers, and God’s promises are absolute. We are not given salvation because we deserve it, but because of God’s promises to our forefathers. and through His Grace.
We should use this as an example for ourselves of how we must live and treat others. Our promises should be absolute: that means don’t make promises you can’t keep. That is a sin. It is better to say no than to say yes without meaning it, and it is better to seem unwilling to help than to make a show of your compassion and not follow through. As Yeshua told us, simply let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.”
God tells us to be holy for He is holy, well, that’s a tall order given how human beings are. I doubt I will ever be “holy”, but that’s not saying I can’t be holier than I am now. God keeps His promises, even to those who ignore or reject Him, so we should also be honest in what we say, and do what we say we will do. It doesn’t matter what the other person does or doesn’t do- our promise to anyone is our promise to God. You don’t want to be breaking promises to the Almighty!!
I learned a long time ago, when training to be a salesman, that people don’t mean what they say, they mean what they do. God does what He says, and we should follow that example.