Devarim / Words
1 Timothy 3:1-7
We begin the final book of the Torah, Devarim / Words. The first four books of the Torah were words from God. This book is an eloquent speech given by Moshe, a man who once claimed in Exodus 4:10 ‘Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
This is the final month of Moshe’s life, a life that led and taught the Israelites before, during and through their journey. Moshe ends his journey with the Israelites not only as a great leader, but as a teacher, no longer slow of tongue. It took trials, wilderness, the lashon ha’ra, the evil doers, the spies and more to bring him to a place of eloquent speech and prophecy.
Devarim is about a covenant. In other words, apart from Moses’ song and the blessing of the tribes, with which the book and Moses’ life come to an end; the entire book of Devarim is a covenant on a monumental scale, and this last book of Torah begins with the parsha Devarim/Words.
Words can be seeds that are planted with us. Some will devour the seeds and they will germinate inside them. What are the seeds? Constructive or destructive seed, we need to be careful with advice we give. Is it in accordance with God’s teaching - the Torah? What could be the ripple effect down the road? How much pain will I cause by giving the wrong counsel?
Spreading seeds of God’s truth should be our goal, and our only goal without personal agenda. Some will digest the seeds of truth and bear fruit and they will look inside themselves. Some will judge the seeds and look outside themselves. It is important to quit looking at the speaker, the sender of the seed and look at the seed. Is it truth?
Do we take the seed and let it germinate into good fruit in humility or do we analyze the seed? Do we take the seeds, set it among other seeds, organize and compare them, study them, and categorize them. Compare, study, criticize, yet never look inwards. All the while taking much pride in the that we are always learning about the seeds but meanwhile never learning from the seeds.
2 Timothy 3:1-9 speaks of words as knowledge but without fruit; ‘But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.’
The knowledge of the truth is Torah, expanding beyond the simplistic of the commands. It is total truth in God’s word, not our manifestation of His Word. Knowledge of the truth is the Torah, which is knowledge of truth in action. We are acting out the seed. We live in a verb state not a noun state.
Fear, bitterness, gossip, anger, hate come from seeds of destruction. At the end of this parsha, Moshe reminds the people in Deuteronomy 3:21-22 ‘And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings; so will the Lord do to all the kingdoms through which you pass. 22 You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you.’
The seed he is planting is strength.
Words can harm or heal not just because of thoughts that they trigger, but rather because the thought triggered the words. Then the words spoken to others trigger their thoughts – either negatively or positively. Sages teach that once a thought has been spoken, it holds tremendous power, either good or bad. The Hebrew word for speech is dibbur linked to davar which means thing, and devarim means things or words. Once a word is spoken, it becomes alive.
God’s word is likened to rain in the Torah portion Ha’azinu, which means to listen. What should we listen to? His word. The rain germinates the seed as we grow in His will. ‘Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass.’ Deuteronomy 32:1-2.
In Matthew 13, Yeshua speaks of seeds in the parable of the Sower, the parable of the weeds and the parable of the mustard seed. But first, He prefaces the reason for His parables and the reason for this particular parable: ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says…’
Then Yeshua quotes Isaiah 6:10: “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.”
What is it that is keeping us from returning to be healed? What is it that keeps us from germinating the good seed? Only our ‘self’.
Devarim / Words
1 Timothy 3:1-7
WORDS ~ This Sabbath we begin Devarim/Words, the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is basically a farewell speech to the children of Israel from Moshe. Devarim 1:1 starts out with “These are the words which Moses spoke ….” The Hebrew name for Deuteronomy is Devarim, meaning “words,” which is the plural form of deva, meaning “word, speech, a matter or thing, a commandment, a report, a message, or promise.” The Hebrew word devar is similar to the Greek word logos which we see in John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim.” From this verse, we see that Yeshua is the Word of both the Torah and the Brit Chadasha. He is the message of the entire Bible.
To understand the importance of Devarim, we have to understand that Yeshua is the Word in flesh as He declared in John 1:1.
In Proverbs 8, we see how Wisdom relates to the world. Specifically in Proverbs 8:22-30, it speaks of wisdom/Torah/Yeshua being created before the world. Wisdom describes herself as older than creation. In the beginning -which existed before the world was created - God first created Wisdom and then everything else. Wisdom here is imagined as a kind of principle of order and goodness that made the entire world both possible and worthwhile. The sages teach that ‘for a brief moment in cosmic time, after Wisdom was formed and before the world was created, she was the only companion of the Divine.’
Proverbs 8:22-30 ‘The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
23 I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
26 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.
27 When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 When He established the clouds above,
When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
29 When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him.’
There is a connection between the farewell speech of Moshe and the farewell speech of Yeshua in John chapters 14-16. Moses was the first to prophesy about the coming of the Messiah in Deuteronomy 18:15 ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear’.
Moses is the only person to which Yeshua compared Himself in John 5:46-47 ‘For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Yeshua often quoted from Deuteronomy, and when asked what the most important commandment in the Torah was, He quoted The Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-6 and He included this verse as part of his explanation of the whole Torah. In His temptation in the wilderness, He quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:16, 6:13 and 10:20 when resisting HaSatan.
In Devarim, Elohim is also be viewed as a husband asking his bride to give her whole heart to Him, to follow Him and to obey him. Sadly, after Joshua, we see the conclusion of an adulterous bride. This is where God lays out the blessings for obedience and the curses for turning away in the end of Deuteronomy. Israel eventually becomes a rebellious and adulterous wife, is divorced, (a get) then given the promise of Yeshua which is made manifest.
Farewell Scriptures follow a pattern. As a father gathers his children, so do the spiritual leaders in the Scriptures, announcing that they are about to die and encouraging the people to be strong and courageous. They often predict future events, trials and tribulations, but in the end, there will be joy.
Moshe says in Deuteronomy 31:6-8 ‘Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” 7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” And Deuteronomy 31:23 ‘Then He inaugurated Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and of good courage; for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land of which I swore to them, and I will be with you.”
Joshua in Joshua 1:6-9 ‘Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Also in Joshua 10:25 ‘Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”
King David to his son Solomon in 1 Kings 2:1-4 ‘Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. 3 And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; 4 that the Lord may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
Yeshua says in John 14:27 ‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’
John 16:33. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
The Torah/Wisdom also contains a beginning and farewell found in Proverbs 8:32-36.
“Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death.”
This is the Word speaking to us, this is wisdom speaking to us, and this is Yeshua speaking to us.
‘In the beginning was the Word/Devar and the Word/Devar was with God, and the Word/Devar was God. 2 He (wisdom/Torah) was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him (wisdom/Torah) was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.’