“Choose Life” by Ariel Ehrmantrout
Torah Portion: Devarim or “Words”
Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27
Priesthood Instructions: James 3-5
“Foresake the Power of Death and Choose Life!”
Today’s Reading Deuteronomy 1:19-43
“ Then, as the LORD our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went toward the hill country of the Amorites through all that vast and dreadful desert that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea. Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us. See, the LORD your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD, the God of your fathers, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.” The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe. They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshcol and explored it. Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the LORD our God is giving us.” But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, “The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose heart. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.”Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: “Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either. But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea. Then you replied, “We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country. But the LORD said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’ So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the LORD’s command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country
Devarim: The Retelling–Choices that lead to Life
1. Now we embark on the book of Devarim—the “Words” of the retelling
A. This book is often called “the Explanation of Torah.” It is said that Moses received the first four books from the throat of God, but the book of Deuteronomy is the Oral Explanation or Expansion of the first 4 books.
B. In the 200 various commandments that are located in this book over 70 are brand new and have not been given before. In this book we see the phrase “God spoke to ME” whereas in the rest of Torah the Scripture reads “God spoke to Moses.”(DT 1:42, 2:9, 3:2) This personalization leads the Sages to say that Moses was delivering these words like a prophet—whereas the people previously had heard God through the throat of Moses—now they were hearing Moses as He prophesied.
C. This retelling is a significant sign to all Israelites
pointing directly to how Yeshua would come and teach His people—His united people Israel—and uphold the Torah previously given through Moses. As Yeshua told a group of Pharisees, “if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46).
And Moses said in Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”
D. Moses Prophesied that God would raise up a prophet like him from among our brothers and that we MUST listen to him. Deuteronomy 18:15 says “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” Just like Moses—orally gave expansion and explanation to the first 4 books of Torah in Deuteronomy—so too would Yeshua give expansion and explanation of the whole of Torah for all to see in the B’rit Hadasha (New Testament).
Matthew 5:21-22 we see a clear picture of this “ “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
E. To argue Yeshua came to do away with Torah is to misunderstand the mission of both Moses and Yeshua –and will lead you to missing Yeshua’s intent for coming as well.
In Matthew 5:17-20 Yeshua stated very clearly “”Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
E. To argue Yeshua came to do away with Torah…..
Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law
[This is referring to DT 6:25 “And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”], you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Because we are claiming Jer.23:6 “In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
2. Moses retells the story of the Wilderness Experience
A. The “Wilderness is seen as GREAT and AWESOME”
(DT 1:19) because they saw many frightening creatures and things as they traversed the desert.
1. “Great” comes from the Hebrew word, “GADOWL” Strongs 1419—and means “To Grow, Great, to GROW UP” God sent the Israelites through the GREAT WILDERNESS to cause them to GROW UP!
2. “Awesome” comes from the Hebrew word “YARE” Strongs 3372—and means “to fear, reverence, honour, and respect.” So God called the Israelites into the “GREAT” and “AWESOME” Wilderness so that they would grow up—and learn to FEAR, HONOR and RESPECT His leadership.
B. Then Moses moves on to retelling the mission of the Spies. In the Numbers 13 and 14 account we do not get the clear picture that Moses gives us here—just like we cannot clearly understand Torah and its precepts without Yeshua’s explanation and guidance.
Matthew 16:8-12 says, “Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
C. The people who had previously been immature and lacked respect for Moses and God’s leadership bulled forward—Past their Elders—Past their Clan Heads– and DEMANDED the spies be sent into the land. God had ALREADY DECLARED ON OATH the land was theirs to Father Abraham—but they couldn’t move past what they had seen in the Desert.
D. The Hebrew word used to describe the way they approached Moses in verse 22 of Chapter 1 is the Hebrew Word “OMAR” Strongs 559—which means “to boast, to act proudly.”
The Sages teach that the people in their PRIDE and ARROGANCE approached Moses and through Moses—they approached God in a Disrespectful, Disorderly manner. Romans 13:1-2 says “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
D. The Peoples Immaturity and Disrespect caused them to die in the Wilderness—never entering the Land of Promise. The lack of recognizing God’s orderly PLAN for them resulted in them believing the LIES of the Faithless Spies.
Deuteronomy 12:8 says “ You are not to do as we do here today, everyone as he sees fit, since you have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance the LORD your God is giving you.”
AND Deuteronomy 12:32 goes on to warn “See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.”
3. The anatomy of a choice that leads to the realm of Death……
A. First—we take our eyes off the promises that God has given us! God made 10 promises to Abraham that our ours in Christ–and NOTHING can take these away:
The Ten Promises To Abraham in greater detail:
1. God Promises YOU the Land (Genesis 15:18)
2. God Promises To Make You A Great Nation (Israel)
3. God Promises That You Are To be Blessed (Genesis 12:2)
4. God Promises To Give You A Great Name
5. God Promises That You Will Be A Blessing to Others
6. God Promises To Bless Those Who Bless YOU!
7. God Promises To Curses Those Who Curse You.
8. God Promises That Because Of YOU–ALL Families On Earth WILL BE BLESSED
9. God Promises that Many Nations Will Come From YOU!
10. God Promises To Make You Exceedingly Fruitful/Gauranteeing That You Will Multiply Exceedingly!
The Israelites knew this—BUT DEMANDED the SPIES because of their flesh. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says “We live by faith, not by sight.” Faith is from the Hebrew word “EMUNAH” Strong’s 529—meaning “steadfast obedience to Gods Teaching and Instruction.”
B. Second—We fail to respect Gods anointed Leaders choosing to move in based on our own lust and desire. 1 Peter 2:13-17 says “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”
1 John 5:2 CLEARLY TELLS US WHAT LOVING OUR BROTHERS IS: 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands!”
C. Third—We base our choices on the culmination of our life experiences which moves us from the realm of the SUPERNATURAL and keeps us in the realm of the NATURAL.
Isaiah 43:18 says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
D. We then fail to OBEY GOD and do not MOVE IN and POSSES revealing our lack of TRUST for God and what He has ALREADY GAURANTEED ON OATH
Deuteronomy 8:20 makes this promise to us—“ Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.”
E. Choices that lead to life #1:
1—They are totally based in what God has written for our instruction (i.e. “Choose LIFE that you may LIVE!”)
Deuteronomy 30:19 states “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”
E. Choices that lead to life #2:
2—They are based in proper authority and respect for Gods leadership structure
Philippians 2:25-29 says “But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him”
E. Choices that lead to life #3:
3—We remove our human experience—and focus on the supernatural ability of God
Colossians 1:23-25 says “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.”
E. Choices that lead to life #4:
4. We then MOVE IN and CHOOSE TO POSSES ALL GOD’S PROMISES—living the YES and AMEN!
2 Corinthians 1:20 states “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
Think on these things this week………………………………
1. Why when tragic events take place, do we seen to forget what is written in the Word about us?
2. Why do you think that Yeshua’s mission to regather Ephraim back into the commonwealth of Israel is SO overlooked by most Churches?
3. Why do we give so much weight to our negative life experiences, rather than what is written Christ IN US now that we are saved?
©2010 Ariel Ehrmantrout–All Rights Reserved Worldwide