Nizzavim & Va-Yelekh
For the week of September 8, 2007 / 25 Elul 5767
Torah: Devarim/Deuteronomy 29:9 - 31:30
Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10 - 63:9


Silence Is not an Option

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. (Isaiah 62:1)

Through the Scriptures we learn the plans and purposes of God. Through its pages we understand the origins of life and the special place assigned to human beings by God. While that special place has never been revoked, history demonstrates how we have failed in our role as God's ambassadors on earth. Our failure is not the end of the story. God has been at work from the beginning to fulfill his desire to restore us to our rightful place in creation and in our relationship with him. To accomplish this, God established the people of Israel as his primary instruments with the view of making himself known to all nations.

The inability of the people of Israel to live up to God's standard was to help the rest of the world to understand that none of us can be what God intended without God's help. Not only was Israel to be God's channel of the coming of the Messiah, but also an object lesson for the world to see its need of him.

It is still in God's plan to fulfill his desire for his originally chosen people. Due to his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he is determined to bring about a spiritual transformation of Israel.

It can be said that this transformation of Israel was the primary purpose of the coming of the Messiah. That is why the angel said to Joseph regarding his wife to be, Miriam, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Yeshua, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Years later not long after Yeshua's death, resurrection, and ascension, one of his followers was heard saying to the Jewish people of his day,

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you - even Yeshua. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts 3:19-21).

Notice that it was necessary to proclaim these things to the people in order to invite them to turn to God. In doing so Yeshua's followers were in step with the Jewish prophetic tradition. God has always communicated his truth through words - both spoken and written.

That is why Isaiah cried, "For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch." (Isaiah 62:1)

Isaiah knew that in order for Israel to experience its needed transformation, he had to speak out. Even though early in his ministry God told him that he would not see positive results, yet he spoke out.

In our day there is increasing pressure to keep silent. Western society, which at one time prided itself in the free exchange of ideas, tolerates less and less the clear proclamation of God's Truth. Popular so-called tolerance insists that all ideas are equally valid, thus denying the validity of God's Truth as revealed in the Bible. Followers of the Messiah are increasingly embarrassed to speak up in today's relativistic culture.

Making matters worse are those who use the principle of "actions speak louder than words" to downplay the necessity to speak out. While it is essential to demonstrate the reality of our words through corresponding actions, transformation comes about as people hear God's word.

Silence, therefore, is not an option.

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