For the week of September 15, 2012 / 28 Elul 5772
Torah: Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:9 - 30:20
Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10 - 63:9



And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 30:1-3; ESV)

One of the most wonderful things about God, the true God, as revealed in the Bible, is that he is always willing to receive those who humbly and sincerely turn to him. In the Hebrew Bible there were times when it appeared that the people had gotten to the point of no return as if they no longer had any hope of restoration. But even some of the vilest of characters found mercy with God when they repented.

As Moses was preparing to die, the prospects of success for the people of Israel looked dim. God knew that Israel's heart was not truly for him and that they would neglect his ways in the years ahead. Yet, as quoted above, he also foresaw a time when Israel would take his Word to heart and turn back to him. Then he would them restore them to himself and to the Land.

How this would all work out is not spelled out here. What is clear is that Israel's waywardness would not result in God's renouncing his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, "For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29; ESV). In that same passage, he agrees with Torah by asserting that Israel's eventual complete restoration before God is assured (see Romans 11:26, 27).

While we don't know exactly how and when this will occur, we do know that the only way for Israel to be restored to God is through the Messiah. Israel would discover through its history its inability to live up to God's standards due to the curse inherited from our first parents in the Garden of Eden - an inability shared by all people - but highlighted by the people of Israel through the receiving of the Torah. While the Torah reveals so much of what is good and holy, including providing an accurate understanding of the person and nature of God, it indicts those who seek to live by its standards, thus impressing upon its disciples their need of a deliverer. The message of the New Covenant Scriptures (New Testament) is that everything Israel needed and longed for in its difficult history is fulfilled in Yeshua of Nazareth.

Some postulate that certain circumstances need to be in place in order for Israel to be restored to God. Yet God's word through Moses sounds like this could happen whenever. Whenever Israel takes to heart all they have gone through and turns to the Lord, the Lord will restore them. Paul again agrees. Speaking of the Jewish people, he says, "But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed" (2 Corinthians 3:16; ESV).

All over the world this is happening. Jewish and non-Jewish people alike are experiencing restoration with God upon turning to him in response to the good news of the coming of the Messiah. Let's not think that anyone, Jew or Gentile, is beyond God's reach today. The time of salvation is whenever.

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