Shalom All, Welcome this week’s Torah / bible study section. “Give ear [Ha’Azinu], Oh heavens, and I will speak …” (Deuteronomy 32:1). Last week’s section, “Vayelech” concluded with Moses foreseeing that Israel would turn away from their covenant with God, causing Him to hide His face from them. Still, Moses promised that the words of Yahweh God’s instructions (Torah) would not be “forgotten out of the mouths of their descendants” (Deuteronomy 31:21). Moses gathered the people together to listen to a shir (song) called Ha’Azinu (Listen). That song would always be a reminder of the consequences of turning from YHWH.
This week’s study section, which is called Ha’Azinu, consists primarily of the 70 line song that Moses sang to the people of Israel on the last day of his life. At the end, God commands Moses to go up to the top of Mount Nebo to catch a glimpse of the Promised Land before being “gathered unto His people” Deut 32:50. He was not gathered onto those ending up in hell; but “his people” who are those of God. God says many will be cut off or blot out from His people. Many Israelites who sinned were cut off and many gentiles who were obedient as Cornelius in Acts 10:2 was “gathered unto” . See the study “Cut off Blot Out” to see the criteria of being “gathered unto”. Remember because of Moses and Aaron’s disobedience they lost the promise made to them of entering the land. Despite all Moses’ good “works” and frustration in leading stiffnecked Israel. Let that be a lesson to us of today, that stress of life nor actions of others does not count as an excuse for us. We are to be longsuffering and endure to the end! “Yet you shall see the land before you, though you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel” (Deut 32:52).
Moses is allowed to see the land, but not enter in. It is a devastating disappointment and, yet, he ends his public life with a song he taught the survivors of the 40 year trek.
THE SONG OF THE LAMB.
What is the nature of this song? It begins by describing God’s loving kindness and faithfulness toward Israel, and it ends with a promise of vengeance, redemption and atonement for God’s land and people.
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people” (Deuteronomy 32:43).
It is not only the people of Israel who will rejoice with this final redemption. The Gentiles (persons of other nations who obey) will rejoice together with God’s people as they will become part of His people. God’s salvation is for all people, of every tongue, tribe, race and ethnic background. All people, Jews and Gentiles can rejoice together in unity at the goodness of God the creator of all. A portion of this song has severe words of rebuke against Israel for infidelity and unfaithfulness to God. Not only would God “hide His face” from His people; but He would also render judgment.