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PARASHAT VA’ETCHANAN (וָאֶתְחַנַּן | I pleaded)

Saturday 29th July 2023 11th Av 5783

PARASHAT VA’ETCHANAN (וָאֶתְחַנַּן | I pleaded)

Torah: Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11; Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26; Gospel: Luke 3:2-15

Shabbat Nachamu (שַׁבָּת נַחֲמוּ | Sabbath of comforting)

Haftarah: Isaiah 40:1-26

We don't always get what we ask for. Moses wanted to enter the promised land. More than anything, he wanted to finish the journey, cross the Jordan and stand on the soil of the holy land. God said, "No." Moses pleaded with the LORD, "Let me, I pray, cross over and see the fair land that is beyond the Jordan" (Deuteronomy 3:25). Ordinarily Moses got what he asked for. Whether he asked for miraculous provision, amazing signs and wonders, direct answers from heaven, or divine assistance and rescue, God heard the prayers of Moses and answered them immediately. But not even Moses got everything he wanted. Despite his earnest entreaties, God refused to allow Moses to enter Canaan. The LORD replied to his prayers, saying, "Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter" (Deuteronomy 3:26). The LORD is gracious and compassionate. He delights to answer the prayers of His children. He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. If an earthly father gives good gifts to his children when they ask him, how much more so does our heavenly Father delight to answer our prayers? Yeshua teaches us, "Whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you" (John 15:16). Nevertheless, the answer to prayer is sometimes "No." If God gave me everything I asked for in prayer, it would be the same as giving me the power of being God. I might arbitrarily change the colour of the sky, reorganize the chemical composition of water, turn time backward or wish the universe out of existence. Obviously God has to reserve the right to say no to our prayers. James the brother of the Master says, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3). Even when we ask with the right motives, God still might have to say no. When we pray, we need to trust in God's wisdom and kindness, knowing that He has our best interests in mind. Though we don't always get an affirmative answer, we can be confident that our prayers are heard. Just as Moses longed to enter the land, so too Yeshua awaits His return to Israel. He awaits the day of redemption when He can return at last to His land, His people and His disciples and thereby bring His great redemptive work to its conclusion.


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