The weekly Torah portion (Hebrew: פָּרָשַׁת הַשָּׁבוּעַ Parashat ha-Shavua, popularly just parasha) is a section of the Torah read publicly and aloud in weekly Jewish prayer services, usually in full during the Shabbat (Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath). Each week, the ECI Young Adults are providing us with a commentary on the week’s parasha.
The song of Moses: “write down the words of this song, teach it to the people of Israel…help them learn it, so it may serve as a witness for me against them…when great disasters come… this song will stand as evidence against them, for it will never be forgotten…” Deut. 31:19, 21
This is the context for the Song of Moses, which is 43 verses of Deuteronomy 32 – not a short song by any means! One can’t help but think how creative Moses had to be, to get Israel to learn it ALL by heart!
Song and music are a part of us from before we are born – John the Baptist jumped in Elizabeth’s womb when he heard the sound of Mary’s voice, and Elizabeth was then filled with the Holy Spirit. Music helps us connect with the spiritual dimension: David’s harp-playing sent Saul’s demons fleeing, Paul and Silas were singing in prison before it was shaken to its foundations and their chains fell off!
God created music and God also sings! Zephaniah 3:17 says the Lord rejoices over us with singing! A melody and lyrics capture a moment in time so that each time we sing that song we evoke memories, thoughts, feelings that even speak into our soul. That is the power of singing worship songs as we go about our daily lives; we build a tabernacle of worship wherever we are that refreshes and speaks into our soul. That is what God wanted to give Israel when he gave them the song of Moses – a way to connect back to God’s purposes for them.
Israel’s entire journey is recounted. As we read it, it reflects the same journey we are on: a journey of redemption, of turning away from our own ways, from what we think is best. God reminds us it was His love, as our Father, which birthed us into being (v.18), He provided for us (v.13-14) and as a true Father He will let us go astray to worship our own idols if we choose to, until we have no one to turn to but Him (v.39). The song carries a warning that our Father will use suffering, wars and famine (v.23-27) as judgment for our sin, then have compassion on us (v.36).
Today too, Israel has seen much bloodshed in the land and taunts from its enemies, this song still stands true: it is time to return to God and remember the Father who birthed you!
Like a message in a bottle – no matter what storms come, the message will be intact. A message that God is true, He never changes and it is only by His mercy and grace that we are saved. Let this song and all other worship songs you know be like your bottle, as you sing them, the message stays true and refreshes your soul.
The European Coalition for Israel is a unique grassroots movement, which is seeking to promote better relations between Europe and Israel through advocacy and education. More information: www.ec4i.org