Bethel UMC and Woodlawn UMC have started in person services. Masks, temperature checks. and social distancing will be observed in both churches. Please see calendar for times.
Torah Encoded Reading for June 20 - 26, 2021
Welcome to the fourth week of the Personal Witness season! Last week you heard Jesus speaking to us, saying, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses [Torah] and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled…” (Luke 24:44). Jesus, then, did something extraordinary. He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so, stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:45-49). With this in mind, let us look at this week’s Torah encoded reading, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22. In the Hebrew language (God’s sacred tongue) from which our English Bible translation was taken, this week’s Torah encoded reading is called, “Devarim” translated “words,” see Deuteronomy 1:1.
To understand this, one must, first, identify the double references in the text. On a superficial linguistic level which is intended primarily for the Jewish audience, the reading focuses on this week’s Torah code, “Devarim” (words). Moses’ farewell words that he spoke thirty-seven days before his death. Thus, in the opening part of the reading, we hear Moses delivering his farewell words to the Israelites while they are on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, on the verge of entering the land of Canaan. In the central part of the reading, Moses begins his repetition of the Torah to the assembled children of Israel. Here, Moses reviews the events that occurred and the laws that were given in the course of their forty-year journey from Egypt to Sinai to the Promised Land. He also rebukes the people for their failings and iniquities and enjoins them to keep the Torah and observe its commandments in the land that God is giving them as an eternal heritage, into which they shall cross after his death. More specifically, Moses also recalls his appointment of judges and magistrates to ease his burden of meting out justice to the people while teaching them the word of God; the journey from Sinai through the great and fearsome desert; the sending of the spies and the people’s subsequent spurning of the Promised Land, so that God decreed that the entire generation of the Exodus would die out in the desert. The reading ends with Moses’ message to his successor, Joshua, who will take the people into the Land and lead them in the battles for its conquest: “Fear them not, for the Lord your God, He shall fight for you.”
Indeed, on a profound theological level, this week’s Torah reading, “words” has an important message to us, the Church, the Body of Christ as we wrap up our six years of ministry together. And that is, our God is a great and awesome God because our God is faithful and truthful to carry out his promise made with our ancestors in the past. “Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob to give to them and their descendants after them.” What, then, do we need to do at this critically important moment in our church’s ministry? Listen, again, to God’s message for us today: “Go up and take possession [of the land] …do not fear or be dismayed,” (Deuteronomy 1:21). Why the call to have no fear in a time of increasing challenges and uncertainty? Because our God will go before us. It is no wonder why God reminds us, saying, “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God,” (Isaiah 45:5). God assured the prophet Isaiah, saying, “I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city,” Isaiah 38:6). Perhaps, it is for this reason that David urges us to shout for joy, “My lips will pour forth praise, because you teach me your statutes. My tongue will sing of your promise for all your commandments are right,” (Psalm 119:171-172). John testified, saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people” (John 1:1-4).
|Adult Sunday School||10:00 AM|
|Worhip Service||11:00 AM|
|Church Wide Bible Study||6:30 PM|
3180 Fort Campbell Blvd.
Clarksville, TN 37042