This term means then to mercy/grace I appealed.
I believe in this time we find ourselves in many people, whether they are believers or not, are appealing for mercy and grace from HaShem. It goes without saying that when we find ourselves stretched, stressed and feeling unsafe this is what our instinct is.
What mercy is Moshe speaking of here and what is Moshe's message to the Israelites?
The Israelites had at last chosen the pathways that led them to the edge of the promised land they were intended to enter 40 year prior. The last of the generation that left Egypt as adults had been laid to rest in the desert landscape and the new generation, who had hopefully learned from the lessons of their parents, were ready to cross over the Jordan, but not before Moshe gave them the sermon of a life time.
He seemed determined to remind them of the 40 year journey so that they would not fall into the same traps of unbelief and disobedience of the generation before them. As Moshe stood before the people he watched grow up in the desert, he revealed to them, with great emotion how the events of the wilderness wandering had affected him and his relationship with HaShem personally. This message is like Moshe sharing a summary of his heart.
What he wanted them to understand without question is that mysterious concept our English Bibles translate as “grace”. The Hebrew word for grace is chanan.
Most Christians and Westerners wherever they live -- mistakenly associate ‘grace’ only with the times of Yeshua. But Moshe, Avraham, Yitschak, Ya’akov, Yosef, Y’hudah, and David and many more who lived through the times of the Torah, knew better. They knew the grace of their Elohim and experienced it first-hand.
When we look at the paleo Hebrew images, the word chanan can be described as follows:
- a gateway [chet]
- for the son or heir [nun]
- to become [or come to know] the Messiah [nun sofit].
- Yochanan [John] tell us that “grace and truth came through Messiah Y’shua” [John 1:17]
- Shaul of Tarsus tells us that it is “by grace you are saved . . .” [Ephesians 2:8],
- And the writer of Hebrews tells us to “come with confidence before the throne of grace” [Hebrews 4:16]
When these men wrote the word “grace”, they did not intend for us to intellectually define it as “unmerited favour”. These Hebrew thinkers and writers were thinking of an ancient Hebraism etched deep into their beings by the Torah. To them, chanan was a covenant term, absolutely incomprehensible outside a covenant context.
There are certain words in scripture that are covenant words:
Words like hear/obey [sh’ma], and fear [yarah], and love [ahav], and kindness [chesed], and faithfulness/trustworthiness [aman], and grace/favour [chanan], all mean something unique in the covenant context.
Not just anyone could appeal to or for chanan – only a party to the covenant, seeking to fulfill the purposes of the covenant. In the context of HaShem’s covenants, chanan referred to the entirety of the way Avraham, and Yitschak, and Yisrael, and Yosef and now, Moshe.
Chanan, in context, meant the sum total of ‘special treatment’ reserved by the stronger covenant partner for the weaker covenant partner(s).
We are the weaker covenant partners as were the Israelites as they stood on the edge of their destiny. They were not entering the land because they had earned it, or because they had named it and claimed it (sound familiar?) but because of their sovereign and loving Father in Heaven, had decided it was what He had destined for them.
Moshe was telling the Israelites that through doing the will of the Father and walking in His ways, NOT OUR OWN, that we are freed from bondage to live a life called by Him. A life of freedom and purpose in Him and under the safety of His covering. Success and blessing in the Kingdom of our Father, is in doing what He has called us to do, walking in His ways rather than manipulating things to suit our flesh and personal comforts.
Yes, we are going to fail at this, we are going to fall short of His glory through our distractions, discouragement and human frailty, which is why we need HaShem’s grace.How blessed are we to walk this covenantal road with our Father?
- But what are we doing as a covenant partner to bring blessing to Him?
- Are we walking with an attitude of sh’ma?
- With a heart of humility and brokenness?
- Or are we choosing to sin with deliberation and justification of our actions and expecting the covering of grace from thousands of years ago?
We are living in times where we can no longer plead ignorance – we are walking in times now, when there is a greater need for us to walk in obedience and understanding of Father’s Covenant.
What does this mean?
It means standing with Israel: the Land, the Covenant and the People – not some of it ALL OF IT. It means walking in this fullness whether you are Jew or Gentile – born into the covenant or grafted in. It means keeping ALL of the 10 Devarim (Commandments) and not ignoring the 4th one because it doesn’t suit you, keeping HaShem’s times and seasons and the laws that apply to your life for the fullness of life!
Grace is yours – yes – but when you read Leviticus 26 you will see that this grace and this blessing is tied to your choices.
Moshe was standing in front of the Israelites reminding them of this – reminding them, that the responsibility remained theirs – to choose with wisdom and understanding – to walk in reverence of their God and to live according to his ways in order to remain in His covering.
Times are going to get more challenging for us who believe – don’t wait for later on to get to know your Abba Father and to become familiar with His times and seasons. Do it now, choose Him in fullness now so that when the time comes, your lamp will be filled and you will not be deceived. Your promise lies in His hands all you have to do is walk on His paths to receive it.
Walk with purpose and faith!