Monday, October 13, 2014

God Has a Plan

Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.” — Deuteronomy 34:4

The Torah portion for this week is V’Zot HaBerachah, which means “this is the blessing,” from Deuteronomy 33:1–34:12, and the Haftorah is from Joshua 1:1–18.

We all have dreams and aspirations. But as most of us discover, life doesn’t always go according to our plans. Finding that out can be one of the most difficult moments of our lives. Yet, it can also be one of the most fortifying moments as we learn to trust God and walk in confidence.

Recently, New York Giants running back David Wilson was given the life-altering news that he would never play football again. The athlete suffers from an acute back problem and was advised by the team’s doctors to leave his career in professional football. While the end of Wilson’s short career made headlines, it’s the way he reacted to the tragic news that really attracted people’s attention.

Wilson explained that he had prayed before he met with the doctors and asked God to put His answer in the mouths of the doctors. Wilson was sure that the doctors’ advice was really God steering his path. This allowed Wilson to experience the shattering of his dreams with faith and grace. In response to the news, he said, “Now I have a chance to dream another dream” and “God has a plan.”

In this week’s Torah portion we read about the shattering of another dream — Moses’ dream. As the leader of Israel, Moses wanted nothing more than to complete the mission that he began when he led the people out of Egypt. His ultimate goal was always to lead them into the Promised Land. However, as a result of Moses disobeying God’s instructions to procure water from a rock while in the desert, God decreed that Moses would not enter the land.

Until his dying day, Moses had hoped that God’s decree would be reversed. Yet, as we read in this week’s portion, Moses’ dream would not come to pass. God led Moses up to Mount Nebo where he could see Israel. There God said to him: “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob . . . I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

According to Jewish tradition, Moses recorded these final verses of the Bible with tears in his eyes. However, we read in the next verse that “Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said.” Moses, ever the servant of God, accepted God’s plan.

We read in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Let’s remember that when our plans don’t succeed, God has a plan for us that is just, right, and good.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President

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