Commentary on Parashat Ha’azinu (Listen)


Our weekly portion opens with the word, “הַאֲזִ֥ינוּ” “Ha’azinu” (listen or give ear to). This is a word that I believe we need to pay close attention to, since God wants to get our attention to the seriousness of His Word! The opening sentence, “Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth” (Deuteronomy 32:1), is found in other places such as Deuteronomy 4:26, Psalms 50:40, Isaiah 1:2 and Jeremiah 6:19, and speaks of impending judgment as a result of not listening to God. While some may refer to these verses as God’s judgment specifically on Israel, I believe that this specific warning found here is valid for everyone; we should all take it very seriously.

I’d encourage you to read what I wrote in last year’s blog on this parasha, Parashat Ha’azinu (Listen). In short summary, I wrote about some basic principles in our walk with God that are important for all of us to understand and apply to our lives.

God paid a very heavy price for each one of us, and does not need any favors from us!

I want to devote this blog entry to two key verses found in our weekly portion:

For I proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.”

Deuteronomy 32:3–4

As I was praying about the connection between the opening verse that speaks of God’s judgment and the two verses above, I realized that they hold the key to be able to truly walk a life in full obedience to Him. It is our personal relationship with Him, that brings us to understand the greatness of our God, and to proclaim it not just through the words of our mouth, but also through the actions of our lives (Matthew 5:16).

We can only do that if we truly understand who God is! God ought to be our rock, and the Hebrew word used here to describe “rock”, is “צוּר”(tzur) which actually means “a boulder”. It can also refer to a fortress, a place of shelter, and the base on which to build our faith. There are a few additional key words in these verses whose meanings in Hebrew I want to delve into. These will give us a new understanding and appreciation of what is written about our great and mighty God.

It says in Hebrew that the works of our rock are “תָּמִים” (tamim), which means that they are full, and complete, without any defect or blemish. “All His ways are מִשְׁפָּט(mishpat)”,which means so much more than “just”; they are according to the Law, and they are just, legal, righteous, and are our roadmap to living uprightly. “A God of אֱמוּנָה(emuna)”, a faithful God in whom you can put your whole trust and follow blindly; a loyal and trustworthy God. He is a God in which no injustice can be found; He is “צַדִּ֥יק” (tzadik), which refers to someone righteous and in whom no error is found.

In others words, we can understand Deuteronomy 32:3–4 in this way:

For I will call and declare the name of the LORD, bring greatness to His Name! The Rock, who is my fortress, the One in whom I find shelter, on whom my faith is based, is perfect, there is nothing wrong, no defect in Him. His works are legal, in accordance to the law; they are righteous and the way I should live my life. He is a God of faith, a loyal and trustworthy God, whom I can trust and follow blindly.

My dear brothers and sisters, once again we can see a perfect description of the person of Yeshua our Messiah in the Torah! He is exactly what these two verses describe!

In closing I would like to exhort you to take His words seriously, not to take His grace in vain, and live the Word every single day!

This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.