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“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1John 1:10–2:2 NASB)
Being “Torah-observant” is not a “holier than thou” pursuit of perfection. Rather, it’s about listening to the Creator, observing where our lifestyles diverge from Heaven’s instructions and seeking return to the LORD’s ways. That restoration is possible by the perfect Atonement Offering, the Mashiakh (Christ). That’s the lesson of the Torah reading הַאֲזִינוּ Ha’azinu (“listen”) and a good preview of Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement).
Continue reading Deuteronomy 32: Song of Moses, song of the redeemed
There’s more to “you shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17) than lusting after other people’s stuff. That’s the lesson of Torah reading תבוא Ki Tavo (“when you come in,” Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8), which wraps an elaboration of the Ten Commandments that spans most of the book.
Under the hood of the instructions about the thanksgiving ceremony for first fruits of the Land’s crops and the third-year tithe is this message: We also are to be grateful for what the LORD has placed in our hands and use it to produce a “bumper crop” for the Kingdom.
Continue reading Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8: Coveting thankfulness for the LORD’s blessings
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There are shadows of the Messiah in the Torah passage שֹׁפְטִים Shoftim (“judges,” Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9), even down to the ceremony when a community is unable to bring a murderer to justice. There are levels of investigation and a careful pursuit of justice and a balance between the rights of the “avenger” and the rights of the accused.
In Shoftim, Moshe (Moses) elaborates on practical application of the Fifth and Sixth commandments. One lesson is that if you do not have respect for your parents, you lose respect for all kinds of authority, from the babysitters to teachers, employers, police officers, judges, prophets and priests. That disrespect will go all the way up the chain of authority to God Himself.
Continue reading Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9: Learn to judge life & death righteously & mercifully