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
“Correcting” an aggressive driver on the road. “Losing it” with a screaming child in the store. We may think we’re far removed from the horror show described in this week’s Torah reading, כי תבוא Ki Tavo (“when you come in,” Deut. 26:1–29:8), but each of us encounters stress that pushes off any mask over our true characters.
Continue reading Parashat Ki Tavo (כי תבוא): Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8
Murder, adultery, theft, honesty and lust for people and stuff: The Torah passage כי תצא Ki Tetze or Ki Teitzei (“when you go forth,” Deut. 21:10-25:19) explains what’s under the hood of the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth commandments (Ex. 20:13–17).
Continue reading Parashat Ki Tetze (כי תצא): Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
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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
Shadows of the prophet status and crucifixion of the Messiah appear in the Torah passage שֹׁפְטִים Shoftim (“judges,” Deut. 16:18–21:9). In a section of the Bible focused on codes of justice still used in modern society, there also is hope for the greatest mercy the world has ever seen, in Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ).
Continue reading Parashat Shoftim (שפטים): Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
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Blessing and cursing are very important Biblical principles. There are two ways of life, either under God’s blessing or under His curse. Emphasized in the Torah reading כי רְאֵה Re’eh (“see,” Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17) is we want to live under His blessing.
We live under God’s blessing when we read and apply Torah. When we screw up, we still apply Torah to deal with our screwups. We are under God’s curse when we refuse to follow Torah. We all have experienced how bad life is when we refuse to obey God and walk in Torah. God can’t bless us when we are walking in sin. He can only bless obedience. He teaches us like we teach our own children.
Continue reading Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17: Learning to live a blessed life
Common advice in this world is, “Follow your heart.” But in the Torah reading רְאֵה Re’eh (“see,” Deut. 11:26-16:17), we learn that God wants to transform our way of thinking, so our desires will take us in a wiser direction. This section explains the reborn heart approach to the Second, Third and Fourth commandments on blasphemy, idolatry and stopping what we’re doing to remember the rest God gives us.
Continue reading Parashat Re’eh (ראה): Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17