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.
“And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9 ESV)
Some have disregarded Israel — during the earthly ministry of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) and in modern times — as having anything to do with Bible prophecy, because of perceived failings of the people in trusting God.
But as we see in this week’s Torah reading — עקב Ekev or Eikev (“consequence”), Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 — God is faithful to His promises. We should be grateful for God’s mercy and bigger plans for our lives.
The roller-coaster ride of ancient Israel through trust in the LORD, apathy and rebellion mirrors the turmoil that swirls around our daily lives.
This week’s Torah reading, דברים Devarim (“words,” Deut. 1:1–3:22), starts a “second telling” — deuteronomy in Greek — to the post-Exodus generation of why Israel exists and what its mission is. The parallel reading in Isaiah 1:1-27 and the Sermon on the Mount teach us how our interpretation of and living out the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Torah can go terribly wrong if we don’t learn the why behind the what of God’s instructions.
The roller-coaster ride of ancient Israel through trust in the LORD, apathy and rebellion mirrors our the turmoil that swirls around our daily lives. This week’s Torah reading, דברים Devarim (“words,” Deut. 1:1-3:22), starts a “second telling,” or deuteronomy, to the post-Exodus generation of why Israel exists and what its mission is.
“Be strong and courageous.” Imagine getting that advice as you’re being sent out to accomplish something you feel totally unprepared for. Those were some of the last words Moshe (Moses) left as Israel was about to enter the Promised Land. What counts is how much trust you have in the one in charge. That baton was passing, but the people had to remember the One ultimately leading and fighting for them.
In the previous Torah section, כי תבוא Ki Tavo, we learned the importance of having character that survives stressors big and small. This week’s portion, נִצָּבִים Nitzavim (“standing,” Deut. 29:9–30:20), underscores the building blocks of that character, loving the LORD with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. We learn that the “New Covenant,” or “New Testament” really isn’t so new, but choosing a lifestyle that leads to life and not death does require us to leave our old “dead works” behind.
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).