Redemption Through Judgment

Image
Parashat Acharei Mot (After the death)
VAYIKRA (LEVITICUS) 16:1-18:40
HAFTARAH: EZEKIEL 22:1–16

God’s ways are mysterious. There are many things in Scripture that can be difficult to understand or seem to go against our human inclination. We must remember that His ways are not our ways, and that God does not think like we do (Isaiah 55:8-9). Taking God at His word requires a certain humility to trust that His ways truly are better than ours.

In Leviticus 16:1-3 we read:

Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the LORD and died. The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the atoning cover which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the atoning cover. Aaron shall enter the Holy Place with this: with a bull as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering. 

The above verses made me think of the consequence that befell Aaron’s sons for going against God’s instructions. Was it pride and arrogance that led them to do things in a way that contradicted the Lord? Or did they just not take God seriously? Whatever the reason, the fact that they died shows that God will not be mocked, and that He should be taken seriously!

God’s specifc instrutions to Aaron were not to enter the Holy Place at just any time, but rather during a very specific time that God set, or else Aaron would die.  If this sounds “harsh” to us, then it’s more of a referendum on us than on God. It shows that we have lost our reverence for Him and take Him casually. When we prefer our own comfort over accepting God’s ways, then the problem lies with us, not Him.

An importnat question for each of us to ask ourselves is, “Am I doing things the way God asks or requires?” and before you are quick to answer “Yes”, I would exhort you to search your heart and see if you are truly doing so…

As I was reading the Haftarah portion from Ezekiel 22:1–16, and the judgment that will come (or in some ways, has already come) on Jerusalem for defiling the name of the LORD for making it a bloody city, for shedding innocent blood for idols in its midst, for taking the lives of others, as well as uncovering the nakedness of the fathers, I could see the consequences for not following His instructions:

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city? Then inform her of all her abominations. And you shall say, ‘This is what the LORD God says: “A city shedding blood in her midst, so that her time is coming; and a city that makes idols, contrary to her own good, for defilement! You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and you have become defiled by your idols which you have made. So you have brought your days closer and have come to your years; therefore I have made you a disgrace to the nations, and an object of mocking to all the lands. Those who are near and those who are far from you will make fun of you, you of ill repute, full of turmoil. “Behold, the rulers of Israel, each according to his power, have been among you for the purpose of shedding blood. They have treated father and mother with contempt among you. They have oppressed the stranger in your midst; they have oppressed the orphan and the widow among you. You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths. Slanderous men have been among you for the purpose of shedding blood, and among you they have eaten at the mountain shrines. In your midst they have committed outrageous sin. Among you they have uncovered their fathers’ nakedness; among you they have abused her who was unclean in her menstruation. And one has committed abomination with his neighbor’s wife, another has outrageously defiled his daughter-in-law, and another among you has sexually abused his sister, his father’s daughter. Among you they have taken bribes to shed blood; you have taken interest, you have injured your neighbors by oppression, and you have forgotten Me,” declares the LORD God. “Behold, then, I strike with My hand your profit which you have made and the bloodshed which is among you. Can your heart endure, or can your hands be strong for the days that I will deal with you? I, the LORD have spoken and will act. And I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you among the lands, and I will eliminate your uncleanness from you. Then you will defile yourself in the sight of the nations, and you will know that I am the LORD.”
Ezekiel 22:1–16

The above verses are hopeless if one looks at them from a human perspective. However, it will be through God’s judgement over His beloved city and people that He will bring redemption to it:

Zion in judgment will be redeemed, and her repentant ones with righteousness.
Isaiah 1:27

God’s ways are not our ways, and my hope is that in the midst of the hardship of His judgment, He will redeem His city and its people.

Shabbat Shalom,
Moran


Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

Share this Post

One Comment on “Redemption Through Judgment”

  1. Those are the powerful words of the living God, Yahweh.
    Moran, you have truly spoken Gods word, to be applied not only to Israel but to anyone who will humble themselves under the mighty hand of God.
    . If it were not for his love , all of mankind would perish.
    By His mercy and truth iniquity is purged.
    Let us humble ourselves under his mighty hand, and call upon his name, let us seek him with our whole heart and soul. that we might be spared from the horrific judgments that will soon come over the entire planet like a flood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *