His Power Perfected in Our Weakness

Parashat Bechukotai (In My Decrees)
Vayikra (Leviticus) 26:3-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14

I often ask myself, “Why do I do what I do?” It’s important for us to examine what motivates us. Do we do things because of what we will get in return? Or is it to be acknowledged? What is the purpose in doing that thing? While we may want to answer “I do what I do in order to honor God”, can we be really honest and admit that isn’t always true?

The children of Israel were presented with two options – obey God or disobey God (or life & death). In this week’s Parashah, we read what would happen if they obeyed God and what would happen if they did not:

If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.Indeed, your threshing season will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. So you will eat your food to the full and live securely in your land. I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down, with no one to make you afraid. I shall also eliminate harmful animals from the land, and no sword will pass through your land. Instead, you will chase your enemies, and they will fall before you by the sword; five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand; and your enemies will fall before you by the sword. So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you. And you will eat the old supply, and clear out the old because of the new. Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke your yoke and made you walk erect.
Leviticus 26:3-13

What amazing blessing God promised to Israel! It’s important to understand that these blessings are promisedif they (Israel as a nation) would walk in God’s ways. Please note that regarding the land, the promise in these verses has nothing to do with inhabiting the land, but rather inhabiting the land in peace and security. The land is an unconditional part of the inheritance; dwelling in the land securely is not.

So, what happenes when one aims to do their very best in walking with the Lord and things here on earth do not happen the way they’re “supposed” to. Does that make these promises that were promised to Israel as a nation false promises? Does that makes God a false god? Heaven forbid!

At times when we face difficulties or tough circumstances, there might be those who will say that it’s because we have sinned or done something wrong. Or that we are not listening to God enough and are being punished by Him. Afterall, Leviticus 26:3-13 says that if we obey God, all these amazing blessings will come to us.Conversely, Leviticus 26:14-33 says all the bad things that will happen if we disobey God.

We simply need to take the “I” out of the picture. The above promises are promised to Israel as a nation. The blessings and the hardhips that we may face in our day-to- day life may or may not have to do with our obedience to God. Sometimes, bad things happen in life. Why? First of all, God is not a supernatural “genie” that grants wishes, nor can He be reduced to a simple formula. Secondly, God, in His perfect sovereignty, allows us to go through difficult things as an opportunity for Him to reveal Himself, His faithfulness and power to us and through us. Rav Shaul (the Apostle Paul) understood this well. He welcomed hardship because he understood that they were opportunities for God’s power to be perfected in his weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-11).

And then there is the most powerful motivator of all – love. The reason for us to choose obedience to God ought not to be because of what we receive as a result, but simply because we love Him. As Yeshua said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments”
John 14:15

In closing, I want to encourage each and every one of you who is going through hardship or a challenging time. Choosing to trust God is never easy, but I can promise you that it is always worth it. You cannot put your hope in any human, but only in God. Let’s be encouraged by Jeremiah’s word of exhortation:

Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert, and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt that is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose trust is the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:5-7

Shabbat Shalom,

Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

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2 Comments on “His Power Perfected in Our Weakness”

  1. Shabbat shalom, Moran and friends at Hope for Israel. Thank you, again.

    I read these articles soberly, thinking about the pressure you are living under every hour of every day with personal losses and friends’ and families’ lives at risk continually. I am thankful for the strength and sanity you are able to find to still read, meditate on, and write about the Torah portions.

    Another reason to obey God is because we believe Him – that what He says is good and right, even when we don’t understand or when we think we would prefer something different.

    I pray God will touch the hearts of many people, Jews and Gentiles, to help them see God’s desire and plan for the land and people of Israel, and that they will believe in Yeshua haMoshiach.

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