Devarim (Deuteronomy) 7:12–11:25
God’s Word is consistent! As I was reflecting on this week’s reading, I was amazed once again by this, and also by the fact that Yeshua our Messiah’s teachings always consistently echoed the Hebrew Scriptures. Let’s take a look at a few key verses from this week’s parasha:
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen your neck no more. For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.
As I mentioned, I love the consistency of God’s Word, and I would like to highlight a few key points from the verses above:
- Love God through obedience to His commands. I focused last year’s blog on the issue of love (Parashat Ekev (Because of )). Again, I want to stress the importance of obedience as evidence of our love for the Lord. Basically, the byproduct of our love is obedience, which comes from a soft heart toward Him (not legalism):
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15)
That word “if” is such an important word that we find throughout Scripture. Our love of God ought to be reflected through the way we apply His Will to our lives.
- The entire heaven and earth are His. Before entrusting us with the greatest call on earth (i.e. to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to obey His commands), Yeshua reminded us of the fact that He is the one who has all authority in Heaven and on Earth:
And Yeshua came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)
- God’s amazing love and faithfulness. The fact that Israel is God’s elect is repeated for a very specific reason in the New Covenant: God is faithful to keep His promises. The fact is that He is not finished with Israel, His chosen people. To claim that He has rejected Israel would be calling God a liar, and accusing Him of being unfaithful. Paul wrote about this very clearly in the book of Romans:
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. (Romans 11:28–32)
- The Circumcision of the Heart. Circumcision of the foreskin is a key part of the covenant between Abraham and God, so we can understand that circumcision of the heart is also a key part of the covenant. God desires us to have a “heart of flesh” rather than a “heart of stone”, so that our hearts would be soft to His instruction. In Messiah Yeshua, everyone receives a heart of flesh (not of stone), which is circumcised as a sign of our belonging to Him (2 Corinthians 3:3). A circumcised heart is a sign of love for the Lord, and so we obey Him because we love Him (John 14:15).
- The Superiority of God. He is God Almighty. In the Book of Revelation, we are reminded of the fact that Yeshua is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, just like it says in verse 17 of our Scripture portion:
And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:16)
- God does not show partiality. In many places throughout the New Covenant (Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:16 and Ephesians 6:9), we find references to the fact that God does not show partiality. Our God is a just God that cared in the past – and still cares today – for the orphans, the widows, and even the aliens in the Land, and He has called us to do the same.
In closing, I would like to highlight and summarize verses 20–22: Love the LORD, serve the LORD, cling to Him for He is your praise, and He has done, is doing, and will always do so many great things for you! He is the One who redeemed you and opened your eyes to the truth; He is the same God from yesterday in whom you can take great comfort, hope, and assurance for the future!
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