Parashat Ekev (Because of )
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 7:12-11:25
Haftarah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Many years ago, as a young man who just enlisted in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force), I received a small pocketbook of Psalms. Back then, I was a secular man who did not believe in God nor cared about Him. However, the reality was, that whenever I found myself in a dire situation in the army, I always found myself praying or talking to that God that I did not believe existed. The reality is that, in times of trouble, even those who claim that there is no God call upon Him or would like someone to pray for them during that time.
However, the sad reality is that when God answers that prayer, we are quick to forget Him and that which He did for us. In the Parashah of this week, we read a very important warning for us His followers:
Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God by failing to keep His commandments, His ordinances, and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, and you build good houses and live in them, and when your herds and your flocks increase, and your silver and gold increase, and everything that you have increases, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; He who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions, and its thirsty ground where there was no water; He who brought water for you out of the rock of flint. In the wilderness it was He who fed you manna which your fathers did not know, in order to humble you and in order to put you to the test, to do good for you in the end. Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you are to remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, in order to confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And it shall come about, if you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and serve and worship them, I testify against you today that you will certainly perish. Like the nations that the LORD eliminates from you, so you shall perish, because you would not listen to the voice of the LORD your God.
When God saves us, when He brings us to His light, gives us an understanding of His Word and blesses us, both from a spiritual and physical perspective, there is a great danger that we will forget that He is the source. Our tendency is to take ownership over that which God entrusted to us, we forget that it is from God and for God, and we run the risk of becoming arrogant, claiming that it is of our own doing.
Our human tendency is to forget; this is why God reminds us over and over again in Scripture! He reminds us where we came from, to guard our hearts, and to stay within the framework that He gave us in His Word.
I entitled this commentary, “The Difference Between God and Men” because while we may forget God and be unfaithful, one of the most amazing attributes about our God is that He is always faithful; He never forgets and His grace endures forever.
We read some of the most beautiful words that describe God’s faithfulness and endless grace toward His people Israel in the Haftarah portion from Isaiah:
But Zion said, “The LORD has abandoned me, and the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.”
God is faithful. He does not forget. His love endures forever. I believe that this truth ought to encourage us to walk with the Lord even more closely. The true understanding that He is faithful and that His grace endures forever ought to give us a greater desire to walk in His ways, not because we have to, but rather because we get to. It’s a great gift that we have been given!
Let’s take the time to remember, return, and walk in His ways.
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