Parashat Ki Tavo (When You Come)
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 26:1-29:8
Haftarah: Isaiah 60:1-22
As I have written many times before, the Book of Deuteronomy is a book of reminders. I believe that God wants to remind us of that which is important to Him. As I was reading the Parashah for this week, I was once again reminded of Israel’s call:
This day the LORD your God commands you to perform these statutes and ordinances. Therefore you shall be careful to perform them with all your heart and with all your soul. Today you have declared the LORD to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. And the LORD has today declared you to be for Him a treasured, chosen, and sacred people , just as He spoke to you, and that you are to keep all His commandments; and that He will put you high above all the nations which He has made, for glory, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the LORD your God, just as He has spoken.
Israel’s call was to declare the LORD God as their God, and as a result, they would be a people set apart for Him in heart and deed. On His end, God would declare Israel to be for Him a treasured, chosen, and sacred people.
I believe that what we often miss here is the fact that the entire story is not about Israel, but rather all about God. While Israel is a key player in God’s story, it is wholly about God. Israel’s part is to love God with all our hearts and walk in accordance with His precepts. God will declare us a treasured, chosen, and sacred people. He would exalt us high above all the nations for His glory, fame, and honor.
We, the Jewish people, have missed this. Instead of putting God in the center of the story, we put ourselves as the center. We made it all about us! We thought being the chosen people meant being special on our own. Yet, the reality is that this same sentiment is alive and well in the Body of Messiah today; many followers of Messiah Yeshua – Jewish and Gentile alike – mistakenly put themselves in the center of God’s story, forgetting that it’s actually all about Him.
I am reminded of what Yeshua teaches about shining our light and who should get noticed as a result of our good works:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Our good works should bring glory to our heavenly Father, and not back to us. It is His light that we are to shine – not our own! We find something similar in the Haftarah portion:
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Raise your eyes all around and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried on the hip.
There are two ways to look at the verses above; one is to put Jerusalem in the center, meaning that Jerusalem’s light will shine, which will draw the nations to it. The other way is to put God as the center, meaning that God’s light will shine on Jerusalem, and that His glory and honor will rise upon Jerusalem. The nations will see God’s light and will gather around Him, yes in Jerusalem, but simply because God is the center.
My dear brothers and sisters, let us remember that we are living His story – not our own. Let’s keep Him at the center and bring Him glory!
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