Parashat D’varim (Things/Words) Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22
Haftarah: Isaiah 1:1-27
It is my experience that believers are paying less and less attention to proper theology today. I hear those who are leaders of congregations espousing beliefs that are absolutely in conflict with the Bible and seem to be unconcerned that their teaching is not grounded in the Scripture. Unfortunately this is not new, as this week’s Torah portion reveals. Moses knows that the time is approaching for the people to finally enter the land and he reminds them how they acted faithlessly 39 years earlier at the incident with the spies. It was during this low point in Israel’s history that the people made a very shameful statement in regard to HaShem. Whereas it was with grace and love that G-d brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt, yet the Israelites asserted something quite different.
“And you spoke evil in your tents and you said, ‘In the L-rd’s hatred of us He brought us out of the land of Egypt to give us into the hand of the Amorite to destroy us.'” Deuteronomy 1:27
It is hard to image that the people who saw so many miracles and received so many blessings from the hand of G-d, could now speak so irreverently about Him. What caused them to do so? First the text makes it clear that this statement is not attributed to just a few individuals, but these sentiments were what the vast majority of Israelites felt. Why they responded in this way is not a mystery; the answer is because HaShem was not responding in the way in which the people wanted. This verse reveals a very common spiritual condition. Many individuals only want a relationship with G-d if this relationship is upon their terms. When HaShem begins to act in accordance with His holy character and His perfect will, many “so called” followers are quick to state that this is not “my G-d”. What they mean is that G-d is not behaving in accordance with their views and desires. In other words, HaShem is not acting like the god they have created with their minds.
Notice how far removed the people were from the truth, for one of the greatest acts of G-d’s faithfulness and loving kindness was being asserted by the people as motivated by hatred! One cannot be more wrong than that. It is clear that Israel’s theology was not rooted in their personal experiences with G-d nor based upon Moses’ revelation (Scripture) to them. Rather their theology was nothing more than them exercising their human intellect and placing their expectations of what they wanted G-d to do upon their mentally-created god. It is very dangerous when our minds create god, rather than each individual realizing that he is created by G-d and is in absolute need of divine revelation (Scripture) to understand, albeit in a limited manner, the Living G-d. Naturally, the greatest revelation of G-d is when He put on human flesh and visited man, performing His redemptive work in the person of Yeshua.
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