Parashiot Mattot (Tribes) Numbers 30:2-32-42 and Masei (Journeys) Numbers 33:1-36:13 ; Shabbat Chazach ; Haftarah: Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1-2

Parashiot Mattot (Tribes) Numbers 30:2-32-42 and Masei (Journeys) Numbers 33:1-36:13

Shabbat Chazach

Haftarah:  Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1-2

Most of the time when someone speaks about the Biblical commandments the idea is the 613 commandments found in the Torah.  However, one must remember there are many additional commandments found in the remaining books of the Bible.  For example, in the book of Psalms one reads, “Taste and see that the L-rd is good,…” Psalm 34:9 (verse 8 in English).  This commandment is just as binding upon an individual as any commandment from the Torah.  Failure to obey this commandment has disastrous consequences.  In this week’s reading from the prophet Jeremiah, one reads that HaShem is questioning Israel about her lack of commitment to Him.

In Jeremiah 2:5, the prophet, speaking for HaShem, asks the question, “What did your fathers find fault in Me, that they distanced themselves from Me and went after emptiness and they became empty.”  Notice that it was not HaShem Who moved away from the people, but the people distanced themselves from the Living G-d Who desires to bless the people.  The sad thing is that when one turns away from G-d, he receives nothing that satisfies his soul, but the end result will be that one will feel empty on the inside.  Why is it that man is so willing to turn away from the Living G-d and accept the counterfeit “blessings” of the enemy?  The answer is found in verse 8, “The priests did not say ‘Where is HaShem?’ even the ones who hold the Torah (the priests) did not know Me.”  This verse reveals a very important truth.

People who walk away from HaShem never really knew the L-rd in a personal relationship.  This is not to say that someone who believes never sins or disobeys the L-rd.  But, such behaviors are the exceptions and not the norm.  As long as one is in the natural body he will struggle with temptation and at times fail to serve G-d in a proper manner.  This is not what this verse is referring to.  Rather, this verse is speaking about those who may have known that G-d exists, but never truly had a covenant relationship with HaShem.  A common mistake that individuals often make is to use verses from the T’nach to make doctrine concerning a New Covenant truth.  Here is an example of what I am speaking about.  I have heard many people, while speaking about the Holy Spirit, use scripture from the T’nach to prove that the Holy Spirit can depart from an individual.  The problem with such a view is a failure to make a distinction between the parameters that HaShem set for the Holy Spirit in the T’nach and what is revealed about the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant.   In the T’nach the Holy Spirit came upon and individual to anoint a person for tasks.  However, in the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit does not just anoint a believer, but indwells him or her.  Whereas the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the T’nach demonstrated a call, in the New Covenant the indwelling Holy Spirit is evidence of an eternal covenant that the believer has with HaShem by means of the all sufficient redemptive work of Messiah Yeshua.  It is important to remember that the believer does not save himself, but accepts the salvation that Yeshua achieves on behalf of the individual believer.  Since a true salvation experience is not dependent upon man, but upon G-d, the believer may grieve, hinder, and quench the work of the Holy Spirit in his life, but as Yeshua said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  Some have said it is not a matter of Yeshua leaving an individual, but the individual leaving Yeshua.  However such a statement fails to acknowledge that the results are the same and the eternal life that Yeshua promised ended up not being eternal life at all.

Personally I take great comfort knowing that my salvation is not dependent upon me at all, but dependent upon the G-d Who promised me eternal life and Who cannot lie.

Shabbat Shalom

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