Jerusalem: Aligning Our Hearts with God’s

Parashat Re’eh (See or Look)
D’varim (Deuteronomy) 11:26-16:19
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5

Recently, I had the privilege to share a message at one of our partner congregations in the United States. The message that I prepared was titled “Kingdom Now” where I addressed the issue of whether these words are a request, a statement, an aspiration, or a declaration. Before my message, one of the congregational elders spoke about the importance of trusting God, referring to Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

The leader of the congregation then briefly spoke about the importance of loving God and loving others; the key to this is canceling self. In other words, loving God and others often requires putting the “self” aside. This does not mean you neglect yourself; it means that when our flesh prefers something that directly contradicts God’s principles, we would be wise to choose God over our fleshly desires.

I am writing this as the introduction to this commentary because I believe that to truly set our hearts on the things of God, His Kingdom, and His purpose, we must prefer Him over ourselves. The same principle applies to Scripture. God’s Word is clear, and while there may be things that are hard for us to understand or to accept, His way comes before our human desires or preferences.

In this week’s Parashah we read a repeated phrase “...that the Lord your God will choose”. The same phrase, or a variation of it, appears in Deuteronomy 12:5; 11, 13-14, 21, 26-27, 14:23-24, 16:2, 6 and 11. I believe this phrase holds an important principle for us to remember. The fact that it repeats again and again shows us that God wants us to pay close attention. The truth is that God is the one who chooses how, where, and when He desires things to happen; we have the freedom to accept this fact or deny it.

This truth is very important when we process all that is happening in the world right now. The topic of Israel and Jerusalem can cause a lot of friction among people, believers and non-believers alike. The fact is God chose Jerusalem to be the city on which He has put his name:

"...but I have chosen Jerusalem so that My name might be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.”
2 Chronicles 6:6

Sadly, many of those who claim to be God’s followers ignore the importance of Jerusalem in God’s plan. God chose and predestined Jerusalem for a very specific purpose:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.' And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And He said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true.'”
John’s Vision (Revelation) 21:1-5

The ultimate destiny of the city is to be God’s dwelling place. It will be the place where we His followers come to worship Him as a unified people. However, the reality is that when one looks at the chaos enveloping Jerusalem today as well as the idol worship, corruption, division, and conflict, it is easy to wonder if this is indeed the city that God chose to be His. We can have hope that the day is coming when Jerusalem will fulfill its destiny and you and I, my dear brothers and sisters, have a very important role in its preparation.

In our Haftarah reading from Isaiah 54:11-17, we read of a restored Jerusalem:

“Afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and I will lay your foundations with sapphires. Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies, and your gates of crystal, and your entire wall of precious stones. All your sons will be taught by the LORD; and the well-being of your sons will be great. In righteousness you will be established; you will be far from oppression, for you will not fear; and from terror, for it will not come near you. If anyone fiercely attacks you, it will not be from Me. Whoever attacks you will fall because of you. Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows on the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its work; and I have created the destroyer to inflict ruin. No weapon that is formed against you will succeed; and you will condemn every tongue that accuses you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD.

We His followers are called and entrusted by God to prepare Jerusalem for its ultimate restoration, which will happen when our Messiah returns.

My dear brothers and sisters, how can we say that we are all about the King and the Kingdom and neglect to see the importance of Jerusalem? How can we say that we are all about the King and the Kingdom and fail to do anything regarding Jerusalem’s restoration?

“If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth. If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.”
Psalm 137:5-6

Shabbat Shalom,

Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

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One Comment on “Jerusalem: Aligning Our Hearts with God’s”

  1. Moran,
    Praying for the PEACE of Jerusalem..and for the servants of God (you and your family) that He has assigned in the land.

    Shabbat Shalom,
    Diana Banks
    (“The sisters” from Houston)

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