Parashat Shoftim (Judges)

D’varim (Deuteronomy) 16:18–21:9

As I was reading our Scripture portion for this week, I was amazed at how full it is with many references pointing to the Messiah such as:

You shall not sacrifice to the Lᴏʀᴅ your God an ox or a sheep which has a blemish or any defect, for that is a detestable thing to the Lᴏʀᴅ your God.
(Deuteronomy 17:1)

The Lᴏʀᴅ your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to Him.
(Deuteronomy 18:15)

These are just a couple of examples; there are many other great prophecies in Deuteronomy that point to Yeshua. He was the perfect Lamb, without blemish or defect (sin), who was given by the Father as the final sacrifice. He is the One “like [Moses]” whom God raised up amongst the people of Israel, to whom we are to listen.

There is also a clear warning in our parasha against idol worship of any kind:

If there is found in your midst, in any of your towns, which the Lᴏʀᴅ your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lᴏʀᴅ your God, by transgressing His covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded, and if it is told you and you have heard of it, then you shall inquire thoroughly. And behold, if it is true and the thing certain that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then you shall bring out that man or that woman who has done this evil deed, to your gates, that is, the man or the woman, and you shall stone them to death.
(Deuteronomy 17:2–5)

The eclipse that recently took place in the USA during this past week made me think about how easy it is worship the creation versus the Creator. I was grieved to see how many people were so awed by the creation, but failed to give the Creator any credit for His awesome and wondrous power that was displayed! Because of the incredible wonder of these natural phenomena, it is easy to fall into worshiping the creation rather than the Creator Himself. Even well meaning followers of God allowed the earthly excitement to take our eyes off the Son and instead focus on His creation. But the truth is that this was a phenomenon that points to Him alone and displays His glory:

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
(Psalm 19:1)

During the past couple of years, there has been a lot of excitement about another phenomenon in the sky – the “blood” moons. Some argue that we must pay attention to these events since they are the sign of the times, to which I would respond with a challenge, “The sign of times for what?” Again, it’s so easy for us to fall into the trap of worshiping the “sign of times” rather than understanding that all of these things are meant to point us to the Creator! If they are indeed a sign of the times, then we would do well to draw closer to God, make sure that we are clean before Him, abiding in Him, and prepare others for Him as well.

Even at the risk of coming across as unreasonable, I want to express my concern about what I see happening in the Body of Messiah. Often times our walk with the Lord is as unstable as the wind, going in whichever direction it blows. Whether it’s blood moons, eclipses, or Shmetah, we are so quick to immerse ourselves in the excitement surrounding these things, even to the point of worshiping them. We must remember that the Lord has given us all these signs as an act of mercy, and to ultimately refocus our eyes on HIM.

Please understand that my intention in writing this is to encourage each one of us to search our hearts, so that we will not become idol worshipers—literally or figuratively. As we can see from Deuteronomy 17:5, idol worship is a serious offense, punishable by death. Let us not take God’s word lightly!

Search your heart this weekend, and repent before our Creator if you have allowed the creation to take your eyes off of Him, rather than draw you closer to Him.


Shabbat shalom,


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