Parashat Va’etchanan (To Implore or Beg…)
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 3:23–7:11
This week we read …
And now, O Israel, hear the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to do, in order that you may live and go in and take possession (Inheritance) of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Your eyes have seen what the LORD has done in the case of Baal-peor, for all the men who followed Baal-peor, the LORD your God has destroyed them from among you. But you who stick (literally, attach to or glued to) to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you.
Deuteronomy 4:1–4 (emphasis mine)
There is a very clear warning in these verses to not take God’s grace in vain. While the Lord’s grace does not depend on our actions, we should take care to examine our walk with Him and see if how we live reflects His grace. We do what we do not in order to receive His grace; we do what we do because we have received His grace! We do what we do because of receiving His amazing love for us.
God tells Israel to hear and obey his teachings as a condition for them to inherit the land. God tells us, His followers, to hear and obey his teaching (Matt 28:20) not as a condition to inherit the land, but rather because of the fact that we understand the price He paid to redeem us from our sin. He gave us an amazing inheritance in Him, as well as the freedom to walk in it!
He then said to them, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” I believe that this is an area that the children of Israel fell into (and still fall into) which is the added yoke of religion. Religion is a way for us to try to reach God through our own understanding and good deeds. Religion takes away the simplicity and beauty of His Word. However, I can see the same exact symptom today amongst many believers who add a religious yoke to their faith and in it ignore our Messiah’s words:
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
I love what verse 4 says which I believe is a great encouragement for us: But you who stick to the LORD your God are alive today, every one of you. I translated the word “stick” here as glued since in the Hebrew, that is actually the word which is used here. I love that image of us being “glued” to the Lord! If we are glued to Him, we can keep our eyes gazed upon Him and Him alone, which will bring us life:
But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.
In closing my dear brothers and sisters of the faith, remember that the byproduct of our salvation ought to be obedience to the Lord, not because of what we will receive, but rather because of what we already received. Don’t take is grace for granted; stick to Him as through you were glued to Him!