Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #46:’Ekev (Because) D’varim (Deuteronomy) 7:12-11:25
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 49;14-51;3
B’rit Chadashah: Ya’akov ( James) 5:7-11
The focus on this parashah is the covenantal relationship Israel (all true believers) have with G-d, the importance of resisting feelings of self-accomplishment, and having trust rather than fear when we are confronted by the Adversary through diverse situations.
The parashah begins with the word “because” indicating it is a continuation of the last paragraph of the last parashah in which Adonai admonishes His people, that is anyone who chooses to follow His Torah/instructions, not to intermarry with peoples who follow other gods, not to fear them, and to remember that they were and we are chosen not because of our numbers or righteousness, but because He loves us and will keep the oath He made with our ancestors in addition to reminding them that He delivered them out of Egypt. Deliverance from Egypt encompasses more than the miraculous physical deliverance from a foreign land. This act of a loving G-d symbolized the deliverance from the secular world in which we live and our past sins (Rom. 3:25; 2 Pet. 1:9). Just as the Israelites crossed the Sea of Reeds (the Red Sea) and started their new way of life with G-d as their guide, those who become reconciled to G-d through Yahshua’s sacrifice must also embark on a life changing journey of praying, studying, internalizing, and living G-d’s Torah/instructions that His Name may be made known throughout the nations and He is glorified.
Chapter 8:10 gives us the source of saying a blessing after meals and not before:
“ So you will eat and be satisfied, and you will bless Adonai your G-d for the good land He has given you.” In verses 11-20 we are admonished against self-righteousness with detailed reminders of the blessings Adonai provided the people as they crossed the desert. They never succumbed to snakebites, scorpion stings , starvation, or thirst. He fed them with manna and provided water from a flint rock. He reminds the people that He was and is keeping the covenant made with our ancestors “as He is today” (8:18). They and we are warned more than once that if we forget Adonai our G-d, follow other gods, and worship them that they would, and we will perish. This warning is given in no uncertain terms more than once. We will go into more detail on blessings for those who love and follow G-d and those who rebel against Him in Deuteronomy chapter 28.
Discipline is a crucial factor in the life of a true believer (Israelite). We must remember Who is responsible for all of our successes and blessings. When we are thirsty, hungry, in need of anything, G-d provides. The humbling experiences and testings are necessary for our spiritual growth although sometimes we have a difficult time holding to that truth in the middle of our “storms.” We owe our very existence to G-d, and we should thank Him for each and every day we are given to shine our light before men(Matt. 5:16). Forgetting G-d when things are going well for us will precipitate judgement and destruction for the individual and whoever else may be guilty. This is just one reason of many why we should thank G-d every day for all He provides, even our testings.
In Chapter 10 Moshe appeals to the people for a heartfelt commitment to G-d, reiterating what is essential to a blessed relationship with G-d. Reverence, love and wholehearted obedience, all of which are repeated for emphasis (cf.6:5,13,24). As they are about to enter Canaan, Moshe gives two explicit instructions; 1) “Circumcise the foreskin of your heart; and don’t be stiffnecked any longer! For Adonai your G-d is G-d of gods and L-rd of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome G-d, who has no favorites and accepts no bribes. He secures justice for the orphan and the widow; he loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. Therefore 2) You are to love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. You are to fear Adonai your G-d, serve him, cling to him, and swear by his name.”
Keep in mind that physical circumcision is not mentioned here because those who were in Egypt were already circumcised, but this was not reinstituted once the Israelites entered the desert until they reached the land. I refer the reader to Romans chapter 2 for a reiteration on the concept of physical circumcision that remains a requirement for biological Jewish males, but the subsequent necessity for spiritual circumcision of the heart for Jew and Gentile believers (cf. Lev. 26:40-41; Jer. 4;4; 9:25). We are to love G-d with all our heart, circumcising away anything and everything that might interfere with this vertical relationship with G-d.
The horizontal responsibility is equally important, the adherence of which reflects our level of love for and devotion to G-d. Human concern for strangers, widows, orphans, and the social issues that may affect them becomes an integral part of the believer’s behavior and desire to alleviate human suffering no matter how incidental the situation may seem. We are to love others because G-d loved us first. The Israelites capacity and ours is dependent on realizing how G-d loved us so much that he first delivered the Israelites (and us) from Egypt [physical and spiritual]. The vertical love relationship with G-d is necessary for us to embody and develop concern for our fellow man on the horizontal plane. As G-d is concerned with justice and righteousness for all man, as true believers growing in our vertical relationship with G-d, we must be concerned about the just treatment of our fellow man, particularly for those people whose economic or social circumstances expose them to exploitation, oppression, or neglect. The Mosaic law is infused with a profound spirit of humanity and is in direct contrast to the Babylonian code of Hammurabi and the Assyrian and Hittite codes of law that existed at the time in which this parashah addressed.
Moshe emphasized the aforementioned responsibilities as the essence of what G-d required of man. Loving G-d with all our heart and loving our neighbor as ourselves which is restated in Matthew 22:36. As Moshe delineated their responsibility of heartfelt love for G-d, he made sure they knew about G-d’s chastisement and discipline (11:2), the miraculous acts in their deliverance ( 11:2-4),G-d’s sustaining power 911:5), and His judgment (11:6).
Unfortunately, Christian clergy seldom if ever teach their congregations about the truth of G-d’s discipline and judgement. If we want to know what our G-d requires of those who want to be counted as G-d’s children; G-d’s people, we must go to the source and start reading and studying from the beginning of The Book and follow it to the last page. We must continually ask, seek, and knock, and the door will be opened. But we must walk through it and not wait for curbside service!
The promise for the future of the Israelites is clearly stated in our parashah with the condition that they listen carefully to my mitzvot which I am giving you today, to love Adonai your G-d and serve Him with all your heart and all your being… (11:13):
1. They will possess the land (11:8). This has not been occupied in full to date but will occur when Yahshua returns.
2. They will live long in Canaan (11:9, 18-21)
3. G-d will provide rain and care for the land (11:10-17). See
4. G-d will expel the Canaanites ahead of the Israelites and nations that are stronger and bigger (11:22-25)
This “if-then” condition exists today just as it did over 2,000 years ago. Salvation is not free; all of our sins are not erased after we come to a saving knowledge of Yahshua’s sacrifice. Our past sins are forgiven at that time, but we are then held accountable for everything we think, say, and do from that time forward. G-d’s repeated admonition to the Israelites discussed in our parashah today apply to everyone throughout all generations. Nothing goes unnoticed by G-d (Heb. 4:13); it is He who will decide our final disposition when we stand before Him. May our names be found in the Book of Life when that time comes.
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 49:14-51:3
This is the second of the seven “prophecies of comfort” read between the Fast of the Ninth of Av and Rosh Hashanah. The exiled Israelites are concerned that G-d has abandoned them. G-d once again reassures them that this is not the case, comparing His love and mercy for His people to that of a mother for her children, and even greater. Again, we need to remember that mothers nurture, teach, and correct their children because they love them. So it is with YHVH/Yahshua.
Isaiah then touchingly describes the ingathering of the exiles that will occur with Yahshua’s arrival (Messiah). Returning to the initial subject matter of the haftarah, Isaiah reminds the Israelites’ rebellious behavior that prompted the exile and suffering. He concludes with encouraging words, reminding us of what had happened to our ancestors, Abraham and Sarah. Just as they were blessed with a child when they had all but given up hope, so too, G-d will send Messiah to provide us a way to become reconciled to G-d, giving us hope for eternal redemption and salvation when our lives on this earth end. Our lives on earth are not the end of the story.
B’rit Chadashah: Ya’akov (James) 5:7-11
“be patient therefore, brethren unto the coming of the L-rd. behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receives the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the L-rd draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the L-rd, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy, which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the L-rd; that the L-rd is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
In the above passage, James continues the thought of chapter 4:13-17. The reference to the early and latter rain is the acharit-hayamim (“the end of days”). The verse refers to the climatic pattern of Israel where the bulk of the rain falls between October and March. The early rain (yoreh) comes in October, and the latter rain (malkosh) which is rare, comes in April. A spiritual application of this term is that the early rain (yoreh) came at Shavu’ot (Acts 2), and the latter rain (malkosh) is coming at the L-rd’s return. Verse 9 repeats the warning of 4:11-12. Verses 10-11 provide an example of suffering, mistreatment, yet being patient, which provides us an example of the prophets and the perseverance of Job. We encounter the phrase “and you have seen the end of the L-rd.” A correct interpretation of this verse is “and you know what the purpose of YHVH was.” The purpose was to justify the ways of YHVH to man. Although this is something that YHVH does not owe us, in His kindness and mercy there are times He chooses to reveal His rationale for His interventions in our lives. Job’s “trouble” started when YHVH chose to answer hasatan’s challenge by permitting him to touch Job’s possessions and person without killing him. Job persevered in the face of extreme loss, pain, and criticism; not knowing why this was happening. It must have been even more of a challenge for Job because he was considered a righteous man before G-d. Most of us would probably wonder why we should consider loving and following G-d if this was to be our fate. Job, like Moshe before he climbed the mountain to see the Land, could not understand the bigger picture as he was climbing. So it was with Job and is often with us when we experience the furnace of refinement. In the end, YHVH vindicated Himself and proved to Job and to us that only YHVH has the power and wisdom to deal with hasatan. We are forever and totally dependent upon YHVH Elohim for our lives, including our spiritual battles. We also learn from Job’s experience, that there is much more going on in the metaphysical realm as G-d works with us, refining us to be our best for His utmost glory. May we learn to keep this truth in our hearts and minds and allow the Spirit of G-d, the Ruach HaKodesh) to guide our spirits that our souls will find their place with YHVH/Yahshua. Remember, we are to discern the spirits, being ever watchful that we do not allow the spirit of HaSatan to infiltrate our hearts and minds. Our G-d is not a magic lamp, a Ouija board, or a jeanie. HaSatan can perform wonders and miracles too, for a time. He is the great Deceiver and the only way we can know the difference is through diligent prayer, Torah study, and practicing what we learn with wisdom of discernment that comes from above. There is no better investment of our time or lives.
Shabbat Shalom v’ baruch haba b’Shem Adonai
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart