Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #47: Re’eh (See) D’varim (Deuteronomy) 11:26-16:17
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 54:11-55:5
B’rit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
In this parashah we see a repetition of the truth of salvation; that we have free choice. If we want to receive the blessings of G-d and the hope of an eternal life with Him, we must choose to follow His commands and rulings that are ordered by G-d (Deut. 11:26). We have the same choice to make today remembering that YHVH/Yahshua is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He reminds us in Deuteronomy 12:8-9 that “ You will not do things the way we do them here today, where everyone does whatever in his own opinion seems right; because you haven’t yet arrived at the rest and inheritance which Adonai your G-d is giving you.” What part of this statement don’t antinomians understand? We are at that place today where man thinks they have better knowledge, more wisdom; an undated version on morality which is no morality! In Chapter 13:1 again we are reminded that we are to take care to observe all that G-d has commanded and not toad or subtract from His Word. This order is treated with total disregard by religious institutions and the people who follow their leaders. Just one of a plethora of examples is the changing of the biblical Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first (Sunday) by the Catholic Church. This is not Christian “bashing.” This is a fact.
The dietary laws are also presented. These are other examples of how the general multitude has chosen to claim a “freedom in Christ” to eat whatever they want. The Bible does not support this line of thinking and those who subscribe to it are in for a rude awakening. Yahshua never ate pork, shrimp, or other foods which He forbids us to consume because He is Truth, not a hypocrite.
In Chapter 16 the holy designated times of G-d are repeated from Leviticus 23. Nowhere will you find Easter or Christmas which are pagan celebrations embraced by Christianity with invalid and unsupported justification and rationalization.
Much of this Parashah fucuses on the need to remain a spiritually separate people from the pagan nations by which they were surrounded. This is the reason why G-d commanded that when the Israelites conquered nations, that they were to destroy everything to do with that nation let they fall prey to anything pagan. Such things we must denounce include attitudes, possessions, relationships, places, or habits; anything that causes us to turn our hearts away from G-d and His commands. We must also refrain from flattering ourselves by assuming we are above being tempted. This goes for new believers and those who have been talmidim of YHVH/Yahshua for may years. HaSatan is a powerful foe, and we cannot hope to win our spiritual battle with our human egos. Furthermore, we are not to inquire about pagan practices lest we become tempted out of curiosity and fall away (Deut. 12:30). To resist curiosity about harmful practices shows obedience and discretion.
We are also warned against falling for false prophets; charismatic people who have an agenda of pulling believers away from the one true G-d. New ideas may sound enticing but we must learn to discern and compare everything that is said against G-d’s Torah. Many false prophets promote themselves and attempt to turn people away from G-d’s Torah in very subtle and persuasive ways just as the serpent deceived Eve and caused Adam to commit the sin that would require the innocent and total blood sacrifice of Yahshua for atonement. Learn to discern is an excellent mantra for the believer. The Ruach HaKodesh is available to all true believers for such guidance in tandem with G-d’s Word.
We must also be wary of friends and/or family members who attempt to minimize our belief and observance of G-d’s commands. This can be very difficult, but Yahshua makes it very clear that He is to be loved above all other things and people; “ Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household! If you love your father and mother more than your love me, you are not worthy of being mine” (Matt. 10:34-37). This concept is reflected in Chapter 13:6-12. We do not stone people today, but we are not to listen to or follow any anti-Torah behavior or practices by family members. Yahshua will judge when the time comes.
The tithe is defined in Chapter 14. We need to have this concept straight in our minds if we want to be observant. Tithing means the first 10% of our fruits/money, etc. Placing some arbitrary amount in the tithing receptacle is not tithing. We are not to give leftovers or subscribe to a “more or less” system of donation. Anything more than 10% is an offering. But the first 10% is mandated.
Chapter 15 defines and describes the laws regarding Sh’mittah years; those that occur at the end of every seven years. These laws are met with varying levels of observance for may reasons. But one thing is certain, to ignore shmittah is to suffer exile. In Ezra 1:1 we learn that the Israelites had disobeyed G-d’s laws concerning the Sabbath and Sh’mittah. They had been in the Promised Land for about 800 years, and for about 490 years of that, they disobeyed G-d. G-d commands Sh’mittah to give the land a chance to rest and recover its nutrients. This was also an act of trust that G-d will provide and obedience regardless of economic or other inconvenience to our lifestyles. The warning of exile and death for disobedience is described in Leviticus 25:2-4;26:33-35.
In Jeremiah, G-d told the people they would be exiled for 70 years; the amount of time the sabbath rest had been violated (490) years total. In the Book of Ezra, we see that this time of exile had lapsed, and that G-d used King Cyrus to allow the people back into the land. This is a perfect example of G-d’s omniscience and omnipresence, His watching over His people and using unlikely characters to accomplish His will. It is important to remember that although the length of the exile was set to correspond to the length of disobedience to the Sabbath, other reasons include the Israelites’ idolatry, child sacrifices, and ritual prostitution. G-d will not allow His land to be defiled for long and it will be purified again when He returns. Then His people will enjoy a never ending Shabbat.
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 54:11-55:5
This week’s haftorah is the third of a series of seven “haftarot of Consolation.” These seven haftarot commence on the Shabbat following Tisha b’Av and continue until Rosh Hashanah.
G d addresses the inconsolable and storm-tossed Jerusalem. He tells her that although He turned His face from her for a time, she will be redeemed through His grace. She is assured G-d will never be angry or rebuke her again (54:6-10). Jerusalem will be laid with precious stones. Her children will be “disciples of the L-rd,” and will enjoy abundant peace. Any weapon engineered against her will fail.
Then G-d through Isaiah invites the thirsty to acquire “water,” namely those who are thirsty for spirituality should study the quenching words of Torah. He promises the nation an everlasting covenant similar to that made with King David. This is also an allusion to the Messiah, David’s descendant (Yahshua), who will be revered by all of the nations of the world.
B’rit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
Sha’ul tells the Messianic community at Corinth that when he told them not to associate with those who practice sexual immorality; greed, thievery, idol worship, and the like, he was not referring to people outside the city or “leave the world altogether.” He takes the point closer to home referring to those in our own families or communities, as mentioned in the parashah. He tells us that we should not even eat with these individuals. We are to use discernment and courage when we come into contact with those who profess to be our brothers in faith, or family; friends. We are to be strong enough to explain why we cannot associate with them; for this may be likened to wallowing with the pigs; guilty by association. Of course, if such an individual wants to meet with us to learn about our faith and ask questions about our G-d, we can certainly meet with them. G-d will judge those outside of His Torah. We are responsible for rebuking those within our community/family/circle of friends according to G-d’s Torah. This is also addressed in different contexts in 2 and 3 John. We are not to turn a blind eye to injustice or antinomian behavior within our families and communities. If we are not bold enough to confront such people head-on, we should support those who are; lobbyists, organizations that strive to correct such problems; pray for strength and courage to become active ourselves. We should not and cannot always depend on others to correct anti-Torah behaviors/practices. We have a personal responsibility to defend our G-d and His Torah just as Yahshua did throughout his life on earth.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart