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Dr. Duane D. Miller
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In this week’s Torah Portion, Moshe states, כח הַנִּסְתָּרֹת לַיהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וְהַנִּגְלֹת לָנוּ וּלְבָנֵינוּ עַד-עוֹלָם לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶת-כָּל-דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת: 29:29 ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law (הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת). (NASB) Notice how Moshe says the secret things belong to the Lord, and those of us who obey God’s word, they are revealed. This is the way Moshe describes the wisdom that is taught to God’s people in applying God’s Word to our lives. Rashi states, “but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children that we may put away the evil from our midst; and if we do not execute judgment upon them, the whole community will be punished.” The concept here is taking responsibility for what is going on in our community, rather than operating as individuals, or islands who are unaware and uncaring of others, we are to get involved in our brothers life, and warn him if he goes astray. If what is being done in the open, we as a community must obey God’s Word. To ignore what is going on in the life of our brothers brings guilt upon our souls. This is why Paul wrote about casting out the unrepentant sinner from the congregation. (1 Corinthians 5:13) According to verse 29:20 the Lord God singles out individuals due to their sins, and in verse 29:21 it sounds as if the sins of a single individual could cause the Lord to react against the whole people, or at least against a whole family all on account of the single individual rebellion. This suggests we have a responsibility towards others. Moshe makes it clear that the Lord God is omniscient and knows what goes on in the hearts of each one of us. He will deal with the individual who is guilty and not engage in punishing the innocent as “collateral damage.” However, sins committed openly, and ignored by the community will bring guilt upon the community. This is the meaning of our bodies being the Temple of the Lord, and the significance of standing before the Lord our God, because He dwells in our midst. How do these things relate to Teshuvah? We are to live daily repentant lives and to turn from unfaithfulness. The reason is, Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:1-3 provides us with the expectation of the Lord working powerfully in our lives by dwelling in our midst. This speaks of the Lord going before us and fighting our battles. In light of Jeremiah 31:31, the “making a covenant in a new way” is related to the Messiah who does not do away with the Torah, but puts within our hearts the power of God to overcome sin in our lives (to obey Torah). Tur HaAroch writes, “In appreciation of not being made responsible for such sins, Moses says that we will take care of knowingly committed sins, do penance, etc., and ask G’d’s forgiveness and undertake not to be negligent again. The curses Moses has called down on sinners do not apply to people who have sinned unintentionally.” The idea is the community will be involved in leading one to repentance and restoration. Note again this is what Paul and others are teaching in the Apostolic Writings (see Matthew 18:15, Galatians 6:1, James 3:14). The Lord God is reminding the people that they are in a covenant with him. He is their God and they are his people, and that knowledge brings with it tremendous responsibilities. For example, he warns them about worshiping the gods of the other nations (29:18) and about persisting in doing things their own way (29:19). Such behavior will bring disaster upon them. He tells them, “All the curses of God will fall upon you because you have received such blessings, and yet you’ve disdained the Lord. The whole land will become like Sodom and Gomorrah” (29:23). There will be occasions when the people will cry out “Why? Why has the Lord done this?” (29:24). The answer is clearly give in the Scriptures; it is because of their disobedience. The judgments of God are not a secret and they are no mystery, this is why Moshe wrote “but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” in 29:29. The warnings have been made clear. In the great Day of Judgment lying before all of us no one will be perplexed. No one will say, “But we didn’t know.” The Lord God has written down these things in His Word (the Bible) and we are called to study, and apply them to our lives. The mysteries that remain are “Why did this person fall away? Why did he or she embrace error? Why did this congregation collapse? and Why did suffering enter this life but not that life?” These things occur to make us thankful for our calling and to seek the face of God each day in our lives. Let’s discuss these things further in this week’s Torah portion.
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In this week’s Torah Portion, Moshe states, כח הַנִּסְתָּרֹת לַיהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וְהַנִּגְלֹת לָנוּ וּלְבָנֵינוּ עַד-עוֹלָם לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶת-כָּל-דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת: 29:29 ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law (הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת). (NASB) Notice how Moshe says the secret things belong to the Lord, and those of us who obey God’s word, they are revealed. This is the way Moshe describes the wisdom that is taught to God’s people in applying God’s Word to our lives. Rashi states, “but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children that we may put away the evil from our midst; and if we do not execute judgment upon them, the whole community will be punished.” The concept here is taking responsibility for what is going on in our community, rather than operating as individuals, or islands who are unaware and uncaring of others, we are to get involved in our brothers life, and warn him if he goes astray. If what is being done in the open, we as a community must obey God’s Word. To ignore what is going on in the life of our brothers brings guilt upon our souls. This is why Paul wrote about casting out the unrepentant sinner from the congregation. (1 Corinthians 5:13) According to verse 29:20 the Lord God singles out individuals due to their sins, and in verse 29:21 it sounds as if the sins of a single individual could cause the Lord to react against the whole people, or at least against a whole family all on account of the single individual rebellion. This suggests we have a responsibility towards others. Moshe makes it clear that the Lord God is omniscient and knows what goes on in the hearts of each one of us. He will deal with the individual who is guilty and not engage in punishing the innocent as “collateral damage.” However, sins committed openly, and ignored by the community will bring guilt upon the community. This is the meaning of our bodies being the Temple of the Lord, and the significance of standing before the Lord our God, because He dwells in our midst. How do these things relate to Teshuvah? We are to live daily repentant lives and to turn from unfaithfulness. The reason is, Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:1-3 provides us with the expectation of the Lord working powerfully in our lives by dwelling in our midst. This speaks of the Lord going before us and fighting our battles. In light of Jeremiah 31:31, the “making a covenant in a new way” is related to the Messiah who does not do away with the Torah, but puts within our hearts the power of God to overcome sin in our lives (to obey Torah). Tur HaAroch writes, “In appreciation of not being made responsible for such sins, Moses says that we will take care of knowingly committed sins, do penance, etc., and ask G’d’s forgiveness and undertake not to be negligent again. The curses Moses has called down on sinners do not apply to people who have sinned unintentionally.” The idea is the community will be involved in leading one to repentance and restoration. Note again this is what Paul and others are teaching in the Apostolic Writings (see Matthew 18:15, Galatians 6:1, James 3:14). The Lord God is reminding the people that they are in a covenant with him. He is their God and they are his people, and that knowledge brings with it tremendous responsibilities. For example, he warns them about worshiping the gods of the other nations (29:18) and about persisting in doing things their own way (29:19). Such behavior will bring disaster upon them. He tells them, “All the curses of God will fall upon you because you have received such blessings, and yet you’ve disdained the Lord. The whole land will become like Sodom and Gomorrah” (29:23). There will be occasions when the people will cry out “Why? Why has the Lord done this?” (29:24). The answer is clearly give in the Scriptures; it is because of their disobedience. The judgments of God are not a secret and they are no mystery, this is why Moshe wrote “but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” in 29:29. The warnings have been made clear. In the great Day of Judgment lying before all of us no one will be perplexed. No one will say, “But we didn’t know.” The Lord God has written down these things in His Word (the Bible) and we are called to study, and apply them to our lives. The mysteries that remain are “Why did this person fall away? Why did he or she embrace error? Why did this congregation collapse? and Why did suffering enter this life but not that life?” These things occur to make us thankful for our calling and to seek the face of God each day in our lives. Let’s discuss these things further in this week’s Torah portion.
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This week’s Torah Portion is a very important one, in which Moshe says הַסְכֵּת | וּשְׁמַע יִשְֹרָאֵל הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה נִהְיֵיתָ לְעָם לַיהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ “Pay attention, and hear O Israel, on this day you have become a people to God, your God.” The reason this week’s Portion is so important is its relation to what it means to be “a people belonging to God?” Moshe and the Priesthood are saying to the people, you actually have a relationship with God. Our relationship with God is not just in word, but is also in deed (how we live your lives). To summarize Devarim / Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8, Moshe instructs the Israelites regarding the first fruits offering; Moses then lists the blessings for keeping the commandments and the curses for disobeying them. These things are related to a choice that is presented to all of us, whether we will choose to follow what God commands, or reject it. Whether we choose to humble our lives before God and men, or pridefully refuse. The question is, “if a person chose not to follow God’s laws or to walk in God’s ways will he still belong to God?” This is a very important question for us today as it is related to the blessings and the curses listed here in the Scriptures. Do you believe God sends blessings and curses to His people? Has the Lord God blessed and cursed you in your life? If so, how, and if not, why? These are important questions because the Scriptures state on the one hand, “If you listen to God and carry out God’s commandments, the Lord God will set you above all the nations of the earth. You will be blessed in the city and in the field. Blessed will be the fruit of your body and the fruit of your soil and the fruit of your livestock. Blessed will you be when you come in and when you go out.” And on the other hand, “But it shall come to pass that if you will not listen to the voice of God, nor carry out God’s commandments that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” These are serious statements that need to be considered. Modern theologies today however reject what is written here as having any place in our lives today. The basic premise comes from what we read in Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ 3:14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (NASB) Theologies, such as Dispensationalism, have been developed in order to neglect what we are reading here today in Parashat Ki Tavo. It is important to understand what the curse of the law is and what the blessings of Abraham are as they are related to us. Without understanding these things it is possible to make up anything for the purpose of redefining the meaning of God’s word. The Bible provides us the answers in Deuteronomy chapter 28. What exactly is “the curse of the law” which Yeshua the Messiah has redeemed us from? Any preacher you speak to today regarding the blessings and the curses, will state the curses do not apply or are irrelevant because we have faith in Jesus Christ. What follows then is the claim of legalism in relation to the blessing and the curses, coupled to Galatians 3 saying those who keep the Law of God are involved in legalism. In the Torah portion, Moshe reminds the people that they are God’s chosen people, and that they, in turn, have chosen God. As a chosen people, Ki Tavo lists the blessings of God followed by the harsh account of the bad things “illness, famine, poverty and exile” that would befall the people if they abandon God’s ways. Note how this is what Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 11:27-32. We have to remember the Scriptures say disobedience is sin, and obedience is righteousness. The point is if a person is living in unrepentant sin, does Yeshua redeem him from the consequences? The modern theological conclusion, is yes because we are saved by faith alone. But, was this the conclusion Paul was making, while speaking to the point of Gentile inclusion as the people of God? (see Acts 26) Moshe concludes the portion by telling the people that forty years after their deliverance from Egypt, they attained “a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear.” This is about our becoming aware of our sin and need for a savior. Modern theologies state “God’s favor is bestowed upon believers through faith in Christ alone, not through performing the works of the law as stated in Deuteronomy 28.” What kind of relationship does this describe where all one must do is believe? The interesting point is Paul taught in Acts 26:20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. (NASB) Paul wrote we are to do works (deeds) which are appropriate for repentance. Does this modern theology of faith alone declare something contrary to what Paul is saying? The deeds (works) Paul speaks of have not radically changed between the Old and New Testaments. This is the confusion of modern theologies today which teach obedience to the Torah was a form of legalism. In addition, it is important to note the list of curses are more numerous and detailed than the list of blessings. The reason for this is we are being told, our Father in heaven will do everything that is necessary to make sure God’s people understand what it means to walk in disobedience (sin). The Lord calls us to walk in the Spirit and to remain in His mercy, which is facilitated by living a repentant life, and standing strong in the Messiah Yeshua. The Scriptures say “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:15) What this week’s Torah portion is telling us is we are called to live by faith, which is the technical term for walking in the Spirit otherwise known as obedience to God’s Torah. Note how under the Torah, righteousness is bestowed as a gift in response to our faith in the God of Israel. The Old Testament and the Apostolic Writings do not present two different theological systems. Yeshua come to destroy the curse of death and to empower us to walk in God’s ways by the power of the Spirit in our lives. The modern theological distortion of the Word of God speaks contrary to God’s Torah as a way of life. Much of this comes from a wrong teaching in the church. Let’s discuss these things further in this week’s Torah portion.
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