Parashah Ekev 2018 (Because) Deuteronomy 7:12 – 12:25

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Moses continues his Third Discourse reminding the Children of Israel all the things that God has done for them, from freeing them out of Egyptian slavery to feeding them, to protecting them from peoples greater and stronger than they are, even to chastising them to test their faith and resolve.  He adds how many times they have failed to do as God commanded, how stiff-necked and undeserving they are of God’s gift of the land, and how if they refuse to obey God once they are in the land, then they will be treated as they are to treat the people living there now- they will be dispersed and destroyed.

Moses reviews their travels and how at each place the people rebelled against God- the Golden Calf, the waters of Meribah, the revolt of Korach, and their refusal to go into the land the first time they arrived. Despite their constant rebellion, God still wants to mightily bless them if they obey God and keep his commandments. Moses goes on to again say they are to remember all the wonderful acts that God did before them and the miracles he performed for their good.

Of all there is to talk about, I was somewhat surprised when I came across Deuteronomy 10:12-13:

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?

I immediately recognized it as something I had read elsewhere in the Bible. Do you know where I am talking about? It’s Micah 6:8:

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

I thought” Aha! So that’s where Micah got it from!”  Then I realized it wasn’t, or most probably wasn’t, from there. Micah got it straight from God, who also gave it to Moses for the same reasons- to remind the people what they were to do.

Now, Moses was sometime around 1500 BCE and Micah was in the time period from 750 BCE to about 686 BCE. So there were some 750 plus years between Moses telling the people what God wants of them, and Micah having to remind them of the same, exact thing. God never changes, and, sadly enough, it seems neither do we.

OY! When will we ever learn?

Are we any better today than the people back in Moses’ day? Or Micah’s time? Do we thank God for the wonderful things he has done, or do we try to explain it away as some scientific event that is not supernatural? Why would we do that? I’ll tell you why- if we can explain why something happens then we don’t believe it to be a miracle. If it isn’t a miracle, then it can’t be supernatural, i.e. from God. Therefore, if it isn’t from God it isn’t something we have to deal with or worry about.

Too many of the real miracles of life are ignored as miracles because we can explain how they happen. Some we can almost replicate in a lab, so if we can make it happen it can’t be a miracle, right?

Wrong. We can fertilize a human ovum in a test tube and implant it in a woman, who then can carry to birth. We can do that, so some might say we can create life. But where did we get the egg? Did we create the sperm? Did we manufacture the womb?

From the very moment, after the people saw God’s Shekinah glory, they forgot all about him. Out of sight, out of mind.  And that’s a problem because our God is invisible! Maybe that’s why idol worship was (and is, to this day) so popular- you can see and feel the idol, whereas we can’t with God. And if we can’t see, or smell or feel it, then we convince ourselves it isn’t really there.

But there are things we know exist, even though we can’t see or smell or feel it. What about oxygen? We may not see it or feel it or smell it, but if there is a lot of pure oxygen around and you should light a match…BOOM! You’ll know oxygen was there, all right! And what about radon? No smell or feel but if we breathe too much…dum-de-dum-dum!

Maybe this is how we can know an invisible God, the same way we know other invisible things- by the effect they have on our environment. That is how we can “see” and “feel” God- not by looking at him but by looking at the result of his presence. We can see him in his creation:

A bee can fly when the human study of aeronautics say it is impossible;

A plant drops all its purple flowers every night, but by the next mid-morning it has all new flowers (we have one of these on our porch, but Donna is the botanist, not me, so I don’t know the species name);

The universe continues to operate with billions and billions of stars in it that don’t crash into each other;

Consider the miracle of digestion; of respiration; of birth.

God is everywhere, and the proof of his existence is everywhere- all we need to do is look for it. And all we need to do to stay in God’s Grace and receive his blessings is remember that he is here, what he has done for us, that he wants us to love him and each other, and to obey his commandments. That’s all, just do as he says and we will have nothing to fear or ever be in want.

Moses tells us it isn’t all that hard, Micah tells us we only have to love God be merciful and fair, and Yeshua said all we really need to do is love God and love each other. None of these things mean we don’t have to obey God’s Torah, but the point is that when we love God and each other, what is in the Torah will be not just easy for us, but will come naturally.

Remember what God has done for you in your life, appreciate it and show that appreciation to God through obedience that comes as a love response.  If you truly love someone, you always want to please them, don’t you? Well, obedience is pleasing to God.

Think about that next time someone tells you the Son of God did away with all his father’s rules.

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