Parashah Ekev 2021 (Because) Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25

Moses continues to advise the Israelites that when they obey the Lord’s instructions they will be blessed. God will go ahead of them into the land and slowly weaken the people there so that they will be more easily defeated.

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Moses reminds the people how God has tested them, afflicting them when they ignored him and yet, keeping them alive and protected for 40 years while they were in the desert.

Moses again warns the people that when they have settled in the land and are happy and safe, that they should not abandon God or think that they have all they do because of anything they did. He tells them that when they do that, the Lord will drive them out of the land, just as he did the ones that were there before them.

This discourse continues, reminding the people of the sin of the Golden Calf, God separating the Levites for service to him, and how he, Moses, suffered for them to have God spare them and give him the 10 Words, again.

Over and over Moses tells the people to remember all that God did for them and what happens, or will happen, when they reject God. He relates the story of the rebellion under Dathan and Abiram and pleads with the people to maintain their faithful obedience to God so that it will go well with them when they are in the land.

When I read this book, I sometimes think the name should be the Book of Redundancy. Over and over, and over, and over Moses tells the people the same darn thing: when they obey God’s commandments they will be blessed; when they reject God, they will be cursed and driven out of the land. He says this so many times, that you’d think the people would reply, “All right already! I get it!”

But history shows that they really didn’t get it.

Despite the many miraculous demonstrations of God’s power and ability to save, the people were no different then than they are now: if it is right here in front of me, I see and know, but once I am on my own, I don’t care and will do what I want to.

Even with strong and righteous leaders, such as Moses, Joshua, and many of the Judges, later on, people need to be strictly controlled in order to remain righteous. We desire to do evil, which is called iniquity, and it is part of our DNA! What we really need is to be strictly controlled by strong and righteous leadership in order to keep us in line.

So what can we do? If you’re asking me, and even if you’re not, I believe the only thing to do is for each individual to determine what they want from eternity. This life is temporary, and quite short, even insignificant compared to forever, but it is all the time we have been given to decide where we want to spend eternity.

And what is worse is that we never know when our time is up!

So do as Moses wanted his people to do, and faithfully accept that God is the one to listen to: not Moses, or your Rabbi, or the Talmud, or the Pope, or your Pastor, Minister, or Saint Paul, or non-Believing family or friends, but G-O-D.

And God tells you exactly what he expects from you here, in this Torah. Nowhere else in the entire Bible does God say what he wants us to do, how we are to worship him (Leviticus 23) or what we are to eat (Leviticus 11) or what kind of intimate relationships are righteous (Leviticus 18), and other ordinances and regulations found throughout the Torah that outline the kind of society and lifestyle we should have.

People think that religion is the way we are to worship God, but it isn’t. God has no religion, but people created religion in order to have power over other people, and the best way to disobey God is to obey a religion.

If you want God’s blessings, all you have to do is live your life the way God said you should. It’s really that simple: the reason there are so many different ways to do that is that religion has confused everything.

And for those who refuse to believe in God, or accept that Yeshua really IS the Messiah God promised to send, well…you’re on your own.

Good luck with that.

If I may, I suggest you check your history books because every civilization that rejected the God of Israel or came against Israel has been so decimated that it has never recovered its full strength, or is no longer in existence. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Spain, and more currently the Nazis- all gone. And no matter how many times Syria or Jordan or Iran or Iraq or anyone else surrounding Israel tries to defeat and destroy them, they fail.

Not because of how great Israel is, but because of how great God is, and as long as Israel tries to do as God has commanded them, they will continue to survive and flourish.

God isn’t just for Israel, though- the good news for everyone else is that this is possible for them, too; all they have to do is reject their religion and worship God as he said to do.

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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

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