This parashah has Moses delivering the same message to the Israelites repeated three times; essentially, Moses is telling them that “God has your back!”
He retells about the 40 years in the desert, the way God handled the Egyptians (and will be able to handle the Canaanites, just the same way), about how God gave the tablets to Moses, about how God fed them in the desert (in 8:3 Moses tells us we do not live by bread alone) and provided water from the rocks. He reminds them how God punished them for their rebellions, but only to test them and make their faith stronger. Moses reminds them of the sin of the Golden Calf, and how he often had to beg God not to destroy the people.
This message- God protected you, God fed you, God brought you to this land, yet you have constantly rebelled against Him, causing you to suffer. And, despite all this, God has always forgiven you and as long as you obey Him He will continue to watch over you, as He has for the past 40 years- is repeated three times throughout this parashah. But do you think they remembered?
Moses also warns them not to fall into worshiping the idols of the people they are to soon conquer or they will be forsaken by God and ejected from the land.
Moses also tells them, in no uncertain way, to never get so comfortable with the wonderful things they will have when they are settled in the land that they start to think they actually deserve it- not so. They are to remember that they are there only because God loved their fathers and keeps His promises.
Throughout this book Moses pounds into their skulls, over and over and over, that God will take care of them so long as they obey Him. Over, and over, and over….and over!
It didn’t seem to do any good, did it?
And have we learned from this? Every bible-based religion that has come after the Jewish people, from Catholicism to Protestantism to Methodism to whatever: every single one of these religions that profess to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have not only made all the same mistakes that the Israelites made, but have made worse ones, yet! They have not just ignored the Torah, they have taught that the very living Torah, Jesus (Yeshua) told them to ignore it! They teach that the Torah is only for Jews, and they only need the blood of Christ to give them freedom from sin.
Yo, Bro- hate to tell ‘ya, but that blood was shed so that you could be free from sin; it wasn’t shed so you could be free from Torah. Yeshua taught from, of, and about the essence of Torah, and His Talmudim (Disciples) after Him did nothing but confirm Torah. The only difference is that the Gentile converts to Judaism (that is what you were in the First Century when you accepted Yeshua as your Messiah) ) were not held as strictly accountable to every law in Torah AT FIRST when they accepted Messiah Yeshua. AT FIRST– that means they were given 4 restrictions (Acts 15:19-21) only as a start to learn all the laws in Torah. It is clear in the bible that the Elders expected these converts to Judaism to pick up the rest as they heard the Torah preached and taught in the temple.
We have heard from God, we have seen His wonders, we have known His punishment and we have received His love and forgiveness. Everything that we ever needed, need now or ever will need, God has taken care of for us. Yet, we still rebel, we still forget, we still do wrong.
OY! Was Mashuganas!
It’s all really simple- God gave the Torah to the children of the Patriarchs so that they could learn from it how to live, and as such, be an example to the rest of the world. When that didn’t work, He gave up His only son to provide the ultimate Get Out of Jail card for us, but that did NOT overrule Torah. It simply provided another means of salvation that the Torah couldn’t- not because Torah is unable to do so, but because we are unable to follow Torah.
This parashah holds the same message for us that it held for the children of Israel before they entered the land God promised them- do what is right in God’s eyes, remember how He cares for you, remember how unworthy you are of that care, be grateful and show your gratefulness through obedience.
God’s got our back and we should be humbly grateful to Him. Our gratitude should be demonstrated every minute of every day by following, as best as we can, the instructions He gave us about how to worship Him and treat each other.
Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? So, then, why can’t we do it?