Parashah Ekev (follow) Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25

Most of D’Varim (Deuteronomy) is a discourse from Moses reminding the children of Israel all that has happened to them over the past forty years, reminding them of God’s commandments and encouraging them to obey God after they have gone into the land and conquered it.

This parashah starts with Moses continuing his discourse on the history of their journey. He reminds them of the wonderful ways God has protected and fed them, and also of the horrible ways they have rejected God and tested Him. Moses goes back and forth from what God has done, what He will do to help, and how He has kept His part of the covenant, then about how they have, for their part, broken the covenant because they refused to obey and what will happen to them if they continue to refuse.

He tells them they are to go in and take over the land, destroying all the pagan items and peoples, and that even though the people there are stronger and mightier than they are, God will go before them and battle for them.

Moses warns the people that they shouldn’t become complacent when God has done all these wonderful things, and begin to think that they deserved any of it. He is quite adamant that they don’t, and they better not forget that. They are getting the best not because they deserve it, but because God loved their ancestors, who did deserve it. They don’t. He wants them to continually be humble before the Lord- as should we all.

I  like how Moses tells them in chapter 10, verses 12-13 that all God requires is for the people to fear God, walk in His ways, love and serve Him. Sound familiar? Read Micah 6:8.

The message here for all of us is that we need to remember that God will do for us all that we could ever want, and when we walk in trusting faithfulness, He will be there, in front of us, protecting us and forging a path for us so we can complete the trip. He will smooth the path, place hedges on the right and the left to keep us straight, and destroy the enemies blocking our way. And if we fall, He will pick us up. If needs be, He may even carry us for a way. However, He won’t carry us all the way; there may be a smooth path but there will be hills to overcome and valleys to pass through. It won’t be easy, it won’t always be fun, but we must keep going.

That’s really the whole story, isn’t it? From beginning to end, the basic A-B-C’s of salvation are:

AAccept your own sinfulness and need for God, Accept the rule of God, and Accept His Messiah;

BBe obedient, Be dedicated, Be an example of God’s wonder and goodness;

C- Continue to work at being more of what God wants you to be so you can Complete the journey.

That’s all there is to Salvation: it’s easy to attain, it’s hard to keep, but it’s well worth having.

Even When We Know Where We’re Going to End Up, We Don’t Know How We Will Get There

Yesterday I talked about my bike ride and close brush with wiping out. The question I keep asking myself is why didn’t I know about the cement bumpers? Did I forget they were there or are they a new addition? I haven’t been that route for a month or two, so which is it?

Even though I knew where I was going, I didn’t know about the cement bumper. Whether I forgot or not, the end result is the same- BIG surprise at the last moment!

There is a story of a man who tells Yeshua how he is going to make a larger barn, and then do other things to square away his life, and Yeshua says the man is a fool because he spends all that time working for things that he won’t enjoy because his soul will be demanded of him that very night. It’s like the old expression:

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

When we accept the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah and do T’Shuvah, we are beginning to walk a path that we think we know, since we have an idea of how to act, the Ruach helps us to know what we should do, and the end is eternity in God’s presence. But the sad truth is that the end is the only part we can be certain of, because the path is not straight, it is very narrow, and there are thorns, brambles, and many rocks along the way.  It is a difficult and treacherous road to take, and Yeshua warns us about this.

Even though I know where I am going to end up, I don’t really know how I will get there, meaning I am not sure what the travel itinerary has in store for me. Jonah thought he would go to Tarshish, and we all know how that turned out. Nebuchadnezzar thought he would rule the world, but he ate grass for 7 years, and Herod thought he would be able to keep the Messiah from being born, and I am sure he didn’t expect to end up the way he did.

Once we have accepted God’s grace and walk in His will we know where we will end up, but we really don’t know where we are going. So be prepared for anything; for friends to abandon you, for family to fall away from you, for workers to distrust you and talk against you, for the world, itself, to seem to come against you at every turn.

It ain’t easy being a real Believer, and it is a constant battle with yourself to stay the course. Especially when you don’t know which direction the course takes. It is easy to take a wrong turn, so always look to the Ruach (Spirit) to lead you (a sort of spiritual GPS), take along the Atlas (Bible) which will show you the way to go, and make sure you read it all the time.

And trust in God, who may not tell you where you are going until you are there, but wherever that is, He is already waiting for you.

Watch where you are going, keep an eye on where you are, and never forget what is at the end of the journey. All the troubles along the way will be like a small mist that evaporates in a second once you are in God’s presence.