Following the Messiah
Acharei Mot (After the death) Vayikra/Leviticus 16:1-18:30
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 22:1-19
I want us to talk about a very serious issue that is all around us. Even in our religious institutions we see things condoned that we would have never dreamed of a few years ago. In our Torah portion today we read of a remedy for the sin sweeping our world.
My question this week centered on two verses, one in our reading and one from the Messianic scriptures. Both of these verses lay out a path for G-d’s people to rise above the situations we encounter each day. We see how to resist becoming numb to the sins we encounter.
The first verse I want us to examine is Leviticus 18:4, “My judgements you shall do and My statutes you shall observe to walk in them.” Here we read the expectations of G-d for His people. He expects His people to follow His instructions as their whole way of life. The NJV (New Jewish Publication Society of America Tanakh-originally known as the New Jewish Version) translates this verse as “My rules alone shall you observe and faithfully follow Me.”
To help us grasp the full meaning of this verse let us look at a few of the Hebrew words and their meanings. The English word judgements comes from the Hebrew word, “Mishpati” meaning exactly my judgements. In modern Hebrew we see this word used to designate a court. The judge in the court room would use case law to decide a matter before him. These judgements are easily understood and followed.
The next Hebrew word to look at is “chukoti” or in English, my statutes. This word describes something that is non-negotiable, or carved in stone, unchanging. For example, a king’s decree was to be obeyed without exception.
Thirdly, the Hebrew word is tish-maru. It means to watch, to guard, keep “that you walk in them.” Lastly the Hebrew word lalechit means to walk after, to adhere to. This word is used to imply a life long journey. It represents the way in which a person should walk the right path. Yeshua used this exact idea in Matthew 28:19 when He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Remember, a disciple is one who patterns his life after his rabbi.
We can see Leviticus 18:4 carries a strong meaning of a way of life to be lived by G-d’s people, every week, every day. This covers every part of our life, moral, sexual and family life. So, here in this verse we can see the standard set out by the Father for His people to incorporate into their lives as they come into contact with other people and other cultures. His word gives us the ability to withstand the pressure to compromise or adapt to the world view rather than His unchanging Word and will for His people.
We are all involved in this struggle every day. How are we to make decisions? Where do we draw the line in our lives? What responsibility do we have to share another way with the world we live in?
In James 1:22 we read, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.” We have to both hear and do the word. We must study and learn G-d’s word otherwise we will not know truth. We would then be open to things that are of this world. Not only do we have to know what G-d’s word says but we also have to act upon it and put it into practice in our lives each day. Yeshua said this exact same thing in Luke 8:21, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of G-d and do it.” He goes on in Luke 11:28 to say, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of G-d and keeps it.”
Here in the Messianic scriptures we read an echo of our verse from the Torah portion. We must not fall into the trap of following the Egyptians in our past and the Canaanites all around us. Rather we cling to the word of G-d and to the voice of His Spirit to make sure we are both hearing and doing the word of G-d Almighty each day. We are possibly the only light some may see in this darkening world.
Bless each of you as you live your life out each day. May we always be true to our faith and hope.