Courage comes from Hope
B’chukkotai (By My Regulations) Vayikra/Leviticus 26:3-27:34
Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Even though we are unable to meet today I want to send you some thoughts on this week’s Torah portion. I would like to concentrate on an extremely important section of this Torah portion. It begins with these words, “If you walk in my statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out” Leviticus 26:3. Isn’t that statement a bit redundant? What is the difference between 1. walking in My statutes and 2. keeping the commandments and 3. carrying them out? I might add this question also applies to Yeshua’s commandments in the Messianic Scriptures.
Sometimes I think we study the scripture simply for the sake of learning (head knowledge) what is written and stopping there. We don’t get around to putting in to action what the Bible tells us to do. We often hear the Word of G-d but do not apply it personally. This is especially true of the commandments found in the Torah but it also applies to how we might not internalize the words of Yeshua. We might hear about the spiritual meanings but not much about how these commandments are to be lived each day. We forget that when we study, memorize or even quote scripture we are also to use the wisdom we have to do and to live those words out each day in our lives.
This week I have been burdened by these thoughts. Does our study lead to changed lives? Or is it just an avenue to feel like we have done our duty as followers of the Messiah and nothing more? Today, I want us to use our Torah portion to show us the pitfalls of such a way of living. In Psalms 27:13-14 we read, “Were it not for my faith that I would see G-d’s goodness in the land of the living! Hope in G-d, be strong and He will give you courage. Hope in G-d.”
In this passage we read of a revolutionary change. Hope. I want us to keep this word before us as we go on. Hope, what does it mean? In our portion in Leviticus we read the consequences for the children of Israel, warning them against losing their way. They, the people, would lose in every way. They would lose their freedom, forfeit their land and go into exile suffering persecution at the hands of their conquerors. We know this is exactly what happened in Israel’s history. We too can suffer as a result of sin in our lives.
However, Leviticus 26:44-45 says, “Yet in spite of this” G-d will remember His covenant with them and with their forefathers when He brought them out of Egypt. Here scripture is telling us there is hope. “Hope” was a new thing in human history. G-d may punish and even hide His face but He will not break His covenant. He will remember His people and restore them.
We as part of His people can trust Him to not throw us away when we sin. We have hope. He will convict us spiritually and give us the opportunity to repent and return home. In some ways it is up to us. Do we assimilate into what we have become comfortable in, our sin, or do we feel His tug and respond? Do we remember His word, the word we have been reading, and begin to live by it? G-d is always waiting for His people to come home, to remember the hope we read about here in our Torah portion. It is because of hope that Israel was able to return home after being carried away into slavery.
Scripture is more than something to study and memorize, or a way to satisfy ourselves that we have done our duty. G-d desires it to affect how we live and how we relate to other people. Everything about us should be touched by our faith.
Allow G-d to illuminate His word in you. Let it sink into your spirit. Never lose hope. Live each day to its fullest in Him. Bless each of you this day. May G-d grant you deeper understanding of His word and how it applies in our life today.