Torah Portion: B’Har (Oh Mount)Lev.25:1-26:22, B’chukkotai(By My Regulations)Lev. 26:3-27:34 Haftorah Reading: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Historical fact: on Wednesday May 10 in the year 70 of the Common Era, the Roman legend X(10) entered Jerusalem singing their hymns and it was the same Roman legend that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in Jerusalem.
Tonight we study two portions of scripture. These have so much to teach us. Just a short word first about the beginning of the second portion. This portion begins with a small word that is easy to overlook. However this word speaks volumes to us. It is one of the most powerful words in our language. That word is “if.” This is a word that demands a decision. It is a word that gives choices. It is a word that demands a choice from us. It does not allow us to float along. In this parasha this small word gives to all Israel and every believer in the Messiah the choice. The choice to just go along each day in a way that does not bring life, or to choose to change and walk after G-d in all we do. In Lev. 26:3 we read, “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments and perform them…
In Leviticus 26:14-15 we read this same little word, if again. In Leviticus 26:3 we see after this first “If” comes the blessings if we choose G-d’s way. In the second use of the word “If” in Leviticus 26:14-15 we see the results of not choosing G-d’s way.
I know many people will we are not saved by works of the Law. True, but we also are not saved by rebellion against G-d’s commands. In Romans 3:23-31 Paul’s words confirm our part as non-Jews in how to live.
Here in our portion this week we also can see the blessings that can come from our choices. We as the non-Jews of faith share in the justification by faith in Messiah along with the circumcised by faith.
So as we read the blessings that come from obedience to G-d in our walk of faith we see it is a wise choice. G-d Himself will dwell among us and walk with us and keep His promises to us. He will give us peace and strength to stand against the storms of life
With this as a background I want us now to think and discuss why we take the time each week to study and read the Torah. Many believers will say it has passed away and we should only consider the Messianic scriptures as a guide for our life. I want us to talk about this idea. I want to hear from you on what you believe on this topic.
I want us to consider how we each see the Torah and its value in our life today. For example, many believers ignore or seldom read or study Torah. One function of the Torah is to show who G-d is and to reveal His holy character and His perfect righteousness to us. Torah also makes our sinfulness known to us and should bring us to a place of seeking forgiveness and repentance though our faith in the Messiah. It is true that just keeping G-d’s commandments does not guarantee your salvation. But disobedience and ignoring G-d’s commands is like buying a new washing machine and not reading the instruction book. In fact, when you buy any machine or electronic instrument, you naturally would read the instructions and do your best to follow the instructions to make sure that you are going to make the optimum use of your new instrument.
It is interesting that many believers ignore not only the commandments of Torah but they also ignore the commandments laid out in the Messianic Scriptures as if the words and teachings of Yeshua have no meaning or authority.
Here are a few examples: Yeshua says, “A new command I give you: Love one another, As I have loved you… By this all men will know that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35. The command to love is taken from the book of Leviticus 19:9-18.
“Do not hate your brother in your heart… Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge…but love your neighbor as yourself.’ This appears in the Messianic Scriptures several times: Matt. 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31, 33; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9-10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8.
Yeshua said that he was giving his disciples a new commandment. The question is what is the difference between the “new commandment” to love and what we find in Leviticus 19 to love our neighbors as ourselves? The difference is very important, and it does not cancel out the command in Leviticus. The new in Yeshua’s command is not only loving your neighbor as yourself but it brings the command to love to a whole different level. It is easier to love your neighbor as yourself because you are not intimately connected to your neighbor.
“Love one another as I have loved you” is a totally different situation because we know how Yeshua loved His disciples and loves us. He fed them, He healed their sick. He sacrificed Himself for His followers.
In Matthew 28:16-20 He asks us to extend His love to the rest of the world through what is known as the Great Commission. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you… Many ignore the phrase “all things that I have commanded you.” What commands was Yeshua referring to? He was talking about the commandments in Torah.
One of the reasons I think these verses are important is that we not overlook G-d’s foundation for our life and settle for anything less. Bless each of you this week.