Torah Portion: Ekev (Heel) D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 7:12-11:25
Haftorah Reading Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 49:14-51:3
This afternoon our Torah section begins with the Hebrew word Ekev. It has many translations in English. It can mean, come to pass or because, it can also mean heel. It comes from the same root word as Isaac’s son Jacob. This comes from the fact he was holding on to the heel of Esau as they were being born. Tonight, I want us to major on the translation of heel for this word.
In our opening verses we read where Moshe spoke to the people and told them what would be their future if they were obedient to G-d’s Word in their life. My English translation reads, “Therefore it will come to pass (Ekev), if you give heed to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the L-rd your G-d shall keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers.” Moshe went on to list what would be the future of Israel if they followed the words of G-d. These blessings continue through verse 8:10.
As we continue to read Moshe also listed Israel’s future if they forgot the Words that G-d had given them. He told them to remember all that G-d had done for them. I would like for us to examine these two words of Moshe, Ekev/heel and zahar/remember. These words are also important for us today and even important for the future of our country.
Let’s look at Ekev first. If we look at this word translated as heel what insight can we glean from this portion? With our heel we walk or tread on something. What do we often tread under our feet in life? Usually we tread underfoot those things we see as unimportant or of little value to us. Do we sometimes categorize G-d’s word in this same way? Do we sometimes look at some scripture verses or commands as not important in today’s world? When we read the Messianic scriptures we read this same warning given. Luke 6:10 is one of the best examples we can find. Here Yeshua says, “He that is faithful with little is faithful also with much and he that is unfaithful with little is also unfaithful with much.” So, it would seem that as the people of G-d, we are not allowed to pick and choose what scripture we will deem as important and what is not. Come to think of it, don’t you think we strongly advocate those verses that we are able to keep with little effort? The portions of scripture that we struggle with we are not as diligent in studying and talking about.
What do you pay more attention to spiritually in your own life? Is caring for the widow and orphan as compelling for us as witnessing to the lost? We cannot afford to let some of G-d’s Word be treated as less by trampling underfoot the smaller things. There are no small things to the Father. His Word is His Word. I think Moshe, by using the word he used, is making that point as Yeshua did in the verse from Luke.
What is our reward for taking even the seemingly small things seriously? Our reward is not counted in money or other possessions. Our reward is to hear the Father say, “Well done” Matthew 25:16-23. Material blessing or rewards should never be our motivation. Our love of the Heavenly Father and His love for us should move us to obedience. In verse 10:12 we read these words, “O Israel what does G-d require of you? Only to fear the L-rd your G-d.” Understand the word used here for fear. It doesn’t speak of being afraid of G-d if we disobey. The word actually means to be in awe of G-d. We are to have such a relationship with the Father that we could not do anything to harm His Name, His reputation. For He is the Lover of our soul and His word is meant to bring us life. His purpose is never to punish us but to give us the opportunity to grow, to go farther than we have even been with Him. That spiritual growth comes from the challenges we face and how we deal with them. Do we say, “why me L-rd or should we always frame things as what is G-d saying to me through what I am experiencing. G-d allows challenges of right and wrong in our lives so we can choose Him.
What was the hardest time for Israel, the 40 years in the desert or their life in the Promised Land? Usually the real challenge for us, and was for Israel, is when things are going well for us. Why? We relax a bit and coast along forgetting who is our Provider, our Healer and Father. We begin to think we are the source of whatever good we have worked so hard for. We begin to think we can do it on our own and do not need G-d every hour of every day.
This brings me to my other word of the evening. That word in Hebrew is zahar or in English remember. We can read it in our portion in verses 8:2 and 9:7. We are not to forget what the L-rd has done for us. We are never to look at our accumulation of money, things, or even good health as being the result of our efforts. G-d provides. Moshe is reminding Israel of that. When we begin to believe that we are the ones who are responsible for what we have what happens to us? We become possessive, wanting more and more and get to the place we will do things to preserve that feeling of superiority over people who have less.
When we read in scripture that tells us, “the love of money is the root of all evil” I Timothy 6:10 what are we to make of it? Is money evil? No, it is when we allow it to become the most important thing in our lives that it is no longer a blessing to us. It can cause us to forget G-d. It is the love of money that is our downfall. So, as we close I would ask you to reflect on these two words, heel and remember. Don’t trample any of G-d’s Word underfoot. The Bible is our guide book for life. Always remember what G-d has done for you. Pass your testimony of what G-d has done for you on to your children, to friends and anyone else who will listen. Bless you all.