Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When you come) D’Varim (Deut.) 26:1-29:8
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 60:1-22
Messianic Scripture Matthew 13:1-23; Luke 21:1-4; Acts 28:17-31
Today we read a Torah portion that takes place on the east bank of the Jordan river. It contains some of Moshe’s remark’s to the people that are meant to sustain them after they cross over the Jordan. I believe all of us can take comfort in these words as we walk through our days.
I would like to begin with the words of Deut. 26:5-8, 5 “And you shall declare before the L-rd your G-d, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.6 And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. 7 Then we cried to the L-rd, the G-d of our fathers, and the L-rd heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8 And the L-rd brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders.”
I would like to explain the importance of these words. At this time in history most, if not all pagan faiths saw time as a repeating cycle of nature. They saw this cycle as being controlled by different gods who had to be pacified by a series of sacrifices. These sacrifices would pacify their gods temporarily and would give them crops and children for that year. But the sacrifices had to continue since each year stood on its own.
Judaism introduced a whole new concept, a historical concept not previously seen before. Jews saw history as the key to the present, to purpose, to happiness. In scripture we read of a beginning in the first two chapters of Genesis where G-d created all from nothing by His word. After this the bible sets out the history of G-d’s people and the grafting in of non-Jews based on their faith in Messiah. The story ends with the last few chapters of Revelations that set out the new heaven and the new earth.
Based on this view, because of our faith in Messiah, we see a history that belongs to us all. In Deut. 32:7 we read, “Remember the days of old, consider the generations long past; Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders and they will explain to you.” This changes history from what occurred to something that is ours as well. It changes history to memories. For us it should show us that Yeshua did not just appear in a vacuum but He came as the one promised by the Father. We have become a part of this road of memories. Our story began long before our birth. G-d had and still has a plan for each of us. It is a plan that was in His heart from the beginning. In our scripture today we see His hand in the life of these people from their beginning.
In Deut. 27:2-3 we read where Moshe instructed Joshua to erect an altar after they crossed the Jordan River. This altar was something that would remind them of who they were and who their G-d was. It would also remind them of what He had done for them and what he would do for them. The altar, until 40 years ago, could still be seen on top of Mt. Ebal, near the city of Nablus in Israel. This altar stood for over 2,600 years as a witness to the truth of what we read each day in scripture.
All this brings me to the question of the week. When you consider your own journey of faith, when did it begin? Were there lows and highs that stand out in your journey? I would think most of us would say our journey began when we came to faith in Messiah. For me that would be when I was twelve years old. During the next sixty-six years there were highs and lows in my spiritual walk. However, recently I have begun to think a bit differently about the beginning of my journey. I mentioned it recently in one of our meetings. Now I realize my walk of faith began when Yeshua died on the cross in Jerusalem and was resurrected on the third day. That is when the Father ushered in a way for all of us to become one of His children.
So, here in our portion Moshe set out the blessings for the first fruits and went over the history of the Jewish people. Their story began when G-d called Avraham. It was something for them to remember. It was something to connect the people with their story as the Jewish people. Each of our stories actually began long ago in Jerusalem when our Messiah died and was resurrected. We became part of that story, that remembrance.
Many of us grew up basically studying the Messianic scriptures and looking at the Hebrew scriptures as no longer relevant to Christians. Even this week the present Pope implied in one of his messages that the Torah is now obsolete. That is far from the truth.
We all have a faith story that began when we came to faith. That step of faith grafted us into a rich history, into the remembrance of all those who have gone before us. I pray we all can draw strength from the knowledge that we are part of a story that began with creation and will end in the new heaven and the new earth.
It is good to remember, to go back over what G-d has done in our lives. I appreciated reading some of your stories this week. Blessings to each of you. David