Torah Portion: Ki Tavo (When You Come) D’Varim, Deut. 26:1-29:8
HafTorah: Israel 60:1-22
This Torah section covers the blessings and curses that await the people depending on how they relate to the Father in the years ahead. I purpose that we can somewhat apply this to ourselves as well. What does G-d require of us in our walk with Him? In my first question this week I quoted Deut. 28:47. I asked you to tell me what this means to us and how do we acquire this joy in our lives. I got some very good answers to this and I appreciate them. Is joy or gloom a thermometer of our general situation in life? Does it measure our emotional feeling at any given time? What does scripture have to say? Read James 1:2. The real question comes in how we see G-d in the world around us. Do we see everything around us as an opportunity to express our joy for what He has done in our lives? Now in the good things this is usually no problem. But in those things that come to us that are difficult it is more difficult. Even in the good times we can get caught up in what we’ve done or we think we have to protect what we have by worrying or working harder and harder. In fact this verse says exactly that. They did not serve Him with joy when they had everything.
As I sit here today the piano music I am listening to is, “It is Well with My Soul.” The man that penned these lyrics lost his wife and children in a shipwreck and could still say these words. I think this is the point, to see G-d in everything and know that He has us in His hands and it is okay. We can serve Him with joy. He loves us and is always there for us. Our role is to come to the place where no matter what, we will serve Him with joy. I don’t mean that sadness does not come to us but under that is the unshakeable, spiritual wisdom that it is well with our soul. Everything comes from G-d. He is good and orders our lives for good not harm, that we may always be moving closer to Him.
Next, I want us to look at what is known as Bikkurim in Torah. It is the bringing of the first fruits offering in Deut. 26:1-11. These verses speak of bringing the first fruits of your harvest before even you have taken any for yourself. This offering is accompanied by joy, which ties in to our earlier conversation. Now this offering had to be the highest quality, your best. No second best. The person was saying in effect, “This is the focus of who I am, to bring the best of what I have to you Father.” It was saying the purpose of all I have and do is to be able to bring to you L-rd the best of everything I am and have. I think a further lesson of this service is to show us to always keep our priorities right. Whatever we do, whoever we are should be looked at as an offering of our best to the Father. If we have a wife or husband, or children they should never be short-changed. But should be built up and nurtured by us so they will be encouraged in their spiritual life. We can come to the Father and say, “I have given my best so my husband, wife, children, everything would be given to you as my best.” This takes our time and effort, not our left over minutes but our best – full attention. Our jobs should never come before G-d or our family. Bikkurim teaches us G-d deserves only our best, not what we have left over at the end of a long day. We should never allow our lives to become so entangled with minutia that we forget the purpose for which we were created – to serve Him with joy in everything.