Ki Tavo (When You Come In) Deut. 26:1-29:8 HafTorah: Isaiah 60:1-22

1.Our Torah portion is called Ki Tavo or “When You Come”. Here we see Moses laying out the renewal of the covenant between G-d and Israel. He states the benefits of that covenant or the blessings. In these blessings every area of life is covered. What is required of Israel to enjoy these blessings? 

Deut. 28:45-47 and 28:62, obedience and gladness or joy.  Reverence, also a requirement, is found in Deut. 28:58. So G-d required these three things from the people in response to the covenant between them and G-d.

Paul speaks to this idea when he said, “Rejoice always … give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of G-d in Messiah Yeshua for you” (1 Thess. 5:16,18, ESV) On multiple occasions during the forty years that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, the Torah records that they complained: about food, about water, about leadership. G-d was very displeased and disciplined the people sharply. Why should we not expect discipline today when we grumble and complain about various issues in our lives? That is not to say, of course, that we should not pray about the needs of others and ourselves; after all, Paul tells us, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to G-d” (Philippians 4;6, ESV).

Perhaps that is the key attitude that we need: being thankful. Paul spoke to that too: “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the L-rd Yeshua, giving thanks to G-d the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17, ESV). The Psalmist makes no bones about where he stands – “I give thanks to You, O L-rd my G-d, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Your Name forever” (Psalm 86:12, ESV) – and neither should we. Let us not fall under discipline for ungratefulness when we have received so much. 

2.We know, as non-Jews, we are grafted in to Israel so these same things are required of us as part of G-d’s people. Can you find verses in the Messianic Scripture that explains how we too have the same obligations? 

Read in Romans 16:26 (obedience) Luke 2:10, Romans 15:13 and Acts 20:24 (joy) Hebrews 12:28(reverence). This is our part in this covenant transaction between G-d and us.

3.Look at the statement made by each person as they brought their offering. It is found in Deut. 26:5-10. I want us now to look especially at verse 5. The words translated in English are, “My father was a Syrian about to perish.” If you look at scripture who do you think this verse might be talking about?

Commentators give us several possibilities, such as Laban, Jacob’s father in law, Terach, father of Avraham or Jacob himself. The word translated as perish could also mean destitute, lost or perish. Let me give you my thoughts. First, I think the person is Jacob. I believe since the verses continue about him going down into Egypt, small in number and becoming mighty would fit his description. When Jacob left the Land to go to Aram, the home of Laban, how did he leave? He left with only the clothes on his back. There he was, enslaved and abused by Laban but he never lost his faith and returned home blessed by the L-rd.

4.In this Torah portion it says they were to write the Torah on white washed stones. What was the purpose of this? Everyone who passed by would know who they were and whom they served. If their actions did not match what was written it would be well known. The same is true with us. People watch us and know if our actions match our faith. 

5.Moses tells them in verse 26:17 how to maintain their spiritual connections with the Father, how to continue on their path. “That you walk in His way.” What does it mean to, “walk in His ways?” I believe that to walk in the ways of G-d means that we are to do what we see Him doing. In John 8:28-29 and 14:9 we see Yeshua saying the same thing. He did what His Father did. So back to the question, how do we imitate G-d? First we can look at scripture and see what we can find on what G-d does.

In Gen. 3:21 G-d clothes the naked. He made clothes for Adam and Eve. 

In Gen. 18:1 G-d visited the sick when He came to Avraham after His circumcision. So we should visit the sick. 

In Genesis 25:11 G-d comforted Isaac after his father’s death. So too we should comfort those who mourn. 

In Deut. 34:6 G-d buried Moses so we also should bury the dead.

In the Messianic Scripture we see Yeshua doing these things of G-d. 

So are we to be imitators of the Father. It is really what discipleship is all about. It is our first fruits offerings that we bring to the Father. Discipleship in itself is not the end product. Discipleship should lead us to know G-d more and more. In all that we do, knowing the Father more should be our goal. We can say these things I have done for you. I am holy because you are holy.

The coming appointed times give us a focused time to look at our life and how G-d would have us to live each day, being an imitator of Him. Israel’s journey was not finished when they got out of Egypt or even when they received the Torah or when they entered the Land, cultivated it and brought their first fruits to G-d. 

Israel’s journey will end when Isaiah 60 becomes a reality. Remember like Israel our spiritual journey is not complete at our salvation experience but is a life long journey that requires us to internalize the truths of G-d, and then that truth is manifested in our spiritual fruits as we become more like Him. Like Israel we have a choice. As G-d shows us truth in our walk with Him, we can either look at it and go our way never changing or we can take that truth, apply it to our lives, cultivate it, and internalize it until it brings fruit in our lives and our lives are changed forever.

6.If acquiring the Commandments and entering the Land was the beginning of Israel’s story I think the Haftorah, Isaiah 60:1-22 describes the end of their story. Can you summarize what this will be in your own words?

Look in Isaiah 60:1-22. The first verse is “Arise, shine for your Light has come. The glory of the L-rd has risen upon you.” Isaiah is looking ahead to the dawn of the Messianic age. Jerusalem has endured centuries of exile and conflict but now dawns a new day. The same light that was at the beginning of creation is rising from the east to shine of Jerusalem. This light will draw nations and kings to it. (Isaiah 60:3) Jerusalem will be a spiritual lamp, the spiritual center of the world. Messiah will be her Light. (Isaiah 49:6) Nations will come to her to walk in this Light and worship the L-rd. The wealth of the nations will flow into her. (Isaiah 60:5) It will eclipse any time in Jerusalem’s history. The nations that follow G-d will bring sacrifices to the Temple (Isaiah 56:6-7). There will be no wall between Jews and the nations that follow G-d. (Eph. 2:14-15)

Isaiah compares the returning exiles to coming on clouds or birds returning to their nests. (Isaiah 60:8Isaiah 49:22 says some will come on the shoulders and in the bosoms of the nations. Isaiah 60:10 says those who have toppled the walls of Jerusalem will now rebuild them and their kings minister to you.

There will be no need for the sun and moon any longer. Messiah will be the light. So we have here the beginning and the end of the story. We are all faced with the same questions. Where will we be when the Light breaks? Will we recognize that Light or will we be counted among those who are in darkness? (Isaiah 60:2)

7.Deut. 26:1 talks about entering, possessing and dwelling. I want your thoughts on how this applies to each of us on a spiritual level. 

First entering: how do we enter the Promised Land spiritually? I think it comes when we step into faith in the Messiah. We enter into that covenant relationship with Him. He enters us through His spirit. So as Israel entered the Land, so we too enter the Land spiritually.

Possessing: How do we possess the spiritual land? By growing in the L-rd, by maturing in our faith, by going deeper and deeper into Him. By that we possess the Land as our inheritance and He possesses us.

Dwelling: What does it mean to dwell? We come to the place of being in His rest. We can meet each day and each challenge knowing the security of that dwelling, no matter what comes.

I have an ending thought for you to ponder this week: Who are you? Who is G-d and why are you here?

Moses had been brought up by an Egyptian princess, the daughter of Pharaoh. He looked and spoke like an Egyptian. He then married Zipporah, one of Jethro’s daughters, and spent decades as a Midianite shepherd. At eighty he asked G-d who am I? (Exodus 3:11-14) Am I an Egyptian, a Midianite or a Jew? At eighty he started leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. He was eighty years old before he began to understand why He had been put on this earth.

By upbringing he was an Egyptian, by experience he was a Midianite. Yet what proved decisive was his ancestry. He was a descendant of Abraham. 

When he asked G-d his second question, “What do I tell the Israelites of who are you?” (Exodus 3:13-15) G-d first told him, “I will be what I will be.” But then he gave him a second answer: Say to the Israelites, ‘The L-rd, the G-d of your fathers—the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac and the G-d of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, the name you shall call Me from generation to generation.

I would like you to think about these three questions this week: Who am I? Who is G-d? Why am I here?