A life well lived
Torah Portion: Re’eh (See) D’Varim (Deut.) 11:26-16:17
Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Today we will look at several crucial topics. These topics should speak to all of us. I would like to start with the first verse of our Torah portion. Deut. 11:26 reads, “Behold (see) I set before you today a blessing and a curse.” Our portion then goes on to tell us the conditions for receiving the blessings and by contrast what the curses will be for not following G-d’s commandments.
We see this same idea in Deut. 30:19. “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you, life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…”
Let’s talk about these verses for a minute. Our portion begins with the word Re’eh, which is the Hebrew word for see. Of all our physical senses seeing is the first and most important word in this verse. Our physical sense of sight is the most powerful sense we use. Eye witness testimony is the most important testimony in a trial.
In Luke 2:30 Simon said, “For my eyes have seen your salvation.” Seeing is looked at as the most vital sense in our ability to grasp things in both the physical and spiritual world.
Next we read the word, “before,” or in front of you. It is a choice we cannot avoid. It is right in front of us. A choice must be made. We cannot say we didn’t know. Every day we are confronted with choices, blessing or curse. Which will we embrace? This choice is not a one time and done choice. No, we have encounters every day. However, as one of G-d’s children we do have the help of the Father in making our choices. We know one from the other.
G-d’s spirit will guide us if we allow Him. We must be committed to living by G-d’s word and not our own desires or wants. When we read verses like John 10:10 and Jeremiah 29:11 it is evident that G-d’s desire is for us to choose life not death. We are to live our life governed by the Spirit and G-d’s desire for us. Our fleshy desires will lead us to the curses. It is our choice, our decision. Evil is something to be overcome.
It should create in us a passion for the blessings. Our desire should be to replace evil with a life focused on G-d and His will for us. May we, each one, choose life every day.
Now I want to switch gears a bit and talk about exactly what the blessings and curses might be. How do we recognize which one we are seeing in our life? When we look at the history of the early believers, throughout the time of the Messiah, until our day are these choices of blessings and curses still valid? As believers, do we still see clearly what is a blessing and what is a curse?
How do we see the challenges of life such as sickness, financial crisis or any tragic event? Do these negative things have any connection to blessings or do we automatically categorize them as a curse? I have thought about this a lot this week. Did Peter and Paul and many others in scripture, see the hardships they went through as a blessing? To me this is a huge challenge for us. Can good ever come from seemingly terrible things that happen to us?
In Acts 7:54-59 we read of Stephen being stoned to death for his faith. How did Stephen and many others who died for their faith deal with these verses? Verses like I Peter 5:7 and Isaiah 41:10 give us a clue. Anxiety can cause us to look at life in a dark way. We are challenged to face the painful things in life with our eyes on our Creator. To me, the blessings come when we are focused on the greatness of G-d, always, in any circumstance, giving Him thanks for who He is and His love for us. A true test of whether we are receiving a blessing or a curse is to check our relationship with the Father. Are we following Him, hearing His voice? If our measure of a blessed life is having everything we ever wanted given to us we will live a life of disappointment.
What a testimony we have when we live our life expressing gratitude to G-d for who He is and what He has done for us. That is the true blessing. There is no promise for an easy life just because we are believers. In II Timothy chapter 1, as Saul sat in prison, he was praising G-d for who He was instead of blaming G-d for his circumstances. He was focused on what G-d was doing. We are each a child of the King. In Col. 3:1-8 Shaul gives us a good feel of what we should be thankful for in our life.
Let our measure of blessings be our relationship with the Father and not according to the standards of the world. 1I believe we can be the light of G-d in a dark time. We can live a blessed life measured by the standard of our Heavenly Father. My prayer for us all is the blessings of G-d. A life well lived being our goal each day.