Torah Portion: Re’eh (Behold, See) Deut. 11:26-16:17

HafTorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5


I would like to start by looking at the Torah section first. I would like to look at it in what it says about worship. In Hebrew the word for worship and work has the same root. What could they have in common? Worship is not something that we sit back and let someone do for us. We must be active participants. It requires effort from us and it must be acceptable.


In the first verses Deut. 12:1-13:19 we see first the warnings against idolatry. So foremost on G-d’s mind here was that He be given His rightful place in the lives of His holy people.  Deut. 12:2-3 covers specific places where idol worship occurs and what to do about it. The issue here was that G-d’s people could not follow the example of the world. In fact, they were to completely destroy any vestige of idol worship from their land. They were shown in verse 5 the only place where they could worship G-d. It was the place of His choosing. What did this accomplish in the lives of the people. It unified them. True worship is unifying.  Also, we cannot demand G-d show up where and when we want Him to.  G-d appears where He chooses and when He chooses. Canaanites could worship their gods under a tree or on a hill but not Israel. This central place unified the people. What unifies us today in our worship? Our faith in the Messiah unifies us. Each of us carries with us the Holy Spirit. In I Cor. 6:19 we are taught that our body is the temple of G-d because we have been bought with a price. So, really it is as if the temple and G-d’s presence, that were in Jerusalem, have been infused into each of us and thus unifies us as the temple did Israel when it stood in Jerusalem. So even though we are scattered around the world we are unified by the Spirit.


Worship must be sacrificial. We are reminded here that sacrifices were to be brought. From past studies what was one of the things common to most sacrifices? Joy. Verse 12 in chapter 12 says that you should rejoice before the L-rd. Remember the picture painted by the Shalom offering –  a big meal. Everybody sat around with the priest and ate and rejoiced before G-d. So our lives must be that living sacrifice that the New Testament talks about and it must be characterized by joy. Our worship must be joyful and rejoicing everyday.


As stated in Deut. 13:2-6 our worship also must be guarded. We must guard against worshipping anything else but G-d. And there are things that will take us away from true worship unless we are on guard. Are miracles and signs enough to verify or “kosher” someone who claims to be a prophet? Is success or wealth enough to “kosher” a prophet or anyone who comes into our worship or to which we might go? What is the determining factor? This person and we must walk after G-d. They must, and we must fear G-d. What does it mean to fear G-d? We also must not stray from G-d’s word. If they teach something that goes against what G-d word says we must not be deceived. Easy? No, but we must always be on guard. The New Testament, in Matthew 24:24 says that even the elect will be deceived. So here the Torah gives us guidelines to guard our worship. Anything that does not move us toward G-d we must avoid.


Tithing is another part of worship. In Deut. 14:22-29 we see what is known as the 2nd tithe. In Numbers 18:21 we read about the first tithe. What is the purpose of this tithe? We find, in Deut. 14:23, the word “fear” the L-rd. So how does this tithe teach us to fear G-d? It teaches us to understand that what we have did not come from the power of our own hands. But the real provider is G-d and so here it is as if we are giving our King this portion back.


Then in Deut. 14:8-29 we come to another tithe known sometimes as the poor man’s tithe. Here the people set aside a tithe every three years. This tithe went to help those who needed help such as widows, orphans, strangers and Levites. What do we learn from these tithes? We are blessed as we bless others.


So these are things included in worship and for us worship is an on going everyday thing. It is not confined to one day or a few hours one day. Rather it must be part of our life each day.


Where do we see a New Testament reference to the verses of Isaiah 54:11-12? G-d promises to rebuild Jerusalem with precious stones.  It is found in Revelation 21:19-20.  Also, where in the New Testament can we find a verse referring to Isaiah 54:13? It is John 6:45.