Torah Portion: Re’eh (Behold) Deut. 11:26-16:17
HafTorah: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
John 7:37-52; I John 4:1-6
Tonight I want us to start by looking at the first question I sent out this week. In Deut. 11:29 we read where Moses tells the people, when they enter the land half of the people are to go to Mt. Gerizim and recite the blessings of G-d. The other half would go to Mt. Ebal and recite the curses found in the Torah for obedience to G-d. Later in history Mt. Gerizim was looked at by the Samaritan sect as G-d’s holy mountain and their temple there as the place to worship. In the time of Yeshua their temple was in ruins but sacrifices were still brought there. The Jewish people held them to be heretics and made a point of not having any contact with them. Which brings us to my question. Where do we see this physical setting in the New Testament and whom did Yeshua meet there? Of course we all know her as the Samaritan woman at the well. She, perceiving that Yeshua was a Jewish prophet, presented Him with a question about the main point of conflict between Jews and Samaritans on where they should worship. (John 4:20) In His answer Yeshua firmly comes down on the side of Israel (John 4:22) but goes on to say the time is coming when people will also not be able to pray in Jerusalem. John 4:21 and John 4:23.
This leads up to Deut. 12:5 where Moses tells the people that G-d will choose a place for His name to reside. That place was the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. (I Kings 9:3) In response to Solomon’s prayer G-d says that His name will be there forever as well as His eyes and heart will be there perpetually. Isaiah 56:7 builds on this by saying G-d’s house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. Yeshua takes up this connection with G-d’s House in John 14:2 where He invites all of His followers to join Him in G-d’s House as family members. There we will sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all Israel.
Deut 13:2-5 talks about a problem that I expect we all face at sometime, false prophets, evil people who seem to prosper. Why does G-d allow it? Torah says G-d is testing us to know whether we really love Him. However since He is G-d doesn’t He already know. He knows everything about us. Actually the test isn’t so much about G-d knowing us but about us know ourselves and knowing G-d. It is to build the gift of a deep intimate relationship and knowledge of G-d.
Before we get to the last question I asked I want us to look at one more thing covered in this Torah section. How are we to relate to and deal with the poor around us? Deut. 15:1 tells them to forgive the debts owed after each 7 year cycle. Yeshua takes this and broadens it to include sins. We are told in Matt. 6:12 to forgive our debtors as G-d has forgiven us. So from the Torah’s teaching about debts we learn about our own debt to G-d, forgiven through Yeshua. This thought carries through to Deut. 15:7 telling us how to relate to the poor. Again we see Yeshua carrying this forward into the New Testament in Matt. 5:42. So to be a follower of Yeshua we are taught that we are to live a life of giving not of hoarding and turning away from the poor. For followers of Him it is not an option, it is something we are called to do. In Luke 18:22 we see another example of this Torah and New Testament principle. In Deut. 15:11 this thought is carried on. It is interesting that Yeshua quotes this verse in John 12:8. He reminded Judas and us that those things freely given to G-d are never wasted. What did His disciples give to follow Him? Everything.
Now, finally to the last question I sent out yesterday. What can we learn from manna and meat? In the dessert the people were continually in G-d’s presence, fire by night, cloud in the day and the Tabernacle in their midst. What sustained them? Where did they get their food? It was the bread of heaven – manna. 600,000 families were taken care of by G-d. What happened after they crossed the Jordan? The manna ceased. G-d’s purpose for them and for us is to live in the world and bring Him into it. So we have those special close times with the Father such as Sabbath, prayer, and worship. Then we go back into the world but we take the Presence with us. New Testament says we are in the world but not of the world. Meat can be seen as a symbol of that world, the material world. Our task is to make our material world a place for the Divine Presence to reside. May your week be that as each of you go out into your own world.