Torah Portion: Shoftim (Judges) Deut. 16:18-21:9
HafTorah: Isaiah 51:12-52:12
Tonight I want to look at a couple of things from this week’s Torah portion. These will cover the two questions I sent out this week. I would like us to spend a few minutes looking at Deut. 20:19. In my translation it reads, “for the tree of the field is man’s food.” However in Hebrew it reads, “Man is a tree of the field.” So, what are we to make of this? How are we trees of the field? In Psalms 1:3 David compares a righteous man to a tree with fruit and leaves that don’t wither. Why? Because it is connected to its life source – water. How do we not wither and turn brown? We do it by staying connected to our life source – the living G-d who through Yeshua nourishes us daily. And as this tree bears fruit so must we. (John 15:2,6) This can only happen as we stay connected to our source. In fact the Torah says non- fruit bearing trees are to be cut down and used to lay siege to a city. In these verses of John Yeshua says the same things. So we are to be trees who reproduce good fruit, our leaves are to stay green, and our roots should be strong and deep. All of these hearken back to this verse that we looked at tonight.
Now to the first question, does Yeshua qualify as a king? Deut. 17:15-20 set out the qualifications for a king. First he must be one of them, not a foreigner. Matt. 1 settles this issue about Yeshua. Second, he must not be greedy, accumulating things for himself. Yeshua fulfills this completely. When He died on the cross He only had the clothes on His back. Third, It says in Deut. 17:18 he must write for himself a copy of the Torah. Not only write it but keep it completely. Let us take a minute on this one. How does Yeshua fulfill the writing of the Torah? II Corinthians 3:3 states a much. We are the copy that Yeshua has written. He was blameless under the Torah. So to state that Yeshua was not Torah observant would disqualify him from being King of the Jews.
In fact this brings me to another point. The name of this portion is “Judges.” The commandment here is to appoint judges over each town and also in Jerusalem. This would be the highest court in the land, known in the day of the Messiah as the Sanhedrin. The leader of the court was called the “prince.” In the time to come who will hold this post? Yeshua. Isaiah 11:3-4 and Micah 4:3 both speak of the Messiah filling this role. In John 3:17 it says Yeshua came not to judge but to save. However we see in Acts 10:42 that in fact Messiah will judge in the time to come. Romans 2:16 and II Cor. 5:10 speaks of the role of Messiah as judge.
Also it might shed some light on Matt. 5:25-26 where Yeshua tells us to settle out of court before being hauled before the judge. How are we to settle out of court? We settle by putting our faith in Messiah, who forgives us and settles our debt. (John 3:18)
Deut. 18:18 states Yeshua is a prophet like Moses. In Acts 3:22 Peter says the same about Yeshua. In Acts 7:37 Stephen makes the same point. So here we see Yeshua fulfilling all of the office of Kings, judge, prophet and of course Priest which we have talked about many times. These offices that the Torah lays out all come with rules and qualifications which Messiah completely fulfills. As we come to the holidays keep these all in mind as you hear the shofar blown. Don’t be taken before the Judge and King guilty as charged but come into His presence forgiven and clean.