Be-har / Be-hukkotai
Leviticus / Va-Yikra 25:1 - 27:34
For the week May 23, 1998
27 Iyar 5758
It Doesn't Depend on Us
If you follow my decrees and are careful
The business section of any bookstore is filled with book after book filled with the so-called greatest secrets to success. If only we would follow their prescriptions, we would experience great wealth: Do it better! - Try harder - Keep at it! - Say it smoother!
I would not say that there is no good, practical advice in these books at all. I appreciate the insight of some of these experts. It is good to learn from the successes and mistakes of those who have gone before us.
But there is a general misconception that underlies the teaching in much of this literature. It is a widely held view that financial prosperity is based upon our intelligence and hard work. We think that if only we could learn the right methods, and stick to them, monetary rewards would eventually follow.
This is not the Torah's view. The Torah teaches that it is obedience to God that results in provision and blessing. It is dependence upon God and not ourselves that results in the meeting of our needs. Many fail to accept that we are dependant on forces outside our control. The people of ancient Israel understood that no matter what they did, however hard they worked, if it didnt rain, and if the pests didnt stay away, they were in trouble. They knew that they couldn't make it happen.
In our case, our scientific world view has trapped us into thinking that it does all depend on us. But no matter how advanced we get, we still cannot fully control nature and the outcome of our labors. We cannot make seeds grow. We cannot stop disasters from occurring, let alone the onslaught of disease . We cannot ensure political stability.
The Torah tells us that it is our relationship with the Creator that counts more than anything. If we follow him, we will know his blessing and provision in our lives.
One of the greatest things that Yeshua the Messiah did for us was to show us that this is really true. He shared with us that we can really have a close personal relationship with God. Here's his perspective:
And so we do not have to live as if we are alone in the universe. Nor do we have to depend on ourselves to get by in this life. God will provide. We can depend on him.