Aharei Mot and Kedoshim
For the week of April 24, 1999 / 8 Iyyar 5759
Torah: Vayikra / Leviticus 16:1-20:27
Haftarah: Amos 9:7-15
We Need to Hear God's Promises
In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be (Amos 9:11).
Again we have before us God's promise to restore the nation of Israel. Like so many of these promises, it is given alongside threats of judgement, "All the sinners among my people will die by the sword" (Amos 9:10). This promise includes spiritual aspects, "In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be" (Amos 9:11), and physical ones, "I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them" (Amos 9:15).
This theme of the restoration of Israel occurs over and over again in the Scriptures. Do you find this subject redundant? Do you tire of it? Why do you think it occurs as often as it does?
First, Israel needs it. Life as God's chosen nation has been tough. Israel was singled out from among the all nations to prove to the world its need of God. No matter what nation God would have chosen, the result would have been the same. No one can measure up to God's standards.
The good news is that even though we had to painfully discover our inadequacies, God promised to come through for us. Though we failed, he has promised to do what it takes so that we would come to know him in the way he intended.
Because of the intensity of Israel's struggle, we need to hear his promises over and over again.
We also need to hear these promises so much, because there are those who contradict them. Throughout the past two thousand years many have taught that God has given up on Israel. But it does not take too much honest reading of the Bible to know that God thinks otherwise. God's promises to Israel are not some hidden, cryptic messages requiring great scholarship, special revelatory knowledge, or the skills of a detective to find. On the contrary, they are clearly spoken in a wide variety of contexts. To deny God's commitment to the people of Israel is to question the Bible itself.
Because of those who would say otherwise, we need to hear his promises over and over again.
Finally, God speaks these things to this extent, because we all need to comprehend his character. God is faithful and true. When he enters into covenant, he keeps his part. God's love and commitment to Israel is not dependent upon the nation's performance. It is based on God Himself. When we understand that God is the one who establishes relationship with us, then we can rest in the security of his love.
If we think that it is our spirituality that is the glue in our relationship with God, then none of us has a chance. But when we realize that we are his people because of what he has done, then we know that he will see us through till the end.
Because of our great need of him, we need to hear his promises over and over again.
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