Nizzavim and Va-Yelekh
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch (Isaiah 62:1).
Some weeks ago I mentioned the difficulty I have in understanding the relationship between what God does and what we do. While God is in control of the universe, life is neither mechanical nor predictable, nor are we robots. While God has called us to participate with him in his rule over his creation, many have opted out and live in opposition to God's will.
We may never get this figured out, but what is clear is that we need to do our part, whatever that may be.
This week's Haftarah calls us to be involved in one of God's purposes – the spiritual and physical restoration of Israel.
We read in many other places that God is determined to establish Israel and Jerusalem as places of righteousness and blessing. Clearly he will do it. It will happen, no doubt. Yet here we read that God is looking for those who will cry out to him to accomplish what he is determined to do.
This is an example of what the Messiah taught, when he said we should pray "Your kingdom come, your will be done."
We can get lost trying to solve the philosophical problems that arise from these concepts. What we need to do rather is to hear what God is calling us to do, and do it.
I believe that one of the things that God is seeking to do in our lives is draw us to himself. He designed the universe. He created us. Yet we have strayed from him and his purposes, and as a result have made a mess of our lives and of the creation. But now as he through Yeshua has turned us back to him, he is continuing a process whereby our hearts are being drawn more and more in synch with his.
And so here we read about God's heart's desire for Israel. One of the keys to the outworking of that is for his people to have the exact same heart. Something happens when our hearts join his. It is at that point, it seems, that things begin to change. We may think that God should just make things happen without our involvement, but he hasn't set things up that way.
God is crying out for Israel. Will we join him?
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