Ki Tavo
For the week of September 8, 2012 / 21 Elul 5772
Torah: Devarim / Deuteronomy 26:1 - 29:8
Haftarah: Isaiah 60:1-22


Stop and Listen

Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, "Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the Lord your God." (Devarim /Deuteronomy 27:9; ESV)

One of the most basic principles of biblical spirituality is that instead of living life in such a way as to get right with God, we are called to live life in response to being right with God. The whole Bible, beginning with the Torah, the five books of Moses, clearly demonstrates that no one can ever achieve acceptance with God based on the quality of their life. Far from it! Anyone who is honest with themselves is keenly aware that our human frailty and failures demonstrate our lack of moral excellence and personal faithfulness to God or to anyone else for that matter.

The Bible pictures our spiritual state like that of Israel in oppressive bondage in Egypt. Unable to set themselves free, God sent Moses to rescue them - not that Moses was personally able to help them, but rather God used him to display his power through spectacular signs and wonders. By freeing Israel from slavery, God made them to be his very own people. It was as his people they were called to live godly lives.

Yet such is our nature that we are slow to understand the depths of relationship God has established. So Moses says, "Be quiet and listen: today you have become the people of God." Not, "if you do the following, you will become the people of God." It's "you are the people of God, so do the following."

God knew the people would continue to fail spiritually and morally, that's why he provided the sacrificial system, while also preparing the nation for the coming of the Messiah. God has always provided whatever has been necessary to not only establish right relationship with him, but also maintain it. Both of those must be done in the way God intended. True Torah spirituality demands personal humility and genuine dependence upon God, all the while accepting that right relationship with him can only be made real through his provision of forgiveness and acceptance, which at one time was through the sacrificial system; then eventually through the sacrifice of the Messiah (see Isaiah 53).

As in Moses' day, we who have been rescued by God through Yeshua the Messiah need to realize that we have become God's people because of what he has done for us. We cannot earn God's acceptance; we can only receive it by relying on Yeshua.

If that is the case then why do so many people struggle over their sense of belonging to God? It is possible that they are not really relying on Yeshua, but are only pretending. On the other hand, there does seem to be those who have legitimate faith in him, yet wonder if they are really God's child. It is pretty clear to me that the biggest reason for insecurity with regard to our relationship to God is that we are not listening to what he is saying to us. We focus on voices that contradict, not reinforce God's word.

It's time to heed Moses' words: "Be quiet and hear; this day you have become the people of the Lord your God."

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