Ekev (On the heel of/because)

Torah: Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 Haftarah: Isaiah 49:14-51:3 Brit Chadasha: II John 4-11

As we begin this week we see Moshe encouraging Yisrael to obey and keep the instructions/guidelines of YHVH.  The theme of his encouragement or I should say the benefit would be blessings and the Creator would be in control and basically Israel would have nothing to fear.

This looks all good on a piece of paper and sounds wonderful to the ear of the listener but it’s easier said than done.  The biggest stumbling block for Israel was rebellion.  The biggest stumbling block for you and me today; you guessed it rebellion = stiff necked.  I know we have it in our hearts to serve the Creator and not just disobey to disobey.  It started out in the garden but what I would like to key in on is where it started out for Israel.  If we remember it wasn’t but just a few portions back where they said to Moshe ALL that YHVH says WE WILL DO.

And all the people answered together, and said, All that YHVH has spoken we will do.  And Moshe returned the words of the people unto the YHVH.  Exodus 19:8

Right there was where they just nailed themselves by their word.

You know many times we focus in on doing all feasts, Shabbat, eating clean and so forth that sometimes we overlook the smaller things.  All of these things are very important and we should be focusing on them but I think we should try and focus on the smaller things as well.  The little things like how are we treating one another or how is our attitude?  Here is another one that many times we just kind of look over.  What about us keeping our word?  We’re all guilty of this one.  It is very easy to throw out some words and say yeah I’ll do that or do this and then when the time rolls around say ah yeah but…… (Insert whatever excuse).  I think many times we forget that we represent the Father here on earth not only in what we preach but what we do and when we do not go through with or fulfill our promises and responsibilities then we bring shame to the name of the Creator and misrepresent Him here in the earth.  In other words we break the commandment in Exodus 20:7 of bringing the Creator’s name to naught.  We are taking the character of the Eternal and making it useless as the Hebrew says in that verse.  Now I know that may seem harsh but it’s where the rubber meets the road.  I will say it again I know we all have been guilty of not keeping our word or going through with our promises especially those of you who have children you know what I am talking about but there is no excuse.  We could also say that we’re guilty of bringing the Creator’s name in vain and will probably be guilty some more times. My point is that we should be guarding these areas of our lives so that we come to a place where we no longer are stumbling in these areas.  I referred to these things as little things or areas in our lives but it’s been the little things in my life that have brought forth some of the biggest problems whether it’s in the natural or spiritual.  Our goal should be that we are living in such a way that brings glory to our Father and Creator.  So when we fall down and stumble, get up dust ourselves off and let’s get back on the path and continue walking and submitting on a daily basis to our Father.

I mentioned earlier that I believe we represent the Father here on earth.  Here is one reason as to why I say that and it’s found in this week’s portion.

And now, Yisra’ĕl, what is YHVH your Elohim asking of you, but to fear YHVH your Elohim, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve YHVH your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being, Deuteronomy 10:12

Does that verse ring a bell?  It should because it is the anthem of our faith.

Hear, O Yisra’ĕl: YHVH our Elohim, is one!  Deuteronomy 6:4

After reading this week’s portion, I was reminded about a commentary that pointed out that in a Torah scroll the last letter of the first word, shema, in that passage is written larger than the rest of the letters as well as the last letter of the last word, echad.  Shema for those who aren’t familiar with this word means to hear, but it isn’t just hearing only its hearing and doing what was said.  The last Hebrew letter of the word shema is an ayin which in its pictographic form is an eye meaning to see.  Isn’t it interesting that shema means to hear and obey but also has that ayin there which I believe points us to seeing also.  Not just ok you said it so I must obey it but obedience that is seen not only by you and me but seen by others as well.  The last letter of the last word in that Deut. 6:4 passage is a dalet which in its pictographic form is a door.  Bells should be going off by now because to think this is a coincidence would be stretching it a lot and plus we all know that coincidence isn’t a kosher word.  For those who may still be doubting about the whole coincidence thing; when you take those two letters, the ayin and dalet, and put em together it forms the word ed.  Ed in Hebrew means witness or testimony but in the pictographic language it means to see the door and we should remember that Y’shua said that he was the door.

Y’shua therefore said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  John 10:7

Folks, others should see what you and I have “shemaed” and not just hear it from us in words.  The world is full of sermons and speeches and so forth.  Its action that folks want to see and when you and I give a tangible testimony through our obedience in fulfilling Deut. 6:4; I believe we are allowing folks around us to see the doorway to the Father.  What kind of ‘doorway’ are the folks seeing around us?

Guard to do every command which I command you today that you might live, and shall increase, and go in, and shall possess the land of which YHVH swore to your fathers. Deuteronomy 8:1

I just want to mention something about this verse very quickly because I hear folks say all the time that you can’t keep all the commandments so there is no need to do them.  I’m sure this flies in the face of the Creator because in other places besides the reference above it is clear that the Father asks his children to obey all the commandments.  I can’t seem to wrap my brain around a loving Father like the Creator scheming up a plan i.e. commandments and then asking His children to do that plan but all along He knew he was asking them something that they couldn’t accomplish or do.  I just can’t see it guys.  I have rules in my house and I expect those rules to be obeyed and my rules aren’t burdensome to where my kids can’t fulfill those rules.  We need to think logically and use common sense in some of this scripture stuff or at least that is how I personally look at it.

“Be on guard, lest you forget YHVH your Elohim by not guarding His commands, and His right-rulings, and His laws which I command you today, lest you eat and shall be satisfied, and build lovely houses and shall dwell in them, and your herds and your flocks increase, and your silver and your gold are increased, and all that you have is increased, that your heart then becomes lifted up, and you forget YHVH your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, from the house of bondage, who led you through that great and awesome wilderness – fiery serpents and scorpions and thirst – where there was no water, who brought water for you out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, in order to humble you and to try you, to do you good in the end, you then shall say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand have made for me this wealth!’ “But you shall remember YHVH your Elohim; for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, in order to establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is today.  Deuteronomy 8:11-18

Now this passage on a face level value is dealing with pride in doing things within our own strength and taking the credit for it and not giving credit where credit is due.  I want to point out something that I have been seeing a lot of here lately but this has I guess always been there.  After reading this thing about wealth and looking at the meaning of that word.  I saw that this word could mean strength as well as a few more things similar to that.  Then the thought hit me that could we possibly apply knowledge in there for wealth as well?  Don’t we have a saying along the lines of ‘wealth of knowledge’?  Maybe I’m stretching it a bit but the reason why I had that thought was what I’ve been seeing posted in some blogs, forums, and social networks here lately.  Before I say what I am going to say I have to say I’ve been guilty of this as well like probably most of us so nobody is on a high horse and it is my prayer not to come across that way.  How many of us came into this movement and were on fire and gobbled up every bit of information that we could and then once we had a year or two or four or five under our belts we became Torah terrorists and felt like we were the latest John the Baptist’s and that the Father had commissioned us to go deal with all our disobedient brothers/sisters.  Again I might be stretching it here a bit but I have been guilty of taking things of the Father and using them in my own strength to promote my knowledge and my up rightness, if that is a word, while condemning everyone else who might not have the same understanding or be at the same place as me.  What was sobering was one day I had a thought hey Joel weren’t you doing and saying the same things that this person you are debating with said and now you are thinking this guy is an idiot and so ignorant.  I’m just being honest guys and most of us have probably felt the same way at times.  I realized that it was only by the grace of the Creator that I had received revelation/truth and it had nothing to do with the amount of knowledge that I had and was portraying to the people in whom I was debating with.  This is what I am seeing in these blogs, forums and social networks.  Folks who have truth and have been doing this for a couple of weeks (sarcasm) now it’s their job to call everyone else out.  I read some of these little one liner statements by folks and think man that is spot on like a big filet minion but you threw up all over it and now want me to eat it.  You might be laughing but if that is the way I, a Hebrew Roots believer saw it how do you think our disobedient brothers and friends look at statements and comments like that.  My point is we need to remember where we were at and came from and never forget that and not take the information/knowledge that we have gained and start gallivanting all around Facebook or whatever blog condemning everyone and making them feel stupid or offending them by our rude attitudes and comments.  I’m tired of it and it is making me sick and sad all at the same time.  Guys we must remember that we too at one time were blind and it was only the Father and His grace that removed those blinders from us and enabled us to see.  So next time we want to take our knowledge and use it against someone as if we are the Ruach or Torah terrorists we need to think twice and ask ourselves the question if I was on the receiving end of what I just said or how I just acted towards someone how would that have made me feel?

Also in this portion we see Moshe bringing back to the memory of the Yisraelites things that have taken place over their journey.  Sometimes it seems that the Torah is repetitive but it we take a closer look we will see as to why.  In life we go through trials and tests and it’s not like grade school where we took a test and if we failed it then it was on to the next test and maybe we will do better next time.  In the tests that YHVH sends our way it’s different.  It is pass/fail.  If we pass then great it’s on to the next one but if we fail we have to take the test all over again.  So my point is if YHVH keeps repeating something or is having to bring back to the memory of the Yisraelites over and over; I think it is safe to say that it is because they weren’t listening and obeying.

Rebellion causes us not to listen or see what the Father is doing or trying to do in our lives.  It is so much better to submit to the Father in the beginning instead of having to walk all the way around the mountain and find out that we didn’t pass the test and have to take off again around the same mountain.  The Creator isn’t really on a time schedule like you and me.  He will sit there and allow us to continue in our rebellion and we get back around the mountain again and He says ok you still haven’t learned so off you go again.

If there is a trial in our life right now that seems to have been taking place over and over again why not ask the Father if we are missing something?  I do understand that many times our calling has a big price tag associated with it and we go through things in order to prepare us for the calling but many times in my life when I just kept hitting a brick wall it wasn’t until I stopped and sat down to take a breather and said ok Father what is going on.  Is there something here that my hard head isn’t getting or is there rebellion in my life causing me to miss out on what You are trying to show and teach me?  Every time I did this He said ok finally you’ve taken the cotton out of your ears and can see and hear what I have been trying to tell you all this time now.  We are in preparation for the wilderness and the second exodus that seems as if it’s right around the corner.  Why not learn from the mistakes of our forefathers?  Why not dissect and look at their rebellion that caused them to die off in the wilderness and not make it into the Promised Land?  We can learn so much and who knows we might even see some of the same manifestations in our lives.  It’s my prayer that we all would no longer be a rebellious people but a people who fully obeyed our Father and bring glory and honor to His name.