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Weekly D'rash and Parsha Behar-Bechukotai

This week's d’rash is written in memory of Betty Smith who has reached the goal of walking in the presence of the Lord.

Our d’rash this week brings us to the end of the Book of Leviticus. Chapter 26 is the epilogue to all the laws. It is a vision statement of the blessings that God desires to bestow upon Israel and by extension to the whole world. In the passage itself, it communicates that obedience will bring the blessings, but disobedience will bring the opposite effect. But if you read it carefully, it is only by confession and a contrite heart that God will ultimately usher in these blessings. The blessings are not a reward for doing the right thing. Rather they are the instructions for the orderly way of life that God created us to live. When we live in the way he created us, we will then see the ideal way of life in the world which is described in the blessings. This is the ‘living hope’ that we read about in the New Covenant Scriptures. When we begin to live in the way that we are designed, we begin to live in the presence of the future. The blessings in Leviticus 26 describe the future.

These blessings include peace in the land, fertility of the land and the people, and God's intimate presence with the people. These blessings are mentioned in many of the prophets when they are describing the days of Messiah. The Messiah came to ensure that these blessings would become a reality. In Messiah Yeshua, we can taste some of these blessings. For example, “Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect”.

When we embrace Yeshua, we begin to live in such a way that resonates with the way he created us to be. When we begin to be aligned with the way he created us to live, we can really experience his presence in a new way. We begin to realize that we have meaning and significance, and therefore begin to live an ‘abundant life’ regardless of the current events. We begin to fulfill our calling of being an image bearer of God in all that we do. It is interesting that it says that he will walk among us. That is what we read in the beginning of Genesis in the Garden of Eden! Moreover, Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the person who takes refuge in Him”! The wondrous thing about this psalm is that David said it when he was in great danger. Due to his contrite heart and desire for God, he could taste the future even in his present danger. Now in the Messiah this is readily available to all of us. Keep your eyes fixed on Yeshua and walk in his ways, and you will live with the knowledge that God is forever present with you.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Howard

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