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Weekly D'rash Bechukotai

As the book of Leviticus begins to wind down, we read a series of statements about the blessings of obedience and the curses or difficulties of disobedience.  At the end of Deuteronomy, we read similar statements with Moses summing it up by saying: “Therefore choose life!” (Deut. 30:19)

In Leviticus 26:9–12, the blessings of obedience are summed up.  If you read the verses carefully, certain words and concepts, phrases, or clauses jump out that remind us of several previous passages: “fruitful,” “multiply,” “dwell among you,” “walk among you,” and “I will be your God and you shall be my people.”  These words and concepts are first found in Genesis 1:28 and 3:8 which describe the Garden of Eden, as well as Exodus 6:7 and 25:8 which promise a restoration of relationship like in the Garden of Eden.  The combination of these words, phrases, and clauses emphasizes that the goal of Torah is to bring restoration to the world.

When Yeshua came, he began the restoration in his death and resurrection.  He removed the barrier of sin, and his resurrection is the beginning of a physical restoration of the world.  Right now, he is continuing that work through all of us who are identified with Yeshua.  Hopefully, we view our walk with Adonai and the way we live as more than a series of obedient acts.  Walking in the "way of Adonai" cultivates intimacy with God, builds relationships, and creates a vision of the future.  It creates a way of life that allows us to experience a taste of Eden even now in this world!  Leviticus 26:11–12 says, “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."

As we live the Torah way of life, we will indeed experience the presence of God in every moment.  Yeshua is the Word (Torah) made flesh, and when we walk in his ways we really do experience the assurance and confidence of his ever presence.  His ways include developing personal disciplines that cultivate personal relationships, as well as living the right way in our ethics and morals.  But there is more to it than our own assurance and confidence.  The way we live is the way in which God is bringing restoration to the world.  Have you ever viewed your life as making that kind of difference?  As we live out God's way of life, we could say that we are moving the agenda of God forward.  Realize that you are making a difference in the world even if it does not look like it!

Think of the life of Messiah Yeshua.  It certainly did not look like he was making a difference, but of course he made all the difference!  Recognize your calling. You are seated in heavenly places with the Messiah.  You have been redeemed and play a significant role in this world.  As we read in Lev. 26:13, “I am Adonai 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.”  In other words, do not walk like a slave of the enemy, but rather realize that the yoke has been broken and you belong to God.  Stand up tall and have the confidence to know that he has empowered you to make a difference.  As Moses said, “Choose Life!"

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Howard

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