Thursday, August 4, 2011

Devarim - Torah Refresher

I've been studying the commentary by Tim Hegg for this week's Torah portion, Devarim.  He brings out some excellent points and makes some interesting comparisons that really apply the Word to our everyday life.  I love this quote from his article:

"The message of Devarim is timeless for its divine message also calls us to trust in G-d, to rely upon His promises EVEN in the face of what humanly appears impossible."
 Fear is something we are all familiar with.  We can read the stories of the wilderness experience and the Israelites journey and empathize with their fears and frustrations.  Yet G-d had demonstrated time and time again that they could trust Him.  He did not ask them to trust Him without giving them some evidence that He could be trusted.  In the face of fear we are more inclined to forget these lessons and allow fear to overtake our ability to rest in the Almighty.  Tim Hegg puts it this way:  "The heart of faithlessness is fostered by fear."  Boy is that the truth. 

That got me thinking....if the heart of faithLESSness is fostered by fear, what might the heart of faithFULLness be fostered by?  Wouldn't it be the opposite of fear?  TRUST!  The Israelites needed to explain their rebellion and they reasoned that G-d is not good but evil.  They said "G-d hates us."  Mr. Hegg states that the idea that G-d Himself is less than good is always at the heart of rebellion.

If there was anyone in scripture who could speak on this subject I believe it would be Job.  Look at these two verses from the first chapter in Job:

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. Chapter 1 vs 21 The L-rd gave and the L-rd has taken away; may the name of the L-rd be praised.  vs 22 - In all of this, Job did not sin by charging G-d with wrongdoing."
What a testimony!  Job did not fall back on excuses - he did not need to because he did not rebel.  He believed G-d and it was reckoned to him as righteousness just like Abraham. 

An antidote to rebellion is to frequently or regularly exercise thanksgiving.  Sometimes when I am down or feel overwhelmed by life's struggles I will literally count my blessings.  This reminds me that in spite of what seems wrong in my world there is plenty to be thankful for.  It puts things into perspective again and I can feel peace and rest enter my spirit.  I love the verse in Psalm 56:4 that says "what can mere man do to me?"  The answer of course is absolutely nothing.  In fact, Psalm 91 says that even though thousands will fall right next to me no harm will come near my dwelling.  IF I am dwelling in the shadow of the most High and make Him my refuge. 

So this week as you study the Torah portion Devarim be reminded that G-d is a G-d who can be trusted.  Be reminded of the importance of walking a Torah lifestyle according to all of G-d's instructions so that you will be blessed in your comings and goings.  Finally, take these verses from Psalm 56 and be comforted:

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.  In G-d, whose Word I praise, in G-d I put my trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can mere man do to me? 


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