From ashes to riches


This Shabbat all synagogues around the world read from Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17. The name of this Torah portion is Re’eh (“see” or “behold”).

I think that the very first word of this Shabbat’s reading is of great significance for me. Just a week ago I had my second major eye surgery on my left eye. I was blind in my left eye for 70 years. A childhood accident blinded me when I was 5 years old. I had a second surgery on my left (blind) eye. This time the surgery replaced my cornea and now my left eye has everything new, except the ball of the eye and the retina.

Now this Shabbat’s reading starts with the words:

“Behold [see], I set before you today a blessing and a curse…” – Deuteronomy 11:26

The reading from the prophets is from Isaiah 54:11 – 55:5. Here too the element of healing is very strong, and it has national, geographical, and personal healing and allusions to the new Jerusalem.

The prophet Isaiah is addressing Jerusalem and through Jerusalem, all of Israel. The address is with the following words:

“O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires.” – Isaiah 54:11 [NKJV]

This is such a wonderful passage of scriptures for Jerusalem and for Israel as a nation, but also for all those who are suffering from affliction, illness, and suffering from abuse, or even from a weak faith and unstable lives. The possibility of the Lord being involved for our restoration, and even much more, just restoration of our past afflicted condition, from ashes to riches, from afflicted and tempest, tossed, to be decked with precious stones, gems, sapphires.

I don’t think that the prophet Isaiah was talking only of the physical aspects of precious stones and sapphires. I believe that Isaiah was talking about something much bigger and more precious than the physical jewels.
Notice the next verses of Isaiah 54:13-17:

“‘All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you. Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake. Behold, I have created the blacksmith Who blows the coals in the fire, Who brings forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy. No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,’ Says the Lord.” – Isaiah 54:13-17 [NKJV]

The promises of God through Isaiah’s words of prophecy is that our children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the Shalom of our children. I am a student of history and I know more or less the history of Israel from the 8th Century B.C.E. until our own day. There has never been a chapter of our history in which these words of Isaiah the prophet were a reality.

If this is really the case, it means that we must still wait and look for the fulfillment of God’s promises in our history, fulfilled in every detail with us, the afflicted nation of Israel, that continues to be afflicted, hated, persecuted, attacked, threatened by enemies that are over 100 times more numerous breathing hate and destruction against Jerusalem and Israel.

Zechariah the prophet describes the situation with the following words:

“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’” – Zechariah 3:2 [NKJV]

Yes, dear brothers, Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel is in fact still a brand plucked from the fire. From the fires of the crematoriums of the Nazi concentration camps.

Israel and Jerusalem are still a brand plucked from the fire, although we have a wonderful Israeli army with wonderful soldiers of native born Israelis raised in Israel, as well as immigrants from Africa, and Jewish gauchos from Argentina, and Jewish cowboys from New York, and California, and Texas. We have an army that has Jews, Druze, Muslims, Christians, black, and white, and Chinese Jews, Russian immigrants whose children are winning gold medals at the Olympic stadium in Tokyo.

Yes, and the only power that is secure and whose promises are sure and standing on the Rock, are the promises given by the Almighty God of Israel through the prophets.

We, the disciples of Yeshua the Messiah in this land have only one anchor to depend on. We as followers of Yeshua, our Savior and the Savior of the world, have only one wall of defense to depend on. The only dependable promises that are dependable and secure are those that God gave to our prophets.

We are living as a nation and as a state and following the very map drawn by the words of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, and the rest of the prophets that God blessed this nation with. So, yes, dear brothers and sisters, our afflicted nation, is afflicted from outside by a vast array of enemies, and afflicted from within our own ranks with some leaders who have no faith in God and no trust for the word of God spoken by our prophets, but all together we are the recipients of these words of God that Isaiah has written and spoken so long ago.

Some of you are going to see the fulfillment of all that was spoken by Isaiah. You will see Jerusalem flourish and grow and bedecked with the youth, who will be guided and taught by the Lord Himself. Some of you, young generation leaders, will have the privilege of not only waiting for the Lord’s return to Jerusalem, but to see Yeshua coming down with an entourage of millions of angels to land on top of the Mount of Olives.

The continuation of the reading of the Torah portion Re’eh has another major important teaching for us! The blessings and the curses.

The setting for this great show was in Samaria between two mountains – on the east side, Mount Abel, and on the west side of the valley, Mount Gerizim. The tribes of Israel were divided between these two mountains. The Levites and Priest were in the valley between these two mountains.

There was a proclamation of the blessings and the curses from the people of Israel on each side, from each of the two mountains. For me these chapters and words of the Torah and the prophets have such a great meaning for us today:

  1. We, the Jewish Disciples of Yeshua in this land have been given only one side of God’s nature and character, love, grace, and joy, and everything is good and Amen! However, in this Torah portion we find out that the grace of God is alive and well and functioning in full capacity for those who are walking and living in the will of the Almighty and do His will by hearing and obeying His blessed commands.
  2. We don’t get enough of the second side that came from the east side from Mount Ebal, the side of the curses that were proclaimed, and to them also the nation agreed and said Amen! We must not forget that our relationship with the almighty God of Israel, the Father of our Lord Yeshua and the Father of all mankind has two sides to it, a side of great blessings and a side of great curses and damage to those who are rebellious and unfaithful.

It is of great importance to see the correlation between the text of Deuteronomy and Isaiah.

“You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes— for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you.” – Deuteronomy 12:8,9 [NKJV]

“Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you— The sure mercies of David. Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, A leader and commander for the people. Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, And nations who do not know you shall run to you, Because of the Lord your God, And the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you. Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” – Isaiah 55:3-6 [NKJV]

The Torah portion Re’eh starts with “look, behold, see”, and this text from the prophets is calling on us all to “hear”, to “incline your ears,” give life to your souls and secure the mercies of David.

This last statement that I bring to you from Isaiah the prophet is of great importance, because King David was actually one of the biggest sinners in the whole Bible. King David broke most of the Ten Commandments, and God loved him and forgave him with great mercies.

The word that Isaiah adds in this statement is small but of great importance to us: “The sure mercies of David!” Yes, dear brothers and sisters, do we have a real trust and security that our sins are forgiven by the sure mercies of the Lord, for us, for each of us?

I sure hope that each one of you will read the Torah portion from Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17, and the Haftarah from Isaiah 54:11 – 55:5, and from John’s gospel 7:37-52. Just a word from John chapter 7:

“Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them…” – John 7:50 [NKJV]

This is the same Nicodemus that John mentioned in chapter 3, a member of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, one of the richest men in Jerusalem. A man of integrity and care for the citizens of the city of Jerusalem. A disciple of Yeshua that did great things for the citizens of Jerusalem.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister changed his name from David Green to David Ben-Gurion. Ben-Gurion was Nicodemus’s full name. Ben-Gurion identified with Nicodemus and was also a kind of disciple of Yeshua.

He admired Yeshua and learned Greek to be able to read the New Testament in Greek. He did read it every day and he did believe in Yeshua as the Messiah. His Greek New Testament is in Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev, right on his desk.

This article originally appeared on Netivyah and reposted with permission.