We are living in a lawless culture that is based on false premise that “my right to be happy”, or “my right to be free”, is the supreme responsibility of the government to provide for me! Rome succeeded in mesmerizing their citizens with circuses and bread.
Our Torah portion – Bechukotai (Leviticus 26:3-27:3) – provides us with divine medicine for the social illness of our times. From the prophets (the Haftarah) we read Jeremiah 32:6-27, 16:19-17:14. From the New Testament we will be reading from 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
The reading from the New Testament is most relevant and it ties down the Torah portion Bechukotai (“in my laws”) with the reading from the prophet Jeremiah 32:6-27, and Jeremiah 16:19-17:14.
The portion Bechukotai starts with a conditional statement:
“But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant…” – Leviticus 26:14,15 [NKJV]
The first words of the Torah portion come in after, earlier in chapter 25 of Leviticus, we received the wonderful things that will happen to us – then and now – if we do God’s will and if we walk in His path, and if we consider the blessings that the Lord promises those who do the will of God, those who build their house on the rock and not on the sand, those who not only hear the word of God, but do it.
Then, our Torah portion, and the portion from Jeremiah 32 and 16, are a prophetic historical perspective, giving us the caption of how, in the future, the lawless society will be fixed, and God’s righteousness will be seen and experienced by Israel, in the eyes of the nations of the world.
One of the founding members of Netivyah, an Orthodox Jew, survivor of the Nazi death camps during World War II, Joseph Vactor, used to say every year when we read the Torah portion “Bechukotai” that, during World War II, everyone experienced all the horrible things that God warned Israel and all of us about. That if we do not obey and keep His commandments (if we would be lawless and break His covenant), these horrible things will happen to us.
For Joseph and David, the two brothers who survived the Nazi death camps during World War II, the readings from God’s Word in Leviticus 26 were real experiences that they lived through. God’s Word is not vain words.
God’s promises have been the daily bread of the Jews in Europe and North Africa, and every one of the horrors listed in our Torah portion was experienced and seen and felt by the Jews in the German Nazi death camps. There are 33 verses of horrors, the expression of God’s displeasure from the unfaithfulness and lawlessness of the nation of Israel in more than one occasion in Jewish history.
Here are some of those promises of God for those who, in premeditation, willfully break His laws and ignore the warnings. Israel and the Jewish people are the living proof that there is a God that is directing pruning, and sometimes even brings plagues to educate and direct His children into the paths of righteousness.
Here are some of the horrible things that our Torah readings promise would happen to us, as a collective nation:
“Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate. And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword against you that will execute the vengeance of the covenant; when you are gathered together within your cities I will send pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy… I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste.” — Leviticus 26:21-25,33 [NKJV]
With all these difficult texts that, much to my regret, have happened more than one time to our nation, the Lord’s supreme grace pops up and brightens our future and our past with such Son-shine of God’s goodness and faithfulness, that even the sun and the moon pale.
In the same chapter, after the warnings and the encouragement of a Jewish Polish mother, who attempts by fear to educate and prevent her children from falling into trouble, the Lord brings the other side to encourage and motivate us to stop our rebellious hearts and help us return to the paths of righteousness, and to a proper father-and-children paradigm. To make us return to call the Almighty Creator of the World, and cry, “Abba Father!”
Here it comes – God’s faithfulness and divine love and grace pouring out of His cornucopia, full of goodness and a desire to educate and return us to the paths of righteousness and demonstrate His love for His creation and for His chosen children’s mission to return all the pagans and idolaters among mankind back home to His loving arms.
“…then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land… Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.” — Leviticus 26:42,44,45 [NKJV]
I would like to encourage all of you who read this prayer list to take 10 minutes of your life and read the full chapter of Leviticus 26, and Jeremiah 32:6-27, 16:19-17:14. From the New Testament read from 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
Meditate on the love of God our Father for His children for all of His creation, and His desire to educate and train and urge and bless His children, and keep them from falling into idolatry and self-destruction. Like every Father, sometimes the only thing left as a tool in His hands to restore his children to the paths of goodness and righteousness is to make His children wake up and see the horrible path of self-destruction that they have embarked on.
However, His love and care for His children are so great, and His faithfulness is so wise and just that He, the Creator, sent His Son to change our rebellious ways with His love and wonderful promises of a better world and a secure and brighter future!
You remember that God remembers His promises and His covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! God’s endgame, His plan for us human beings, was and is about staying one!
We will know that He is our God and Creator and more important we, the human race, will know that we are His children, His people! Hallelujah, Amen!
This article originally appeared on Netivyah and is reposted with permission.