his Shabbat the reading is Parashat Eikev (“because”), Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25, and the haftarah is Isaiah 49:14 – 51:3. From the New Testament we will be reading from Luke 4:1-15.
We must remember the context of the book of Deuteronomy. According to the biblical report, Moses is standing on the edge of the Jordan River and speaking the words that are recorded in the book of Deuteronomy.
So, after begging God to allow him to cross the Jordan River, and God refused, Moses now is beginning to review the circumstances that have brought him and the children of Israel to this point. Please remember that the nation of Israel that left Egypt as liberated slaves didn’t stop complaining about just about everything. They complained about not having good water to drink, and they complained about not having bread, and not having meat, and not having watermelons, cucumbers, onions, and more and more complaining!
Now Moses is giving the whole lot of those Israelites the following introduction:
“Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And the Lord will take away from you all sickness and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known but will lay them on all those who hate you. Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the Lord your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.” — Deuteronomy 7:12-16
Please note that Moses is not condemning but encouraging. He is giving these Israelites who are about to enter the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as an everlasting inheritance.
God is going to be faithful to His promises and it is a covenant of mercy! Wow! How is it that so many denominational Christians have the wrong and false idea that the Torah has no mercy?
Now, you see that Moses says that God is going to keep the covenant and the mercy which He swore to our fathers. God will love and bless and multiply the people of Israel. God will bless your children and the fruit of your land, your grain, wine, oil, and increase the cattle, and your flock, and bless you above all people. Such wonderful promises that God promised Israel, including a deliverance from sickness and none of the diseases of Egypt will plague the people of Israel.
Let me take you back to the beginning of the Exodus story and show you God’s faithfulness in the promises of the blessings, and also when needed, in the promises of the judgments.
The children of Israel were in Egypt and they lived approximately 200 years in the land of Goshen, as it is said, they lived in the best part of Egypt and enjoyed wealth and numerical growth. The political situation in Egypt changed and a new line of Pharaohs that didn’t know Joseph’s contribution to Egypt came into power and feared the Israelites would turn against Egypt.
The reason for that fear of Pharaoh is not unreasonable. The Israelites are and were in the past history a nation set apart, not mixing with other nations. We see this throughout Israel’s history, from Egypt to the land of Canaan, to the book of Esther, and all the way to our own time.
They cried to God for deliverance and God organized Moses from birth to death to deliver Israel out of slavery in Egypt and bring them after 40 years of boot camp in the wilderness to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the land of Canaan! These 40 years of boot camp were a remodeling of the nation of slaves into a powerful militant organization that set out to conquer a land of fortified cities with high walls and military power.
We have the book of Joshua and the book of Judges that describe the battles and conquests of Israel against ancient and powerful people: the Philistines from Crete, and the Hittites from Anatolia (Turkey), and the Girgashites who are identified with Qaraqisha tribes that came to Canaan from the area of Armenia and Azerbaijan of today.
God is always keeping His promises to Israel and to the world, for the good and for the not-so-good. One of the best examples is the journey of the Exodus and the conquest of the land of Canaan.
Now we are living in another season of God keeping His promises to Israel. We are witnesses and experiencing the restoration of Zion, physically and spiritually. We are a part of the rebuilding of the waste places, the buried cities of the past are being filled with Jews from over 100 different countries, from almost every corner of the star called Earth.
The book of Deuteronomy is a book that starts with God’s faithfulness and ends with the horrible statement of God to Moses that says some of the hardest words in the Bible to a man who has dedicated 80 years of his life to take the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery into the promised land of milk and honey!
The lesson that we all must learn from God’s word is very simple and very true and very strict — for our good. And if we are disobedient, it is also faithful to deliver the horrifying and painful alienation from God and the consequences of which our national history is a living example of. Of a God who keeps His promises.
Let me concentrate on the prosperity and blessing and wonderful relationship between man and nation of Israel with the Creator of our universe. The privilege of all man to call God, the Creator of all things in our world, Abba (“Father”)! The very privilege and possibility for humans to have a relationship of Father and sons and daughters with the Creator who so loved us, the peoples of the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, Yeshua, to save us and forgive us from our sins.
We must remember that the same God who took Israel out of Egyptian slavery is the God who has promised to bring the diaspora of Israel back home. It is a shocking and outstanding news, good news, that we the nation of Israel are in the process of restoration, in the fields of medicine, science, agriculture, military equipment, and more.
Israel is the startup nation that is among the top 20 countries who have registered international patents in the 21st century. We are also the smallest nation among the great gigantic nations like China, and the United States, and India…
God is faithful and the story is not over, the process is active now and far from finished. This is why we must learn to have faith and trust God’s promises and keep His commandments, first and foremost, and only later honor human traditions and man-made precepts and commandments.
God keeps His promises and we in the land of Israel and in the Jewish nation are personally living and witnessing God’s faithfulness, and righteousness. And we the Jewish people and the disciples of Yeshua from among the nations must know and watch and pray and do right because we know that our labor is not in vain and all that God promised is going to be fulfilled. Yeshua is coming back to Zion, and on that day the world will confess and beg for mercy.
The words of this famous Christian Song are speaking the message that Moses is bringing to Israel on the banks of the Jordan River:
Standing on the promises of Christ my King, Thro’ eternal ages let his praises ring; Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, Standing on the promises of God. Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior; Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises that cannot fail, When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living word of God, I shall prevail, Standing on the promises of God. Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior; Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, Bound to him eternally by love’s strong cord, Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s Sword, Standing on the promises of God. Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior; Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises I cannot fall, List’ning ev’ry moment to the Spirit’s call, Resting in my Savior as my all in all, Standing on the promises of God. Standing, standing, Standing on the promises of God my Savior. Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.
This article originally appeared on Netivyah and is reposted with permission.