Rabbi Yochanan Hammond, Ph.D., firstname.lastname@example.org
WORDS OF WISDOM.
Is it unreasonable to state that everyone has faith in something or someone? If this is the case then surely it is wise to have faith in that which results in the prosperity and health of individuals and communities?
Having a high level of faith is not difficult, yet having a high level of faithfulness can be very challenging. If you asked most “religious people” if they had faith in “God” they would answer in the positive. If you studied their level of faithfulness you would find most fall well short in that area.
Unfortunately we Children of Israel are no different and struggle to have a consistent high level of faithfulness to HaShem. We are guaranteed that if we are faithful to HaShem then we will indeed experience an increase in prosperity, resulting in healthy lives and living.
28 Now if thou wilt hear the voice of the Lord thy God, to do and keep all his commandments, which I command thee this day, the Lord thy God will make thee higher than all the nations that are on the earth.
2 And all these blessings shall come upon thee and overtake thee: yet so if thou hear his precepts,
3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed in the field.
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the droves of thy herds, and the folds of thy sheep.
5 Blessed shall be thy barns and blessed thy stores.
6 Blessed shalt thou be coming in and going out.
7 The Lord shall cause thy enemies, that rise up against thee, to fall down before thy face: one way shall they come out against thee, and seven ways shall they flee before thee.
8 The Lord will send forth a blessing upon thy storehouses, and upon all the works of thy hands: and will bless thee in the land that thou shalt receive.
9 The Lord will raise thee up to be a holy people to himself, as he swore to thee: if thou keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways.
10 And all the people of the earth shall see that the name of the Lord is invocated upon thee, and they shall fear thee.
11 The Lord will make thee abound with all goods, with the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy cattle, with the fruit of thy land, which the Lord swore to thy fathers that he would give thee.
12 The Lord will open his excellent treasure, the heaven, that it may give rain in due season: and he will bless all the works of thy hands. And thou shalt lend to many nations, and shalt not borrow of any one.
13 And the Lord shall make thee the head and not the tail: and thou shalt be always above, and not beneath: yet so if thou wilt hear the commandments of the Lord thy God which I command thee this day, and keep and do them,
14 And turn not away from them neither to the right hand, nor to the left, nor follow strange gods, nor worship them. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 [DRA]
I encourage you to read through these promises “slowly”, and fully absorb what is outlined. Would it not be sensible to follow the instructions and guidance [Torah] of HaShem when you consider the promises given? Ignoring these instructions and associated promises would be understandable if the One making them was a charlatan, liar or didn’t have the resources to fulfil them. However HaShem is NOT such a One. He and He alone not only can, but will fulfil His promises. HaShem is not One to lie.
19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor as the son of man, that he should be changed. Hath he said then, and will he not do? hath he spoken, and will he not fulfill? Numbers 23:19 [DRA]
“In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,” Titus 1:2 [NASB]
16 For men swear by one greater than themselves: and an oath for confirmation is the end of all their controversy.
17 Wherein God, meaning more abundantly to shew to the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed an oath:
18 That by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have the strongest comfort, who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:16-18 [DRA]
Our Father in heaven waits for us to come back to Him through Yeshua HaMoshiach, establishing our faithfulness via embracing and employing His Torah in our lives. He wants us to receive His blessings that bring biblical shalom into our lives and He can only do this if we are faithful in our call to be obedient to Him.
How can we achieve a higher level of faithfulness? This is a fair question to ask! Has HaShem left us to find our own way forward? Never let it be said that this is the case. Yes, He has left us with decisions to make, but He certainly has a clear path outlined forward for those who choose to embrace faithfulness to Him. Not only has HaShem given us His written Torah, but He has provided us with One who lived and died a perfect Torah life for us to follow – This One being Yeshua HaMoshiach.
In a moment of private prayer this morning, I was praying for help with a situation. This led me to consider the prayer Yeshua spoke before His death on the stake. We all know the prayer; “....not my will, but Yours be done”. The depth of the statement, “Not my will, but Yours be done”, is one we should revisit over and over again. Whenever we Children of Israel break the Torah we have chosen to do our own will. Please understand that our life depends on obeying the Torah. Now before some start throwing stones accusing me of negating the saving blood of our Moshiach Yeshua, I am talking about total obedience to HaShem which entails believing in Moshiach Yeshua, and keeping Torah. As the Master Himself said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments”. Does it not follow that we should keep the Torah if we claim Yeshua as the biblical Moshiach? This keeps us clean from all filth and importantly establishes our faithfulness to HaShem, the Holy One of Israel, blessed be His name.
2 My children, I am writing you these things so that you won’t sin. But if anyone does sin, we have Yeshua the Messiah, the Tzaddik, who pleads our cause with the Father. 2 Also, he is the kapparah for our sins — and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.
3 The way we can be sure we know him is if we are obeying his commands. 4 Anyone who says, “I know him,” but isn’t obeying his commands is a liar — the truth is not in him. 5 But if someone keeps doing what he says, then truly love for God has been brought to its goal in him. This is how we are sure that we are united with him. 6 A person who claims to be continuing in union with him ought to conduct his life the way he did. 1John 2:1-6 [CJB]
The Torah tells us to make our decisions and defences thereof, using just weights and measures. If one does this regards the question, “should we Children of Israel embrace and follow Torah”, then we can only come to the same answer Yeshua Himself gave us – that is yes we should. Following Torah builds our faithfulness and provides the Children of Israel with biblical shalom. Allow me to repeat this once again. Torah is the “golden” path to faithfulness, all other paths are but dust and vapour, created by false gods and human hands.
We began this chapter quoting those words that outlined the blessings associated with faithfulness to Torah, thus faithfulness to HaShem and Yeshua. It would be remiss of me not to include those words associated with doing one’s own will instead of the will of HaShem.
15 But if thou wilt not hear the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep and to do all his commandments and ceremonies, which I command thee this day, all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, cursed in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy barn, and cursed thy stores.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy ground, the herds of thy oxen, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be coming in, and cursed going out.
20 The Lord shall send upon thee famine and hunger, and a rebuke upon all the works which thou shalt do: until he consume and destroy thee quickly, for thy most wicked inventions, by which thou hast forsaken me.
21 May the Lord set the pestilence upon thee, until he consume thee out of the land, which thou shalt go in to possess.
22 May the Lord afflict thee with miserable want, with the fever and with cold, with burning and with heat, and with corrupted air and with blasting, and pursue thee till thou perish.
23 Be the heaven, that is over thee, of brass: and the ground thou treadest on, of iron.
24 The Lord give thee dust for rain upon thy land, and let ashes come down from heaven upon thee, till thou be consumed.
25 The Lord make thee to fall down before thy enemies, one way mayst thou go out against them, and flee seven ways, and be scattered throughout all the kingdoms of the earth.
26 And be thy carcass meat for all the Fowls of the air, and the beasts of the earth, and be there none to drive them away.
27 The Lord strike thee with the ulcer of Egypt, and the part of thy body, by which the dung is cast out, with the scab and with the itch: so that thou canst not be healed.
28 The Lord strike thee with madness and blindness and fury of mind.
29 And mayst thou grope at midday as the blind is wont to grope in the dark, and not make straight thy ways. And mayst thou at all times suffer wrong, and be oppressed with violence, and mayst thou have no one to deliver thee.
30 Mayst thou take a wife, and another sleep with her. Mayst thou build a house, and not dwell therein. Mayest thou plant a vineyard and not gather the vintage thereof.
31 May thy ox be slain before thee, and thou not eat thereof. May thy ass be taken away in thy sight, and not restored to thee. May thy sheep be given to thy enemies, and may there be none to help thee.
32 May thy sons and thy daughters be given to another people, thy eyes looking on, and languishing at the sight of them all the day, and may there be no strength in thy hand.
33 May a people which thou knowest not, eat the fruits of thy land, and all thy labours: and mayst thou always suffer oppression, and be crushed at all times.
34 And be astonished at the terror of those things which thy eyes shall see:
35 May the Lord strike thee with a very sore ulcer in the knees and in the legs, and be thou incurable from the sole of the foot to the top of the head.
36 The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king, whom thou shalt have appointed over thee, into a nation which thou and thy fathers know not: and there thou shalt serve strange gods, wood and stone.
37 And thou shalt be lost, as a proverb and a byword to all people, among whom the Lord shall bring thee in.
38 Thou shalt cast much seed into the ground, and gather little: because the locusts shall consume all.
39 Thou shalt plant a vineyard, and dig it, and shalt not drink the wine, nor gather any thing thereof: because it shall be wasted with worms.
40 Thou shalt have olive trees in all thy borders, and shalt not be anointed with the oil: for the olives shall fall off and perish.
41 Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, and shalt not enjoy them: because they shall be led into captivity.
42 The blast shall consume all the trees and the fruits of thy ground.
43 The stranger that liveth with thee in the land, shall rise up over thee, and shall be higher: and thou shalt go down, and be lower.
44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him. He shall be as the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
45 And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue and overtake thee, till thou perish: because thou heardst not the voice of the Lord thy God, and didst not keep his commandments and ceremonies which he commanded thee. Deuteronomy 28:15-45 [DRA]
Please do not dismiss these promised curses as “Old Testament” only verses and applicable only to those Jews who do not believe in Yeshua as HaMoshiach. If you believe this to be the case then this same reasoning applies to the blessings. Remember HaShem is the same yesterday, today and forever and He says what He means and means what He says.
Baruch HaShem, that we can rely on His promises!
May the grace, love and wisdom of HaShem and Yeshua HaMoshiach be with you!