The Parashah for this week is called, R’eh—“See!”
*Deuteronomy 11:26. “See! I am setting before you today blessing and curse.”
PLEASE PRAY: For sight to see the difference between blessed ways, and those whose very nature brings a curse—for grace to “ask for the ancient paths, the good way,” to see and to walk in it! (Jeremiah 6:16; 18:15).
*Deuteronomy 12:2, 5. “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods…But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.”
At least 16 times in this week’s Torah portion this ‘place’ (singular) is mentioned where Israel’s one God YHVH would choose to put His name and to dwell— one place, as compared to the many places where the multiple gods of Canaan were worshiped. Those places were to be utterly destroyed, and with them the very names of the gods which had been worshiped there (12:3). The place where the One God of Israel would in a unique way dwell among His people was, of course, Jerusalem. This had been alluded to in a prophetic song by Moses 40 years before, just after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:17).
PLEASE PRAY: For the peace of Jerusalem…that God’s glory would return there, that the believing Body of Messiah would be established there in maturity and unity. Pray that God would raise up wise and anointed Messianic leaders to be Elders in the Gates of Zion. That as God “chose” Jerusalem after first bringing Israel into the land following the Exodus, He would now, with the return of His people from around the world, “take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and again choose Jerusalem” (Zechariah 2:12).
*Deuteronomy 12:8. “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes…”
God had a special order for worship and government waiting for the people when they would enter the land (It was not to be, “everyone for himself”. They were rather to “do what is right in the sight of YHVH your God” (12:25, 28). During the next 400 years, there would be periods in which the people followed this directive. In the Land, there would be Judges (the title for next week’s Parasha) for civil matters, and the Priesthood to keep worship “in line”. But alas, eventually Moses’ admonition would be forgotten—the closing words of the Book of Judges read, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
*Deuteronomy 12:16; 12:23. “Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth like water.” “Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life (Hebrew: nefesh—soul); you may not eat the life with the meat.”
Although this prohibition is repeated throughout the Law of Moses, it had in fact been long before forbidden by God. In God’s instructions to Noah shortly after the Flood (Genesis 9:4-5), consumption of blood was placed right alongside murder. Thousands of years later, after Yeshua had died, been raised and had returned to Heaven, the high council of Messianic (Christian) believers in Jerusalem issued as God’s counsel for all Gentile as well as Jewish believers that they abstain from eating blood (Acts 15:20,29). This therefore remains, in our opinion, to be a command for all the children of Adam. Nor do we see in this an issue of “Law” and “legalism” vs “Grace” and “Freedom in the Spirit.” It is a matter of obedience as opposed to disobedience; truth as opposed to error and deception.
*Deuteronomy 14:2. “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be for Him a specially treasured people of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
*Deuteronomy 14:26. “You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires; for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.”
The Bible does not teach that partaking of wine or other intoxicating drink in moderation is sin. It in fact strongly implies that God intends such drink may be a joy and a blessing for humankind—if taken, as stipulated here, before the LORD our God (i.e. within the light of His presence). In Genesis 43:34, Joseph’s brothers “drank and were merry with him.” And according to John 2:1-11, Yeshua’s first recorded miracle in which He “manifested His glory” was turning water at a Jewish wedding into wine.
However, Proverbs 20:1 cautions against its misuse, “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” And in Isaiah 28:1, 7 God issues an extremely serious warning to religious leaders who err in the misuse of alcohol: they tarnish the beauty of the ministry which they lead. If they persist, the prophetic vision and judgment with which God equipped them for administration over His people will begin to fail them.
So Believers are allowed to partake of such drink, yet, not in drunkenness, but in the self-control (temperance) of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26). They may at times be led to abstain from strong drink, as those who chose to separate themselves to the Lord by a Nazirite vow would abstain from wine and strong drink all the days of their separation (Numbers 6:2-4). Nor are those who move in a freedom to drink wine to judge or seek to coerce those whose conscience forbids them from that freedom (Romans 14).
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, submitting to one another out of reverence for Messiah.” (Ephesians 5:18)
*Deuteronomy 16:1. “Observe the month of Aviv and keep the Passover to YHVH your God, for in the month of Aviv YHVH your God brought you out of Egypt by night.” Aviv was the Canaanite name for the month which God instructed Israel must be their first. Since the Babylonian captivity, the Babylonian name Nisan has been used.
*Deuteronomy 16:16. “Three times a year all your males shall appear before YHVH your God in the place which He chooses; at the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Pesach/Passover), at the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), and at the feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot); and they shall not appear before YHVH empty handed.” This would be Jerusalem.
*Isaiah 54:11: “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.”
PLEASE PRAY: That Israel’s sense of identity be restored—not an identity related to her rejection, suffering, persecution and the Holocaust; but rather, that of a people chosen to be set apart as a special treasure of the God Who created the Universe.
*Isaiah 54:13-14. “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.”
PLEASE PRAY: For the present generation of Israeli children…that the loving jealousy of God would be loosed over them, cutting through the evil values being taught in so many homes and schools in Israel, awakening a zeal for Truth; that they would respond to the Holy Spirit and ask for the ancient paths where they will find rest for their souls (Jeremiah 6:16).
*Isaiah 54:14. “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.”
PLEASE PRAY: That in God’s mercy the Spirit which was sent to convict the world concerning Sin and Righteousness and Judgment (John 16:8) will move strongly across all of Israel. For Israel to be delivered from terrorism she must first become established in righteousness. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21 NASB).
*Isaiah 54:17. “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 55:3. “Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live…”
PLEASE PRAY: “That Israeli ears will be opened to hear the living Word. There are many “winds” blowing in Israel right now (In Hebrew “wind” and “spirit” are the same word). Pray that believers in Israel will “have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the congregations.”
*Isaiah 55:5b. “…For He has glorified you.” The Hebrew word for “glorified” here might better be rendered “beautified you.” It is the verb form of the same word used in Isaiah 61:3, where the Spirit anoints the Messiah to give those who mourn in Zion “beauty for ashes.”
PLEASE PRAY: For Israel to come to realize that the one whom she has been resisting for 2000 years is the very One who longs to make her beautiful…and shall!
Martin & Norma Sarvis
[The Parashah for next week is called Shophetim—“Judges”: TORAH: Deuteronomy 16:18—21:9 ; HAFTARAH: Isaiah 51:12—52:12.]