Torah Portion for week 46: Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25
Eikev (As a result)
Have you ever had the experience that someone you deeply love and care about forgot about you? Maybe they forgot an important event, or simply got used to what you do for them and took you for granted. It is a very bad feeling, like you are not important to the other person, and it is especially painful because you have repeatedly shown them that you do care about them. Unfortunately, it is a human tendency to take someone precious for granted when we are comfortable, and that is one of the main themes of our weekly portion.
The nation of Israel is standing by the edge of the promised land after forty years of traveling the wilderness, and is about to enter the land. Over the years, the Israelites enjoyed and got used to God’s supernatural protection and provision. As an example, consider that feeding the Israelite camp daily with manna from heaven meant approximately forty tons of food a day, and eighty tons on Fridays! As this is about to change from the supernatural care by God in the wilderness to the natural care of working the land, God pleads with them (and with us) not to forget! It is a call for maturity.
In Deuteronomy 8:7-10, we read:
For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.
Change is scary. Any time we need to mature and assume responsibility for more aspects of our lives, we may feel timid. And that is why God is encouraging the Israelites, and us, here. The land before you is a good land, and although it may not be easy, it is a blessing from God. Take a step of faith.
But there is a risk as we see in Deuteronomy 8:11-14:
Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
God chose Israel as his chosen nation; and as followers of Messiah from every nation, God has chosen us as well. Like the Israelites, God warns us of our heart’s tendency for pride and forgetfulness. Each one of us is at risk of growing so comfortable that God and his kingdom become secondary to our comfort. Remember how, when we first walked with the Messiah, nothing else mattered and we were full of his love and zeal. But as life goes on, we settle down, we get comfortable, the supernatural provisions become natural, and we take the blessings of God for granted; then we relate to them as the fruit of our efforts. The New Testament calls this forgetting our first love (Revelation 2:4).
As we close this week’s reading, consider the attitudes and actions which are involved in our relationship with God in Deuteronomy 10:12-14:
Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good. Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. (Emphasis added.)
The God of the universe is interested in our hearts, and he gave us boundaries for our own good. Let us search our hearts today, and restore him to first place in our hearts.