Parashat Ki Tavo


Who wants to prosper? I could guarantee that if that question ‎was asked of anyone they would put their hands up. Who ‎doesn’t want to prosper? You’d be mad not to. It seems so ‎simple doesn’t it? G-d will bless you if you walk in obedience to ‎Him, in the Torah He has given. We know of course that we ‎have to know what the commands mean and how to apply them, ‎whether in faith or legalistically, but the bottom line is clear. We ‎are blessed if we walk in obedience, and the nations around are ‎meant to see that blessing. We are ‘cursed’ if we walk contrary to ‎G-d.‎

Yeshua Mashichaynu approaches the Torah in a similar way ‎with His ‘Woes’ talk in Matthew 23, linking together with the ‎‎‘Blessed are you’ comments He taught on. Yeshua was saying ‎to His people this or that will happen if covenantal disobedience ‎occurs. The very terms ‘Blessed and Cursed’ (or ‘Woe to you’) ‎are covenant terms that only make sense if you understand the ‎covenant to which they refer. A blessing is the outcome of ‎obedience, not just a random act by a ‘god’ who is looking for ‎likewise random acts of kindness (however you define ‎kindness). Equally, a ‘curse’ or woe is covenantally related and ‎defined. That’s why it was so important for Israel to not follow ‎idols, the world needed to know who (the true) G-d is. ‎

It says exactly this in Devarim. The nations of this world are ‎meant to look at Israel, us, and know that G-d exists! Why do you ‎think that Jerusalem is unmissable? Barely a day goes by where ‎at some point Israel or Jerusalem or the Jewish people don’t get ‎a mention. That was G-d’s intention. We are a light to the ‎nations, everyone could see what the G-d of Israel was like, and ‎see how His faithfulness was received. Either through the ‎blessings given or through the cycles of discipline, the world was ‎meant to take note. ‎

The Torah says He will establish us as a holy PEOPLE. And ‎what is the hallmark given of this people? If you walk and keep ‎the commandments we shall be called by His name. This is us. ‎We are to be seen and known as the people of the G-D OF ‎ISRAEL. We belong to Him and so our obedience points to the ‎G-d we serve and us as His special people. We follow Him ‎because of what the One true G-d has done and no other ‘god’. ‎

What you do, say, think marks out which god you serve. You ‎may not see it this way, but the people around you certainly do. ‎In Hebrew the word for serve and worship are linked, by our ‎serving G-d we worship Him. The tithe for instance, mentioned at ‎the beginning of this portion, just by giving it we serve and ‎worship G-d. Doing can be and is worship. We’re just used to ‎thinking of worship as ethereal and spiritual, more a subjective ‎emotional reaction than acts of obedience. But actually how we ‎live dictates which god we serve. If we say that the G-d of ‎Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has redeemed us, then we had ‎better start living that way.‎