Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deuteronomy 31:6) http://bibl.co/602
“The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.” — Isaiah 60:19
The Torah portion for this week is Ki Tavo,which means “when you have entered,” from Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8, and the Haftorah is from Isaiah 60:1–22.
Sometimes, life can feel like we’re on a roller coaster. We are up when circumstances are good and then down when our fortunes take a turn for the worse. We get good news, and we are up. Bad news, and we are down in the dumps. An unexpected check in the mail, and we are elated. Something breaks and we have an unexpected expenditure, we are right back down again.
Life’s a bumpy ride when we tie our well-being to our circumstances.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. We don’t need to live our lives according to the whims of our current situation. When we trust fully in God and know that everything is ultimately for the best, we can rest assured no matter what the circumstances may be. In Psalm 112:6–7, the psalmist put it this way, “Surely the righteous will never be shaken . . . They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.” Those who trust in God are unshakable – they cannot be moved from their place of trust and tranquility.
This week’s Haftorah reading continues with words of comfort for the nation of Israel. The reading from the book of Isaiah speaks of Israel after redemption. Among the prophecies is this: “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light.”
One way of understanding these verses is that the sun and the moon represent the ups and downs in our lives. Everything is sunny, so we feel great. The sun sets, and maybe the moon is full or maybe it is barely seen and all is dark; we go into depressive darkness. God is telling us that this up-and-down cycle will be no more. We will always have the light of God to shine on us. No matter if it’s bright and sunny in our lives or dark and gloomy, we will always have light — meaning, we will be clear-headed and content no matter what.
Friends, let’s remember that we don’t have to wait for this prophecy to be fulfilled in order to live like that. We can decide right now to be like the righteous who never fear bad news. We can declare that we will remain peaceful and joyful no matter what our circumstances might be. When we place our full trust in God, there is no such thing as a bad day because every day brings gladness, peace, and divine illumination.
Primeval darkness heard the Almighty fiat, “light be,” and straightway light was, and the word of the Lord Jesus is equal in majesty to that ancient word of power. Redemption like Creation has its word of might. Jesus speaks and it is done. Leprosy yielded to no human remedies, but it fled at once at the Lord’s “I will.” The disease exhibited no hopeful signs or tokens of recovery, nature contributed nothing to its own healing, but the unaided word effected the entire work on the spot and for ever. The sinner is in a plight more miserable than the leper; let him imitate his example and go to Jesus, “beseeching Him and kneeling down to Him.” Let him exercise what little faith he has, even though it should go no further than “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean”; and there need be no doubt as to the result of the application. Jesus heals all who come, and casts out none. In reading the narrative in which our morning’s text occurs, it is worthy of devout notice that Jesus touched the leper. This unclean person had broken through the regulations of the ceremonial law and pressed into the house, but Jesus so far from chiding him broke through the law Himself in order to meet him. He made an interchange with the leper, for while He cleansed him, He contracted by that touch a Levitical defilement. Even so Jesus Christ was made sin for us, although in Himself He knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. O that poor sinners would go to Jesus, believing in the power of His blessed substitutionary work, and they would soon learn the power of His gracious touch. That hand which multiplied the loaves, which saved sinking Peter, which upholds afflicted saints, which crowns believers, that same hand will touch every seeking sinner, and in a moment make him clean. The love of Jesus is the source of salvation. He loves, He looks, He touches us, WE LIVE.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10) http://bibl.co/577
At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you. — Deuteronomy 28:29
The portion for this week is which means “when you have entered,” from Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8, and the
Many years ago, a friend who was very distraught called me. He had just discovered that his teenage daughter had been struggling with bulimia for almost a year. During this time, my friend hadn’t realized how his daughter would disappear after meal times to the bathroom for a prolonged amount of time. He hadn’t noticed that his daughter had grown withdrawn and quiet. But what upset him the most was that he was a medical professional, well-versed in eating disorders: “She is my own daughter! How can it be that I didn’t know?”
So many people in this world suffer in silence, and sometimes, those people are living in our own homes.
In this week’s Torah portion, we read both the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience. Among the curses for being disobedient, we read: “At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark.” If the cursed individual is blind, why does it matter whether it is midday or night? For the blind person, it is always dark!
One Jewish sage explained how this verse confused him until he came across a blind man walking with a torch at night. The sage asked him, “My son, what good is a torch to you if you cannot see?” The blind man responded, “With the torch, I still cannot see. However, other people can see me, and when they do, they look out for me and make sure that I don’t get into harm’s way.”
Now the sage could understand the curse in the verse. It’s one thing not to be able to see. In this case, it figuratively describes people’s state when they are confused or blinded to the truth. They can’t see what’s good for them or what’s bad for them. They are at great risk for harming themselves, and they suffer in the pain of not knowing what to do with their lives or how to lead joyful, meaningful lives. However, what is even worse is not being seen. Like a blind man at midday, there are those who suffer in broad daylight, but whose pain remains unseen.
Whether it is the thousands of nameless victims of terror across the world, a colleague at our workplace, or even members of our own family, we have to look out to see what is not easily seen. We have to hear the cries that are not easily heard. It might be God’s decision for a person to suffer, but it is still our duty to alleviate the suffering. Look deeper, listen more intently, and see beyond the surface. We can be the one to act and save a hurting soul.
“I will…remember their sins no more.”
Heb 8:12 NIV
When Satan brings up your past, remind him of what God has said: “I will…remember their sins no more.” It’s not that God’s forgetful; it’s that He chooses not to remember your sins. And when you choose otherwise, you question His forgiveness, allow the Enemy to guilt-trip you, and forfeit the confidence you need to receive what God has promised you (1Jn 3:21, 22). When you keep rehearsing your past you not only keep it alive, you empower it. What you keep on deposit, you’re more likely to withdraw and act on in a moment of weakness. Just as nobody knows when a dormant volcano may erupt, you can’t predict when an unresolved issue will resurface, turning your words into hot coals and your behavior into a blaze of destruction. Only by accepting God’s forgiveness, and forgiving yourself and others, can you break the hold your past has over you. Shame isn’t a blessing; it’s a weight Jesus bore for you on the cross. So set it down and walk away! God’s Word says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:12). Notice, there’s a North Pole and a South Pole, but no east or west pole. Why? Because that distance is infinite and beyond measure. Are you getting the idea? Any time Satan brings up your past it’s because he hopes you’re ignorant of the truth, or he fears your future and wants to rob you of it. Don’t take the bait! Point him to the cross of Christ, refuse to discuss it further, and keep moving forward.
It is well to be able, without any “if” or “but,” to say of the Lord Jesus-“Thou whom my soul loveth.” Many can only say of Jesus that they hope they love Him; they trust they love Him; but only a poor and shallow experience will be content to stay here. No one ought to give any rest to his spirit till he feels quite sure about a matter of such vital importance. We ought not to be satisfied with a superficial hope that Jesus loves us, and with a bare trust that we love Him. The old saints did not generally speak with “buts,” and “ifs,” and “hopes,” and “trusts,” but they spoke positively and plainly. “I know whom I have believed,” saith Paul. “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” saith Job. Get positive knowledge of your love of Jesus, and be not satisfied till you can speak of your interest in Him as a reality, which you have made sure by having received the witness of the Holy Spirit, and His seal upon your soul by faith. True love to Christ is in every case the Holy Spirit’s work, and must be wrought in the heart by Him. He is the efficient cause of it; but the logical reason why we love Jesus lies in Himself. Why do we love Jesus? Because He first loved us. Why do we love Jesus? Because He “gave Himself for us.” We have life through His death; we have peace through His blood. Though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor. Why do we love Jesus? Because of the excellency of His person. We are filled with a sense of His beauty! an admiration of His charms! a consciousness of His infinite perfection! His greatness, goodness, and loveliness, in one resplendent ray, combine to enchant the soul till it is so ravished that it exclaims, “Yea, He is altogether lovely.” Blessed love this-a love which binds the heart with chains more soft than silk, and yet more firm than adamant!