Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, October 28, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

God’s promise for Israel… please pray today.  Isa 54:10  Though the mountains depart and the hills be shaken, My love will not depart from you, nor will My covenant of peace be shaken, says Adonai who has compassion on you. Isa 54:11  Afflicted one, storm-tossed, unconsoled, behold, I set your stones in antimony, lay your foundations with sapphires, Isa 54:12  make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones. Isa 54:13  All your children will be taught by Adonai. Your children will have great shalom.  Lord, would You bring this to pass, speedily and in our days?  In Yeshua’s name, amen.

Commandments as Windows
by David Harwood

This is the first of four brief meditations written in 2004. I want to introduce an important principle that may help us get more from our study of the Scriptures. The principle is this:

God’s commandments are windows into His nature.

Every commandment He has given us reveals something about His nature. I’m speaking specifically about His ethical demands. Yet, even the various ordinances concerning clean and unclean (i.e. in Leviticus) can at least let us know that there are some things God considered clean and some He considered unclean.

So, what do the commandments of God tell us about who He is?

To answer that, let’s contemplate the heart of God’s ethical demands: the Ten Commandments. Most believers are probably familiar with them. For millennia multitudes used these commandments as their moral compass.  In fact, many of us have lived with a healthy fear of God our whole lives because we are aware of these rules. So, we fully understand that God says, “Do not steal,” “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not make or worship idols.”

But, why? Why “not steal?”

Is the point of this commandment to produce this attitude: “I will not steal because we are not supposed to steal?”  No; there is more significance to these commands than just an ethical code of conduct; they speak to us of God. But to understand what they are saying, we need an understanding of the context within which they were given.

The Purpose of the Commandments

Adonai‘s goal for Israel is evident from the beginning of their/our history.  From the first recorded encounters between God and His people this was clear: He wanted a relationship.  Consider His activity on their/our behalf. He guided them/us to where He dwelled, determined to dwell in our/their midst, and was bringing us/them to the place where He would establish His Name. The preserving of a covenant relationship is the context within which the Ten Commandments were given. Let’s look at a few verses:

He guided them/us to where He dwelled.

You in Your lovingkindness led the people You have redeemed. You guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation. (Exodus 15:13) 

He determined to dwell in our/their midst.

Then they will know that I am Adonai their God, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, so that I may live among them. I am Adonai their God. (Exodus 29:46)

He was bringing us/them to the place where He would establish His Name.

Rather you are to seek only the place Adonai your God chooses from all your tribes to put His Name to dwell—there you will come. (Deuteronomy 12:5)

The Ten Commandments begin with the statement, “I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” (Exodus 20:2) 

Note, this doesn’t say, “If you perfectly obey Me in all things you will qualify for a relationship with Me.  I will then be Adonai your God.”  Israel received these commands having already experienced the redemption of the Lord.  They/we were already in covenant with their Creator.

He said, “I am Adonai your God.”, not, “I will be Adonai your God”.

Please Pray:

Father, help us embrace the purpose of Your commands. You want a living relationship with us and we want the same with You. Give us wisdom. In Yeshua’s name.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 28-Oct-2023 13th of Cheshvan, 5784 Parashat Lech-Lecha
Ge 17:7-27 Isa 40:27-41:16 Ro 4:1-12