Weekly Torah Commentary – Ki Tavo September 23, 2016

Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

The famous list of blessings and curses is found in this week’s Torah portion.  As we look at these, it’s important to remember that God’s covenant with Abraham was unconditional while the Mosaic covenant is conditional.  The recurring phrase ‘If you will…I will…’ appears no less than forty times in the Torah!


If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully keep all His commands that I am giving you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the world.  You will experience ALL these blessings if you obey the LORD your God.  28:1-2

So what are all these blessings?  They are specifically listed in verses 3 – 12 of chapter 28 and I encourage you to read them for yourself, slowly and thoughtfully.  Verse 6 summarizes them blessings this way: Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed.

Wow! What a great promise? Aah…but remember the conditions!  If you obey the LORD your God and walk in His ways…..

The only way you and I can obey God is by knowing and understanding what it is that He requires of us.  We learn that by consistently studying His revealed Word.  Purposely establishing a set time in our daily routine to spend some time reading and pondering what the Bible has to say is not a luxury; it is mandatory to those who are serious about walking in the blessings of God.

‘But I’m so busy,’ you may protest.  I understand.  So am I.  However, let’s be honest.  We human beings are masters at finding time to do the things we really want to do.  If we ‘don’t have time’ for the Bible, what we are saying is that it’s not that important to me.  I guarantee if you take a hard look at how you spend your time from day to day, you will find a way to carve out 15-30 minutes for Bible reading and meditation.

How about limiting yourself to 30 minutes less on Facebook?  I recently read an article claiming that the average adult spends up to four hours on social media per day!!!

Or getting up 30 minutes earlier to begin each day with God’s Word?

Or turning off the TV 30 minutes earlier in the evening and taking that time for Bible reading?   Stay-at-home Moms with young children, how about pulling out your Bible when the little ones are napping?

There are so many ways that we can make it work – we just need the ‘want to’ !

Look at the list of blessings again:

*…your towns and your fields will be blessed…

*…your children and your crops…

*…the offspring of your animals

*…your food supply  (fruit baskets and bread boards)

*…rain will fall at the appropriate times to water your crops

*…the Lord Himself will conquer your enemies for you

and more…

By contrast, the curses for disobedience are lengthy – 47 verses!  It’s a worthwhile exercise to read through those verse as well, keeping in mind that it is not God’s desire to ‘curse’ anyone.  We curse ourselves when we refuse to obey His instructions.

Look at verse 15: But if you refuse to listen to the LORD your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you.

We need to understand that these ‘curses’ are societal, national.  What each one does, how each one lives does in fact have an effect on the whole of society. We are ‘our brother’s keeper’ to a degree and no man lives only to himself.  We cannot hide ourselves away in our homes, caring nothing for what is happening in our city or in our nation.

This week’s Torah portion calls us to strengthen our community consciousness.

In Tune with Torah this week = by all means, make the time to read chapter 28 of Deuteronomy – all of it.  What contribution are you making to the well being of your family, your immediate community, your city and your nation?  What changes are called for?

Shabbat Shalom


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