Deuteronomy 11:1, Love YHVH … and keep …his commandments.Compare this verse with what Yeshua said in John 14:15. When we understand that Yeshua is “YHVH your Elohim” does that not give us a new perspective about not only who Yeshua was/is, but his teachings in the Gospels? Does this shed new light on the issue when Paul said to “follow me as I follow the Messiah” (1 Cor 11:1)? What did Paul mean by this? Was Paul really pro-Torah?
Deuteronomy 11:8, That you may be strong.Obeying YHVH by keeping his Torah-commandments keep us strong. Strong is the Hebrew word chazaq meaning “to be strong, grow strong, to prevail, to be firm, be caught fast, be secure; to grow stout, grow rigid, to restore to strength, give strength, sustain, encourage, make bold, encourage, to repair, to withstand.”
Deuteronomy 11:13, If you will hearken. Stale versus fresh manna. In the Hebrew, this phrase literally reads, “If hearken, you will hearken….” Rashi (the Medieval Jewish Torah scholar) interprets the double usage of this verb to mean, “If [you] listen to the old, you will listen to the new” meaning that if one listens to what one has already learned by taking care to review and understand it, one will gain new insights or fresh insights into the Torah (The ArtScroll Sapirstein Edition Rashi—Devarim, p. 110; The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 995).
What does this teach us about studying YHVH’s Word consistently and regularly? YHVH gave the Israelites fresh (not stale) manna every day, even as he watered the land of Israel with the early (fall) and latter (spring) rains (a symbol for spiritual refreshment), so that the land would be fruitful without the need of man-made irrigation systems. Manna and rain both came from heaven and are used as figures of speech Hebraically to represent Torah-truth.
Is your life being renewed regularly with fresh revelation and insights into the Word of YHVH, into his very heart and character? Does this not refresh, nourish and sustain the ground of your life, so that it yields an abundant spiritual crop of joy, shalom, intimacy with the Father and anointing? Is your life a place of fresh manna and constant rain, or a place of stale bread and drought? If so, what changes do you need to make in your life to change this situation?
Deuteronomy 11:14, Grain [wheat and oats]…wine…oil.(See also Gen 27:28; Ps 104:15.) These were the three most important agricultural crops in ancient Israel. These three foods represented what are known today as the three basic nutritive elements: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The yield of these crops were easily stored for long periods in the hot, dry climate, and kings laying in supplies at forts and strongholds for possible siege and war included these crops (e.g. 2 Chron 11:11; 22:28; Golden Jerusalem, by Menashe Har-El, p. 11).
Deuteronomy 11:18–19, Lay up these words. Read and meditate on this passage. Look at the phrases: in your heart, in your soul, between your eyes, teach and speak. How are you walking these commandments out in your life? Are you doing so with consistency, or only here and there?
Deuteronomy 11:26–28, A blessing and a curse. Each person must choose which path he will take. This passage begins with the words, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if you will obey the commandments of YHVH your Elohim, which I command you this day; and a curse, if you will not obey the commandments of YHVH your Elohim, to go after other gods, which you have not known” (Deut 11:26–28). YHVH sets before each person two paths: the path of blessing and the path of curses. Each person individually must choose which path he will follow.
After this, in verse 29, YHVH instructs the Israelites that upon entering the Promised Land, they are to stop between the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, which are located at the entry point of the land. The former mountain represents a blessing, while the later represents a curse. The town of Shechem is located between the two mountains. The Hebrew word shechem means “shoulder” or “back”. The shoulder supports the head, which through the disposition of the mind and the direction in which the head is pointed, determines the path a person will walk whether good or evil.
It was at Shechem, between the two mountains representing good and evil, that Israel renewed its covenant with YHVH before entering the Promised Land (Josh 8:30–35). The power of the covenant that the people made with YHVH on that day thousands of years ago is still visible in the modern land of Israel: Mount Ebal is bare and devoid of vegetation, while Mount Gerizim is lush and green with foliage. This fact stands as a loud testimony and reminder to man today to the power of blessing and cursing, and to the reality and validity of YHVH’s Torah, its covenants and its ability to bless or curse us depending on whether we obey it or not.
Israel renewed its covenant with YHVH at Shechem at the plains (or oak trees) of Moreh (Deut 11:30). What was significant about this place? This was this exact spot, at the entry point to the Promised Land, that YHVH had established his covenant with Abraham some 500 years earlier. We read about this in Genesis 12:6, “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem unto the plain [or oak] of Moreh [or teacher].” And it was to this same spot that YHVH brought Israel to renew his promises he had made to Abraham. It was there YHVH would begin to teach them to walk victoriously and righteously before him in their promised inheritance IF they would choose to obey his Torah (or his instructions in righteousness) and to turn their backs on the pagan gods and practices of the nations around them. It was at the same spot that Jacob, upon entering the Promised Land, buried all his family’s false gods and pagan accoutrements (Gen 35:4).
YHVH is calling his people today to make the same choice as the end times saints prepare to enter into our promised inheritance as YHVH’s kings and priests ruling with Yeshua in his millennial kingdom on this earth (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). Presently, YHVH is urging his people to come out of spiritual Babylon (Rev 18:4)—to come out from the world and to be separate and to touch no unclean thing (2 Cor 6:17).
As noted earlier, this passage of Scripture starts with Israel having to choose between the blessing and the curse—obeying YHVH’s commands, which leads to life, or disobeying them, which leads to death (Deut 11:26; see also 30:15–20). Making the right choices as we go through life is what determines our outcome both here on earth and eternally in our next life, whether good or bad, life or death.
Earlier YHVH declared that it was Israel’s spiritual destiny to become a nation of priests (Exod 19:6), and as such Israel would become an example to the nations of the world of YHVH’s righteousness and the wisdom of Torah if they chose to obey him (Deut 4:6–8).
Today YHVH is calling his people who have put their faith in Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, to be a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9), and to prepare to reign with Yeshua as kings and priests in his millennial kingdom (Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). But first they must learn to reign over the kingdom of their own lives by overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil. To be a priest of YHVH Elohim requires that each person choose righteousness over wickedness, the holy (set-apart) over the profane (that which is defiled, polluted or worldly, see Ezek 44:23; 22:26).
One cannot represent a holy, set-apart, sinless and righteous Elohim before the nations of the world unless one is set-apart (from the world) oneself. Yeshua told his disciples that though they were in the world, they were not to be of the world (John 17:11, 14). YHVH admonished his people to be holy or set-apart as he is holy or set-apart (Lev 11:44 and 45), and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews declares, “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see YHVH” (Heb 12:14).
One cannot choose that which is holy (kodosh or set-apart) from that which is unholy (defiled or polluted) unless one knows what is holy and what is not. YHVH, not man, determines what is holy. To guide man in the walk of holiness, in the rest of this Torah portion, YHVH outlines various times, places, things, actions and foods that are holy to him by which his people can enter into holiness and have holy communion with him. For example, there are holy times (the weekly Sabbath, YHVH’s annual festivals and the sabbatical year), holy places (where YHVH places his name for his people to gather to worship him), holy food (clean verses unclean meats), holy income (our material income is sanctified or made holy through our tithing a portion of it to YHVH), holy lips (YHVH’s people are forbidden to allow the names of pagan deities to come on their lips, and to take YHVH’s name in vain), and YHVH’s people are to destroy any pagan, corrupting, defiling influences (the false gods of the heathens) by putting these things out of their lives.
Being holy or set-apart is the saint’s mission and destiny as YHVH’s set-apart people, and whether we attain to the high level of holiness to which he calls us all depends on the choices we make, for good or for evil, whether we obey YHVH or to disobey him.
Deuteronomy 11:27–28, That you hearken … If you do not hearken.The Jewish sages point out that he phrase “that to hear [Heb. shema]” is a metaphor for blessing, while “to not hear [lo-shema]” is a metaphor for cursing (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 999). Hearing and doing, in Hebraic thought and according to the meaning of the Hebrew word shema, are synonymous. If one hears, but does not do what he has heard, then he has not heard. Hearing, Hebraically, is more than an auditory function, but involves the activation of the heart resulting in corresponding actions resulting in either blessing (if one hears and obeys YHVH’s Word) or curses (if one does not hear and obey YHVH’s Word). Scripture prophesies that in the future a problem would arise among the people of YHVH. The problem would not be a famine of food and water, but of the ability to hear (shema) and to do the Word of Elohim (Amos 8:11). Likewise, Isaiah prophesied that there would be those who would say (or “draw near with their mouths”), but who would not do (“but their hearts are far from me,” Isa 29:13). Yeshua accused the religious hypocrites of his day of doing the same thing (Matt 15:8–9). Examine your words and corresponding actions. Do they perfectly align, or do you stand convicted before YHVH of disobedience and hypocrisy?