CANDLEGLOW LESSON: RE’EH
(Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17) Week 47
Parashah RE’EH (SEE) was an amazing visual then and now, for God’s people to SEE that there are only two Kingdoms; the Kingdom of LIGHT, and the Kingdom of DARKNESS. There are only two choices to be made moment by moment as we live out our lives. Our lives matter greatly, not only to us, but to our families, our communities, and to the world. Will we seek the Kingdom of LIGHT and lean into the ascent for it, or will we sink, to the Kingdom of DARKNESS, and the descent into it? Our lives matter, because there IS a cause and effect which affects our children and their children.
It was in the Valley between the two mountains, imposing their shadows over the Nation of Israel and over the Ark of the Covenant, which held the stone tablets etched by the finger of God, that the collective minds and hearts of God’s chosen Nation saw with their own eyes; there were only two options to choose from! There were only blessings or curses to come on the heels of their choices to honor or dishonor the rulings of a Holy God. In Parashah RE’EH (SEE) we can see with our eyes and prayerfully, with the eyes of our hearts, how obedience to the instructions of Torah brings blessings; only blessings!
It is in the valley of our choosing where we must see with clarity, the verdant life of Mount G’rizim against the barrenness of Mount ‘Eival. The result of sin is death. The result of a life of turning from Mount G’rizim to Mount ‘Eival will harden our hearts like Pharaoh’s, ushering in a self-fulfilling prophecy. We curse our own lives, by our rebellion against God’s prescription for life, in His word.
This is the Lesson of the Lay of the Land. The Covenant Land of Israel was new territory; new to the Nation of Israel, but not new to Adonai. He who breathed out creation as His lips released, Let there be light, (Yehi’ Or) breathed the two mountains into existence for that very day recorded in Parashah RE’EH. The appointed tribes, who carried the royal DNA of the Messiah, stood in the valley of decision, looking to the left and to the right, in the defining moment of consideration of the narrow choice offered from the mouth of Moses, as he repeated the warnings from Adonai.
This is the Lesson of the Lay of the Land. As I ran and prayed out the story to the Lord, asking for revelation this morning, I saw myself standing in the valley of decision. The mountains were imposing and towered over me; pointing up to heaven. Both mountains rose high into the sky in the direction of God’s throne, casting shadows over me as I stood in the dark valley. I prayed, “Lord, every moment I am in this valley I have a choice! Every day there will be temptations, moving my head to the left or to the right. Father, I want to choose life and your ways, for all of my days. Help me to see with the eyes of my heart, the two mountains of decision, and your ways, versus the ways of the world! May my choices which are governed by the prescriptive life of the Children of the LIGHT “hit the mark” for your Kingdom, and leave an arrow imbedded in the heart of the matter; God’s way is my way!”
This is the Lesson of the Lay of the Land. The land before us has rivers separating territories yet to be conquered for the Kingdom of God. We are commissioned, as His Wild Olive Branch, the grafted-in adoptees of The Most-High, to cross over rivers into new, expanded territory. May we plant the banner of Adonai on Mount G’rizim today, and every day of our lives. May we shun the shadow of Mount ‘Eival and turn toward the Mountain of Life.
There is a pathway in the valley that leads to life; the Mountain of Blessings; the Mountain of God. Choose right! Choose well! Be blessed!
CANDLEGLOW LESSON FOR SHABBAT
As we consider this Shabbat rest in the Lord in the candle glow of The Lesson in the Wilderness from Parashah RE’EH, we see clearly how God uses visual lessons to teach the Nation of Israel. The recorded history of this Torah nation educates us today in the ways of the Lord. God uses real life lessons to etch His truth upon our minds and hearts. The result of “hands on ~ minds on” learning is not simply an intellectual exercise! Any good Montessori teacher can explain the principal of using all of one’s senses in learning to etch the lesson in our memory and experience through experiential teaching.
This is exactly how ADONAI approached His chosen people, who were His children. He used all their senses to teach them TORAH truths. TORAH in Hebrew translates into, The Way to Go. ADONAI used the Wilderness lessons as visual, auditory, sensorial, practical principals which were to become their ‘prescription for living’ a sanctified and blessed life as individuals, and as a nation. There would be narrow choices, and the perfect visual lesson was the verdant and fruitful Mountain, G’rizim, standing next to the barren, lifeless, limestone Mountain, ‘Eival.
Many times we find ourselves standing in our own personal Valley of Decision, considering choices, actions, beliefs, and their results. After all, there are results to our actions which are birthed from our belief systems. As children of the LIGHT, we are called to a Biblical World View, in order to consider our lives against the backdrop of the culture of the day. There are only two views. One view of life lived in the culture of today will be in agreement with the masses, which may represent what is “legal”, but does not guarantee goodness or moral uprightness. There have been thousands of laws made and recorded, which bring death, not life. The results will not be a prescription for what God considers good. The Laws of men, trusting in their own understanding alone, will never bring about life for their people.
Another view of life lived in the culture of today will be in agreement with God’s word as the plumb-line of our belief system. Some may call this legalism. How very ironic; when legalism always brings darkness and death. However, using the Bible as God’s teaching for mankind always brings enlightenment into His heart, and His heart is abounding in mercy, grace, forgiveness, blessings, and faithfulness! If our plumb-line for life is imbedded in God’s instruction, then we have found His heart!
Lastly, there is a third attempt at finding “The Way”, and for many people throughout Biblical history and today, an attempt to transcend a simple Worldview, verses a Biblical Worldview, is watered down into a new, more palatable blend of some of both. After all, by attempting to blend both a Worldview and a Biblical Worldview together might make our journey more enjoyable, less stringent, and friendlier to more people? The answer is yes, it might do all this temporarily. However, we are called by a Holy God to be set apart, as the Nation of Israel was to be. A better visual description might be, to be like the biblical “City on a Hill”.
Living out a lukewarm life by never leaving the Valley of Decision is NO decision. The Lord calls His own to take up His banner, the Cross of Christ, as we live on this earth, so as to be salt and light to the masses of lost hearts and souls. It is by shining our light into the encroaching darkness that we light up our presence here on the earth, just like that “City on a Hill“.
It reminds me of my first trip to Barcelona, looking up to the tops of the Mountainous boundaries in Spain on that very first night. I saw the most intriguing Cathedral, lit and ablaze against the night sky, at the highest point of the highest mountain. I could not take my eyes off of its beauty! The very next morning we booked a private car to take us to this “Cathedral on a Hill”. I will never forget this experience and how drawn I was to know more. The tour of this Cathedral the next day has impacted my life! As I tell you my stories, they are always fresh for me.
This is the perfect story for Parashah RE’EH (SEE). Are we shining against the night sky? Are we ablaze with something others SEE and desire to know more about because of the beauty of the light in us? This Sabbath, may we seek His light on His Mountain, and make our decision! May we HIT THE MARK of His heart, by leaning into HIS ways. TORAH! The way to go.