רְאֵה
Re’eh / See
Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17
HafTorah Portion Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Brit Chadasha 1 John 4:16

     The Simple Choice of Reality...
     Reality has choices. Everyone has their own reality, whether created by culture, environment, past events or future dreams.  But there is a reality that is absolute and eternal. That is the reality of God.
     Through out Deuteronomy, Moses defines that reality for the next generation and for all generations. He is doing so as a preface to what is about to follow in the next many chapters of Devarim. He is defining the reality of the Torah in simple terms.
     Deuteronomy 11:26-29 “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.”
     This continues even more powerfully in Deuteronomy 30:15-20. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
     To obey the Creator of the Universe should not be a complex issue.  We either do or we don’t. When we do, we live in His reality with choices that are a benefit for us and our descendants. When we don’t, we create our own reality without the blessings that come from the Eternal.  It is a simple choice.  

 

רְאֵה
Re’eh / See
Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17


     This Torah portion begins in Deuteronomy 11:26 ‘See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse –the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods which you have not known.’
     Re’eh follows Ekev, a parsha that contains so many of the blessings that God offers to His people if we obey Him, if we observe His statutes and listen to Him.  Re’eh continues with the instructions regarding blessings and curses, depending on our obedience or our rebellion.
     There is a key verse within Re’eh, Deuteronomy 12:10 ‘But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and He will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety.’
     In the Tanakh, the Jordan River / Nehar haYarden, is mentioned about 175 times as a source of fertility for Israel. It is also the scene of many biblical battles, is mentioned approximately 15 times in the Brit Chadasha and is the place of the mikveh of Yeshua, Matthew 3:13
      Jordan/Yarden translates as Descender. Most of its water originates 9,232 feet above sea level on Mount Hermon in the far north. The river then flows south into the Sea of Galilee continuing to exit at the southern tip of the Galilee descending south about 1,378 feet below sea level where it empties into the Dead Sea.
      A prophesy in Ezekiel describes a new river of life that will restore the Dead Sea which is fed by the Jordan. “When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. …Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets… Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river…Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:8-12.
      Revelation 22:1-2 describes the Jordan as a new river of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God.
     The people crossed over the Jordan in Joshua 3. Miraculously the river split open and the people crossed on dry riverbed.
     Elisha sent Naaman to bathe in the Jordan where he was healed of leprosy, 2 Kings 5:14.
     Elisha reclaimed a borrowed axe head that had sunk in the waters by causing it to float to the surface, 2 Kings 6:6.
    But what is the significance of crossing over? Abram was called “Abraham the Hebrew” in Genesis 14:13, which is the first time that the word is used in the Bible. Where did this term come from, and what does it mean? The word “Hebrew” in the Hebrew language is עברי (Ivrie). The root letters are used to mean cross over, or pass through. Abraham earned the name “Ivrie”, or “One that has traversed” to be referring to the fact that he came from the other side of the river. He and his family had traveled from close to the river Euphrates, crossed over into Haran, and then God called him back over the river again to the land which we now know to be Israel.
     Joshua recounts this historic act in verses 24:4-15. At the end of the section, Joshua states what we are to do: ‘Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” 
      He seems to clarify that when one crosses over, we leave the pagan gods behind, on the other side of the river, or we should. For Joshua the symbolism was clear: on one side of the river is idol worship, but we have left that life behind when we crossed over to the other side. Now we will serve the Lord.  Joshua closes with a declaration that is to this day well known.   As we cross over into God’s ways and the forgiveness that we have received, thanks to the blood of the Messiah, we have crossed over from death to life – from darkness to light. We have left our old life “beyond the river” and gone through the other side, into a whole new life.
     Throughout Scripture, God reiterates for us to return to Him. To return /Teshuva to something we must have been there before. It is Elohim who formed us from the earth, it is Elohim who created the holy soul within us.  Therefore, He was always with us.  It is us who have wandered and left His covering. When we ‘cross over’ we are actually crossing back to His Torah, His life, His Truth.  We find our way back.
     In the beginning of this parsha, Deuteronomy 11:26-28 Moses defines reality, what it is to cross over; ‘See, I am setting before you today the blessing and the curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.’
     Later in Deuteronomy he reiterates the purpose of our life, of crossing over. ‘See, I set before you today life and the good, death and the bad… This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore choose life so you and your children after you may live.  Deuteronomy 30:15-19.
     Once we accept the choice of free will, and cross over into a life with Elohim, we understand the depth of 2 Chronicles 16:9 ‘For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in them whose heart is committed [loyal] toward Him.”  The Word of God contains many other commandments; however, the highest expression of our obedience to God is loyalty.
     He requires such unwavering allegiance that He says in this Torah portion that even if one should try to entice them to secretly seek after and serve other gods, the enticer must be put to death - Deuteronomy 13:6–11 ‘If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.’
     True followers of Yeshua are also God’s segulah: “… a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9.
     We are to choose to see. We are to choose life, to cross over into a world where God is sovereign and reigns in our lives.

    Baruch HaShem!

 רְאֵה
Re’eh To See
Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17

    Re’eh opens with: ‘Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.’ Deuteronomy 11:26-28.
     Moshe repeats this at the end of Deuteronomy:
     “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live…’ ‘I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice…’ Deuteronomy 30:15-16 and Deuteronomy 30:19.
    Moshe is defining reality for the children of God. This is in a sense a big picture of the entire Torah, the reality of the 613 commandments/mitzvohs.  Moshe is saying, ‘Despite the details, the choice God sets before you is really quite simple.’  This is what God truly wants us to see/Re'eh.
     Moses is setting before us a great history lesson and a lesson for the future: we live if we choose life.  We cannot survive as a set apart people among nations, worshipping what they worship and living as they live. If we do, we will be subject to the law that has dominated the fate of nations from the beginning of time to today. Cultures are born, they grow, they flourish, they become complacent and apathetic, then corrupt, then divided, then defeated, and then they die, only to be obscurely remembered. This relates to our spiritual life and death today as well.  If we merge into ‘the nations’ worshipping other gods and idols, we have made the choice of death, which will be a darker death than simply physical for now it becomes spiritual, happening as we walk the earth death; eventually morphing into a complete physical death.
     What is it to obey and love the Lord with all our hearts, mind and being? Re’eh continues with the blessings and the curses of our choice to choose God rather than the world.
     Chapter 12 speaks of one place to worship, in comparison to the Canaanites that worshiped their many gods in many locations, usually on high hills or under trees.  Could this elude to John 14:6? ‘Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ He is One, He is The Way and He and the Father are One, He is the entity that brings worship unto The Father.
     Deuteronomy chapter 13 is very clear on the fate of a false prophet and one who listens to a false prophet and the fate of the family member who tries to entice one to worship other gods.  Chapter 13 closes with the fate of an entire city that worships other gods and idols.
     Deuteronomy 14 continues with improper mourning, kashrut and tithing principles. In regards to mourning Moses reiterates: ‘…you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.’  Elisha had an encounter with this pagan practice in 1 Kings 18:20-40.
     Chapter 15 deals with the canceling of debts, freeing servants and the firstborn animals.  The relationship with us today in regards to these three categories is so prophetic as we walk in His Torah with Yeshua. This has to do with release  shmittahin in Hebrew which indicates a cancellation of one’s indebtedness that often involved servitude in a very literal way in ancient times.
     Canceling of debts: Matthew 18:32- ‘Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.’ As does Colossians 2:14 in regards to the debt of sin and death, ‘…having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.’
     Freeing the servants:  John 18:32 ‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’
Romans 8:2 ‘For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.’
     The firstborn: Birth order matters to God. We see this in parsha Bo, and continuing in Exodus 13:2 ‘Consecrate to Me every first-born; human and beast, the first [male] issue of every womb among the Israelites is Mine”.  In Exodus and Numbers, we see that the firstborn belongs to God, as do the first fruits of one's field or flock or herd, and must be redeemed (Exodus 13:1, 22:28, 34:20; Numbers 18:12-18). For a brief time before the Golden Calf, all firstborn sons were consecrated to serve in the Tabernacle (Numbers 8:16-19).  The Renewed Covenant continues with:
     Romans 8:29 ‘For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;’
     Colossians 1:15 ‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.’
     Hebrews 1:6 ‘And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "And let all the angels of God worship Him.’
     Colossians 1:18 ‘He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.’
     Revelation 1:5 ‘…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—‘
     Re’eh closes with reviewing Pesach, Shavout and Sukkot.  In Deuteronomy 16:11 in regards to Shavout, God states: ‘…at the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.’  In Deuteronomy 13:15 in regards to Sukkot God states: ‘… in the place which the Lord chooses…’ And in Deuteronomy 16:16 God states in regards to the three pilgrimage moadim, ‘Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.’ 
      Deuteronomy 16:20 states how we shall live: ‘ You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord your God is giving you.’
    When we live just, we live in Torah-life.  We follow His ways and serve Him along with one another in truth, righteousness, loving kindness, purity, honesty, integrity and peace.  When we deviate from these things, we deviate from the life and the peace that comes from walking in the statutes of God.
    Blessings as you study Re’eh.