Torah – Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 Haftarah – Isaiah 60:1-22 Brit Chadashah – Ephesians 1:3-6; Revelation 21:10-27
Parasha (portion) Ki Tavo (when you go in) is one that paints a beautiful picture for us to understand and live out in our day.
As we continue in the month of Elul, a Holy time of repentance and returning to G-d, I am going to focus on a single point and perhaps be a bit uncharacteristically brief.
Moshe (Moses) on behalf of G-d is charging the people with instructions prior to crossing the Jordan river and entering the Promised Land. They are being called to remember all the Mitzvot (Commands). But one particular instruction stands out to me this year above all. We will even take a quick look into verses from the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) that are not actually included in the above readings.
Deuteronomy 27:1-8, “Now Moses, with the elders of Israel, commanded the people, saying: “Keep all the commandments which I command you today. 2 “And it shall be, on the day when you cross over the Jordan to the land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you, that you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime. 3 “You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have crossed over, that you may enter the land which the L-RD your G-d is giving you, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ just as the L-RD G-d of your fathers promised you. 4 “Therefore it shall be, when you have crossed over the Jordan, [that] on Mount Ebal you shall set up these stones, which I command you today, and you shall whitewash them with lime. 5 “And there you shall build an altar to the L-RD your G-d, an altar of stones; you shall not use an iron [tool] on them. 6 “You shall build with whole stones the altar of the L-RD your G-d, and offer burnt offerings on it to the L-RD your G-d. 7 “You shall offer peace offerings, and shall eat there, and rejoice before the L-RD your G-d. 8 “And you shall write very plainly on the stones all the words of this law.”
The people are called to be a Holy, set apart people that point to the world encompassing them to the One, True and Living G-d. As such, they are instructed to erect these stones that are covered on the outside with plaster and are to inscribe them with all the Commands of G-d for all the world to see.
I really like what the sages have to say about verse 8 specifically with regards to the phrase, “very plainly.” They say that what this meant was that they were to inscribe the Mitzvot in all 70 languages that were spoken on the Eretz (Earth) at that time. What a picture! These Commands are indeed for all people, the Jewish people were the people that were chosen to bring this way of living to the world.
Remember that the plain text is exactly what it says it is. This was literally the instructions given and carried out by a very real people at a very real point in our history.
I want to encourage you to consider the fact that on a deeper level we are all called to erect such stones. What I mean is that we are called to be living stones in G-d’s Kingdom. We ought to have His Word in us to the point that it shows in very real, tangible ways on the outside just like the physical stones we just read about. They should be a testimony to the world around us. Our lives and very presence ought to convict the world of their sin, transgression of Torah all while pointing to the Perfect Remedy offered by Yeshua (Jesus.)
1 Peter 2:1-9, “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3
if indeed you have tasted that the L-rd [is] gracious. 4 Coming to Him [as to] a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by G-d [and] precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to G-d through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” 7 Therefore, to you who believe, [He is] precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 9 But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
May we all continue to return to HaShem (YHVH) as we move closer to the Fall Feast Days of ADONAI. May we also work to be greater and more effective living stones. Shalom!