For the week of August 27, 2005 / 22 Av 5765
Torah: Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:12 - 11:25
Haftarah: Isaiah 49:14 - 51:3


Higher Matters

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:3)

As Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses reviewed and reflected upon their experiences of being delivered from Egypt and their subsequent wilderness wanderings. Through those years it seems that God was at work to bring about a fundamental change in their life perspective.

It seems that the people of Israel, like most of us, tended to be concerned about their survival. We view life as it relates to our own needs and wants. But that is not how God intended us to live. As his beloved creatures we were designed to depend on him – our Father in heaven – to care for us, while we were to be concerned about our God-given task of subduing the Earth.

Because of our first parents' rebellion again God, we have been bent, so to speak, away from our Father and Creator, and bent toward ourselves. We have become our own caregivers. In fact we have become our own lords and masters instead of servants of the Great King.

Israel's experience in the wilderness was partly the means through which God sought to restore them to our originally intended posture. Through God's ongoing miraculous provision, the people were called to understand that their life focus was not to be one of looking out for themselves. Rather, true living was to be discovered by being attentive to God's word.

Yeshua the Messiah reiterated this so well, when he said,

So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)

This way of thinking is so radically different from what would be understood as normal. Both Moses and Yeshua are telling us that we are not alone in the universe. We have a Father who loves us and cares for our needs. In fact he cares for us in such practical ways that we don't need to be concerned about them ourselves. This doesn't mean that our physical needs are not important. It is just that we don't need to give our hearts to them. What we need to be concerned about are the higher matters of life. We should be concerned about God's kingdom: his rule in us and in the world around us; and his righteousness: the keeping of God's standards and living according to his ways.

We were created by God to be his emissaries on Earth. He has put his heavenly resources at our disposal. Why then would we live solely for ourselves, our needs and desires, when God has promised to take care of us? Instead let us tune our ears to what he is saying, allowing ourselves to be drawn to higher matters, and live life accordingly.

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