Thoughts on Eikev

canstockphoto0885276This week’s Parasha is Eikev, Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25.[i] The Haftarah, being the Second Shabbat of Consolation, is from Isaiah 49:14 – 51:3. The reading from the Apostolic Writings, according to the Chayai Yeshua schedule, is Luke 24:13–32. I encourage you to read through these Scriptures to see how the Ruach would speak to you this Shabbat.

In the world, it is often said that “seeing is believing.” According to the Apostolic Writings, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1). In the Apostolic Writings this week we read about Yeshua’s post-resurrection encounter with the disciples on the road to Emmas,

Now behold, two of them on that very day were traveling to a village named Emmaus, a distance of about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were speaking with one another about all the things that had been happening. While they were talking and discussing, Yeshua Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. (Luke 24:13-16)

At first read, it seems a little odd that these disciples, these followers of Yeshua, did not recognize Him. But for some reason, their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. More amazing is that when we read the entire passage, we realize that these were not merely individuals who were somewhat familiar with the events of Yeshua’s life, but they actually seemed to have a relation with Him. It wasn’t until after Yeshua explained the Scriptures to them that their eyes were opened, and they knew who He was (Luke 24:32).

In the Haftarah we find a similar situation. The prophet Isaiah, in the midst of offering consolation and hope asks,

Who among you fears ADONAI? Who hears the voice of His servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the Name of ADONAI and lean on his God. (Isaiah 50:10)

Isaiah is not speaking to the nations of the world who do not know the God of Israel, but he is talking plainly to the disciplined ones of the remnant of Israel & Judah. Sight is not possible as the people walk in darkness. The very presence of ADONAI, which once dwelt in the midst of Israel, was no longer present. He seems to have removed Himself in the process of disciplining them for their iniquities. In his commentary on Isaiah, Rabbi Scherman notes,

Trust…and rely upon (trust and lean on) One trusts in something that may not seem logical. One relies upon something tangible and understandable. Righteous people should seek natural means to rely upon, without expecting miracles, but they must always trust that ultimately their salvation will come from God, even if the rules of nature, economics, and war do not give them hope. (Tzidkas HaTzaddik)[ii]

Furthermore, Rashi comments, concerning the ones …who went in darkness, “Even if trouble comes upon him, let him trust in the name of the LORD, for He shall save him.”[iii]

These notes from our sages sound a lot like the encouragement from Hebrews 11. Even when the hand of HaShem is not seen or His comforting grace not felt, He is still there waiting to be revealing once again. However, He desires for us to seek Him and not attempt to deal with life in the darkness on our own. A note from the Life Application Bible expands on the problem in which we often find ourselves, when we do not “feel” God’s presence, or we actively walk away on our own,

If we walk by our own light and reject God’s, we become self-sufficient, and the result of self-sufficiency is torment. When we place confidence in our own intelligence, appearance, or accomplishments instead of in God, we risk torment later when these strengths fade.[iv]

But the compiler of Mishlei provides us with this simple, well-known instruction, “Trust in Adonai with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding,” (Proverbs 3:5).

Considering “light” in the bracha Sim Shalom, the last in the Shacharit Amidah, we recite, “Bless us our Father, all as one, with the light of Your face, for by the light of Your face You have given us, LORD our God, the Torah of life, and love of kindness, righteousness, blessing, compassion, life and peace.”[v] As those on the road to Emmas had their eyes opened and enlightened, so too each of us needs to have our eyes kept open continually to the “light of His face.”

Open the eyes of my heart LORD,
Open the eyes of my heart,
I want to see You, I want to see You…[vi]

Shabbat Shalom

[i] Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptures are from the Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

[ii] Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Prophets, The Later Prophets, Brooklyn, Mesorah Publications, 2013, p 387.

[iii] https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15981/jewish/Chapter-50.htm#showrashi=true

[iv] Life Application Bible, NIV, Wheaton, Tyndale House Publishers, 1991, p. 1256.

[v] Sir Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Koren Siddur, Jerusalem, Koren Publishers Jerusalem, Ltd, 2009, p 132.

[vi] Open the Eyes of My Heart, written by Paul Baloche, 2000.

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