3 Tammuz 5779 \ July 6th, 2019
By Rabbi Kirk Gliebe
This Week’s Readings:
Torah: Numbers 16:1-18:32
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 11:14-12:22
Brit Chadashah: Acts 7:44-53
We have many choices in our American society. Just take a moment and consider how many options you have for breakfast cereal or frozen pizzas! Having options to choose from is nice when it comes to breakfast, but when it comes to obeying G-d and following Him we must understand that we really do not have a choice: G-d expects us to obey him and his leading whether we feel like obeying him or not! G-d is G-d, and those who obey him out of proper motivation do so because they recognize Him and love Him for who He is; the One who loves them first.
The Torah Portion recalls the incident where Korah and some others decided that since they were Levites that they should also be leaders, even though G-d had made it clear that it was Moses and Aaron who were the rightful leaders of the people. The text literally says that they were “Gathered against the L-RD". Why did they do this? They were jealous and prideful, so they chose to serve G-d in their own way. They thought they were opposing Moses and Aaron, but they were really opposing G-d, and G-d brought quick judgment!
The Haftarah Portion relates when the Israelis decided that they wanted to have a King like all the other nations. It is not a sin to want a king, but it was a sin for them to want a king because when they were making this choice the people were actually rejecting G-d as their King! The text says that their motivations were wrong. The people demanded a King so they could be like the nations around them. G-d ended up letting them have their way. He gave them Saul as their King, but then G-d judged them for their improper motives by ruining their Wheat harvest.
The Brit Chadashah Portion was part of a sermon by an early Jewish believer named Steven who challenged some unbelievers with the faithlessness of our Jewish fathers. So often we forget that most of the Scriptures recall our lack of faith in G-d as a Jewish people. Our people followed our own inclinations, and resisted the instruction of G-d. So much of Jewish history relates how G-d had to judge us for our rebellion.
G-d demands heart based obedience from those who are His. G-d has given us sincere freedom to choose, but He holds us accountable to our choices. Are we really trusting and obeying G-d in the daily actions of our lives? Have we been intentionally applying his instructions and commandments to the way we are actually living each day? What are our true motivations? Let us humbly recall that we are just like our ancestors: we are quick to rebel against G-d and his ways and quick to disobey G-d and his instructions. Pray and plead with G-d to help you to make the right choice: quickly and intentionally obey and follow G-d according to His instructions out of proper motivation. Remember He loves you and seeks active relationship with you, but you need to be willing to humbly obey him and his leading for your life.