Watch: Parasha Ki Tavo 2022-23: Spiritual, Righteous Discipline!
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 26:1-29:8, Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 60, Luqa (Luke) 22-23
Shalom and welcome to this week’s Parasha Ki Tavo. I am your host Ulices Rodriguez, and this week we are going to learn about what it means to be a special and Set-Apart people unto Yahweh. When we are Yahweh’s children, there are certain rules for us to follow if we want to continue on living in His house and eating His food. Therefore, naturally there are punishments (curses) if we disobey, and there are rewards (blessings) for when we do obey. We are going to take a look at how and why Yahweh disciplines His children the way He does. We are also going to see and understand why discipline is love and why discipline is also freedom. If you are a parent, you only want what is best for your children even if they do not want it for themselves. Imagine how much more Yahweh loves us because He is the highest form of righteousness. Sin cannot exist in His presence.
Luqa (Luke) 11:13
13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Set-Apart Spirit to those who ask Him!”
So to quote Yeshua; “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Set-apart Spirit to those who ask Him!”.
Whether we realize it or not, the Set-apart Spirit is a gift because She helps us understand who the Father is. The Spirit also corrects us in a loving and gentle way when we have gone astray. If we reject the guidance of the Spirit, then we are effectively rejecting the loving and nurturing side of Yahweh. At this point, all we are left with is the wrathful side of Him. This is where the curses or punishments come into effect, to cause us to repent, so to lead and guide us back to Him into the right relationship. Please join me as we study Yahweh’s word.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 26:2
2 “That you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that Yahweh your Elohim is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where Yahweh your Elohim chooses to make His name abide.”
As we begin this week’s Torah portion in Devarim chapter 26, we read about tithes and first fruit offerings. And the sort of reminder the Yahweh issues to the children of Israel. When our ancestors were to enter the land, they were to offer up the first fruits of all the produce of the ground. The idea with this is that all that we are blessed with comes from Yahweh and we should be seeking to give Him our very best. When we stop to think about it, Yahweh gives us His very best. He sent His one and only Son to die for us in order to reconcile us back to Him so that out of a heart of love, we should be wanting to obey and glorify Him in all that we do.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 10:31
31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of Elohim.”
As First Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 31 says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of Elohim”.
We must ask ourselves and be honest with our answer. Are we doing all that we can to glorify Yahweh in all that we do, in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions? The offering of the first fruits is so much deeper than just giving the first and very best of your produce or the first and very best of your flock. It is the heart behind the offering that truly matters.
Marqaus (Mark) 12:41-44
41 “Now Yeshua sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.
42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.
43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury;
44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
Let us look at an example used in Scripture in Mark chapter 12 verses 41 through 44. “Now Yeshua sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which makes a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.’ ”
With this example, we see that it is not about the amount or even arguably the quality of what she gave, because the poor woman gave two mites, which would have been two small copper coins worth hardly any money.
Let us take a look at what Strong’s Concordance says about the Greek word used for mites. The word is leptos which means a small fine thin and light piece of money probably the smallest piece of money.
G3016 Leptos: peeled, fine, thin, small, light
Original Word: λεπτόν, οῦ, τό
Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter
Phonetic Spelling: (lep-ton’)
Definition: peeled, fine, thin, small, light
Usage: a small piece of money
With this information, we can see that what the woman gave was not anything impressive because when Scripture says that two mites make up a quadrans, a quadrans is known as the official Roman coin and the smallest Roman coin at that. Two mites only made up a fourth of the smallest Roman coin. For some modern perspective, take whatever country you live in and take the smallest piece of money you have in your monetary system and give only a fourth of that. That is what this woman gave to Yeshua and His ministry. He says she gave more than all others who had given to the treasury because she gave all that she had from her livelihood. How is that for perspective?
This is what it means to give your very best to Yahweh. It does not matter what profession you find yourself in. Whether you work in construction or you are the head of some big company, we are the same in Yahweh’s eyes. No one is greater than anyone else. So I ask, are we doing all that we can to work and give our very best to Yahweh no matter what we find ourselves doing in this life?
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 26:5-8
5 “And you shall answer and say before Yahweh your Elohim: ‘My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.
6 But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us.
7 Then we cried out to Yahweh Elohim of our fathers, and the Yahweh heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression.
8 So Yahweh brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.”
We see that in verses 5 through 8 that the priest who is representing the nation of Israel is supposed to recount the history of our people and that our father Avraham was a Syrian who was going to perish, but Yahweh sent him down to Egypt few in number; and it was there
when he became a mighty nation through Jacob (Israel), and it was there that our numbers grew. That is where our people were enslaved to Pharaoh, but Yahweh saved us and sprung our people out of Egypt.
Because of this love and commitment from Yahweh, we were supposed to be thankful for all that we had. The purpose of recounting this history is to help us remain humble because it is easy to ignore Yahweh when we have all our needs met. When we are comfortable and have all that we want, we can begin to think to ourselves that we have obtained everything we have due to our own hard work and sacrifice. While that may be true in part, who is the one who has blessed us with the abilities to do so? We must not allow ourselves to become arrogant but to always remain humble and to always be thankful for all the good that Yahweh blesses us with.
As we move on, we see that Yahweh commands us to set aside our tithes for the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. If you would like to know more details about the three tithes in the seven-year cycle of tithing, please visit our website and find several of our studies about tithing in Nazarene Israel Scriptures Studies, volume 3 and our book titled Discipleship the Kingdom and You which is also available on the website.
The reason why Yahweh has us set aside the third tithe for the poor is that we are to be our brother’s keeper. In antiquity, the father and husband took care of the family. In the case of someone’s family who is fatherless and a wife who is a widow, they are naturally going to come on hard times because they do not have that primary financial provider anymore. We are to take compassion on our brothers and sisters who find themselves in situations like these and we are also to tithe and support the Levite because he has no inheritance in the land. His inheritance is Yahweh’s and Yahweh demands that we give a tenth of all that we have to him as an offering. Naturally, since Yahweh is Spirit, the tenth of all that we give to Him goes also to support the Levite.
The purpose of us supporting the Levite is so that he can focus on Acts chapter 6 and verse 4 which says, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word”.
In context, this is about the Apostles who do not think it was wise to neglect the word of Elohim to serve tables or to engage in any sort of commercial or charity work even if the work is centered around the ministry. This was also how the Levitical priesthood was to be and so therefore the Levite was to dedicate himself to the ministry of the Word, to study, pray, and focus on the temple or Tabernacle duties at the time. If he did not have the support of the people through their tithes, then he would be forced to support himself through commercial business and that would take away his time to study and pray about the ministry of the Word.
This same principle carries on for us today in the Melchizedekian priesthood. As an Ordered Nation, to keep business and commerce flowing, and even a military ready for any fight, you are going to need a nation of individuals who are subject matter experts in their respective field. Therefore, the majority of the people are not always going to have an abundance of time to study Yahweh’s word. That is why this is the responsibility of the Levites and the Elders of the communities. They are responsible for studying and understanding Yahweh’s word and administering it to the people. The people are responsible for respecting and obeying the authority that the Levites and the Elders have. It is the same basic principle for us today in the Order of Melchizedek.
As we move on to chapters 27 and 28 of Devarim, we come to the list of blessings and curses that Yahweh says we will have depending on our obedience. Let us take a look at how Yahweh blesses His faithful children and what He considers faith.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 28:1
1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Yahweh your Elohim, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Yahweh your Elohim will set you high above all nations of the earth.”
In chapter 28 and verse 1 Yahweh states, “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of Yahweh your Elohim, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that Yahweh your Elohim will set you above all nations”.
There are two things I really want to focus on in this verse. Yahweh reminds the people that if we would diligently obey the voice of Yahweh and carefully observe His written commands, that He will bless us and exalt us high above the nations. It is important to obey Yahweh’s written commands, but it is necessary to listen and obey Yahweh’s voice as well.
The written commands are a list of instructions for us to help us through our life to govern ourselves and distinguish right from wrong just as they are instructions or blueprints for building a house. If you have no experience in construction following the blueprints will help, but there are going to be issues with building the house perfectly. It requires someone with the right experience to guide and teach you how to read and build a blueprint according to the correct understanding of the blueprint. That is what it means to obey Yahweh’s voice. He knows all and sees all.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 1:25
25 “Because the foolishness of Elohim is wiser than men, and the weakness of Elohim is stronger than men.”
As Scripture states in First Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 25; “Because the foolishness of Elohim is wiser than men, and the weakness of Elohim is stronger than men”.
So without being careful and diligent to listen and obey Yahweh’s voice, we are bound to trip up and make mistakes. Look at where we are now in the body of Messiah. We are so fragmented because as men, we read and study Yahweh’s word, but we are not careful to diligently listen for and obey His voice. We end up drawing our own conclusions about what Scripture says according to our own understanding and developing doctrine that does not line up with Scripture.
Mishle (Proverbs) 3:1-8
1 “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;
2 For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of Elohim and man.
5 Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear Yahweh and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.”
Scripture warns us against this as well in Proverbs Chapter 3. Let us take a look.
“My son, do not forget my Torah, but let your heart keep My commands for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of Elohim and man. Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear Yahweh and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”
In verses 3 through 14 we read about all the blessings Yahweh is going to bestow upon His people. Notice that the blessings Yahweh is going to bestow upon His people are not that of extreme wealth and material blessings. We can be blessed with extreme wealth and material blessings, but those are really a byproduct of good stewardship so we must be careful not to fall prey to the prosperity doctrine. The prosperity doctrine is more than just the thought of material and financial blessings. It is also the idea that somehow, we will never suffer persecution if we diligently obey Yahweh’s voice, keep His Commandments, and profess our faith on Yeshua. Yeshua himself said that we will be persecuted because of our faith in Him. Yahweh is not a liar. He is not the author of confusion. All His blessings will come to pass even if they do not always look like the way we would want them to.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 28:3
3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.”
For example, when Yahweh says, “Blessed we shall be in the city and in the country”.
It means wherever your hands find work to do, you shall be blessed if you work hard and diligently obey Yahweh’s voice. It does not say you will be a millionaire or the CEO of your company, but you shall be blessed with enough work and success to provide for your family. So we should be grateful, no matter what kind of job we have, because there are many who are not as blessed.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 28:4
4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.”
When Yahweh says, “The fruit of our body shall be blessed”, this means that our children shall be spiritually healthy.
They will love Yahweh. They will grow up to be honorable men and women of Elohim. Who would not want that for their children right?
When He says, “The produce of the land and our livestock shall be blessed”, He is saying that we will have plenty of food to eat to sustain us for our families and others who come seeking food and shelter.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 28:6
6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.”
When we are “blessed coming in and coming out”, it means that no matter what we find ourselves doing, Yahweh always provides. When He shuts one door, He opens another in its place so we should not fear whether we shall lose our job or if we do not get that raise at work or whatever the case might be, Yahweh always provides a way. Blessed are we whether we are walking into an opportunity He has set up for us and blessed are we when we are walking out that same door.
One way to think of a blessing is that it is the natural outcome to righteous obedience. Because Yahweh knows all things, He sees all things. His wisdom is great, and He desires the absolute best for us; and wants to give it to us so if we obey, the natural outcome is a blessing. It is a reward for us responding in faith. It is a reward for us denying our flesh because truly, it is the flesh that wants to walk contrary to the Torah and Yahweh’s voice but when we are led by the Spirit, then we are actively walking according to the Torah. We are actively listening and obeying His voice.
We see in verse 15 that the list of curses is much longer than the list of blessings. Why is that? I think it is because Yahweh is trying to warn us to flee from sin. For example, if we have a regular nine to five job with sufficient income to comfortably provide food on the table (for our families) and to keep the heat and lights on in the house; with a healthy and able-bodied family with enough time to spend time as a family and to worship Yahweh, we are extremely blessed. Yet, many may not think of themselves to be this blessed because we were too focused on the cares of the world. We focus on the things that we do not have instead of the things we do have.
This is where we get in trouble because our situation could always be worse. What if we do not have enough time or money to go on our dream spot vacation? How does a vacation really grow Yeshua’s Kingdom anyway? What if we never had the opportunity to purchase our dream car? How does this really grow Yeshua’s Kingdom? So when we really stop to think about it, the things of the world may cause us to stop seeking Yahweh with all of our heart, all of our soul, and all of our mind.
The things of the world known as the pride of life, lust of the eyes, and lust of the flesh may cause someone to fall prey to the evil desires of their heart and sin. I am not saying it is evil to be wealthy. I am not saying it is evil to go on a vacation. I am not saying it is evil to have material possessions. What I am asking is, if we have all of that and Yeshua asked us personally to give it all up to follow Him, would you?
Marqaus (Mark) 8:36
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
Like Scripture says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but to forfeit his soul”.
Yahweh warns us that if we do not obey His voice and carefully observe His written Commandments, then there will be curses that overtake us. Think of curses as the natural outcome of disobedience to righteousness. Curses are Yahweh’s form of punishment to His children. It is His way of disciplining us. The curses that will overtake us will be the things that prevent us from living a relatively normal life. If we willingly disobey Yahweh’s voice and do not carefully observe His written Commandments, then He will punish or discipline us to correct our behavior to cause us to repent and turn back to Him.
One way that Yahweh punishes us to cause us to repent and turn back to Him is through sickness and disease because typically only after we have exhausted all of our income to try and heal ourselves, we still do not end up healed. For most people in a last-ditch effort, return to Yahweh seeking the restoration of our health meaning that our first response is not to seek the healing and complete restoration that only Yahweh can provide, rather we first turn to man-made drugs to heal us. It is no wonder that we continue on in our illness because it was our disobedience and our rejection that caused our illness to begin with.
This is not to say that if we end up sick or ill that it was because we are walking in rebellion against Yahweh. We still live in a sinful and fallen world so naturally we will be sick from time to time, but you can safely assume that if you walk in rebellion to Yahweh, He will likely cause you to be ill with the intention of disciplining His child to cause us to repent and turn back to Him.
We can work as hard as we want, and Yahweh will not reward our efforts if we are walking in disobedience to Him. The labor of our hands will not prosper. We shall surely indeed work hard and have nothing to show for it if we walk contrary to Yahweh. These are just some of the curses He will send our way. The point of it all is that if we do not diligently listen for Yahweh’s voice and
carefully observe His written commands, then we will be subject to spiritual discipline. Yahweh will make our lives so incredibly miserable that it would cause us to reflect upon our situation to seek Him and to seek Him in repentance and to come back to Him to listen to His voice diligently and to carefully observe His written commands.
Yahweh loves us so much that He does not want to see us walk in rebellion and make a mess of our lives with one sin after the other. While He is the King of the universe, and He does not tolerate disobedience from a king in a father’s standpoint. From His gentle and loving side, He desires that we would live a righteous life so that we can have the best possible chance at living a life full of love, honor, and commitment.
There are a few pieces of Scripture I want to go over really quickly. The first one is “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly”, Proverbs 13:24.
Mishle (Proverbs) 13:24
24 “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.”
Second, “For whom Yahweh loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights”. (Proverbs 3:12)
Mishle (Proverbs) 3:12
12 “For whom Yahweh loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.”
Third, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)
Hitgalut (Revelation) 3:19
19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
Forth, “Blessed is the man whom You discipline O Yahweh and whom you teach out of your Torah” (Psalm 94:12)
Tehillim (Psalms) 94:12
12 “Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Yahweh, And teach out of Your law,”
Lastly, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
Mishle (Proverbs) 22:15
15 “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.”
There are many more Scriptures that speak on the wisdom of discipline and love, but with these five I think it is pretty clear that Yahweh disciplines those that He loves. Speaking from a human standpoint, and this is me speaking from experience as a father; if I did not love my children, then why would I care what they grow up thinking and believing? If I did not love my children, then why would I care what sort of manners and morals they learn? This is why I discipline them and lovingly correct them when they do wrong because when we love someone whether they are our spouse, children, friend, or whatever relationship we have with them.
When we righteously love people, we end up loving them as First Corinthians chapter 13 describes. Love requires work. It requires denying yourself and when my children misbehave, I could turn a blind eye and not care and be more interested in what I like and want to do, but then where is the love? I do not have to teach my children how to lie, to do bad things, or to misbehave. They naturally know how to do that (it is called sin). We were all born this way, and it is my job as a father to lovingly discipline and correct my children’s behavior in order to help them learn and understand what is right and wrong according to Scripture.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 13:4
4 “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;”
I love my children so much that I take this very seriously. I want them to grow up and be disciplined adults so that they are prepared for the difficulties of life; and so that they learn to lean on Yahweh and not their own understanding. I want what is best for them. I want them to grow up and have blessed lives. I want them to have a personal relationship with Yeshua. Now imagine me as a sinful man who loves his wife and children so much that I am willing to make sacrifices to make sure my house is in order according to Scripture. Imagine how much more Yahweh loves us. When Yahweh gave His Torah, it was given to teach us to deny our own flesh and to discipline us so when parents tell their children to clean up their room it is because they are trying to teach their children organization and responsibility.
Yahweh does the same for us with His Torah. If we are His children and we rebel and say no to the house rules, naturally He is going to punish us or send curses on us to inflict pain on us to cause us to repent and listen to Him. Again as we spoke about last week, love is the driving force behind Yahweh’s Commandments and His discipline. If we are wise enough to diligently listen to Yahweh’s voice and obey His written commands, then there is no need for Him to punish us. Rather He can bless us because we are behaving as obedient children.
We are seeking to live a disciplined life according to His Torah and there is real freedom in that. Then, we are not slaves to our emotions, and we are not slaves to sin. We can walk in the freedom that Yahweh can provide only but if we were deliberately walking in rebellion, then Yahweh has no choice but to correct us by sending curses upon us, to force us to look at our miserable situation and to repent and come into right relationship with Him. So I asked brothers and sisters, do we love Yahweh enough to lay down our lives and walk in humble obedience as our King and Messiah Yeshua did? It is something we should all pray about and earnestly ask for Yahweh to purge all evil from our hearts.