Watch: Parasha Vayelech: Are We A Worthy Bride?
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 31, Hoshea (Hosea) 14, Micah 7, Joel 2
Have you ever wondered why Yahweh called Himself the husband of Israel and why Yeshua is called the husband of the Assembly? In this week’s parasha, we are going to learn why the Torah is considered a marriage contract between Yahweh and His people and we are going to learn the difference between faith and belief because the two are not always the same and oftentimes different. We can believe something but not ever truly respond in faith. But when we have faith and respond in faith, then our belief is unquestionable.
In our Torah portion in Devarim chapter 31, we read a few different things. First, we see that Moshe will not be leading the people into the Promised Land. Instead, it will be Joshua and Yahweh encourages Joshua and the rest of the nation to be strong and courageous. I find it interesting that Yahweh tells our ancestors to be strong and courageous and in just a few verses later, He tells Moshe that he is about to die and that our ancestors will eventually reject the covenant made with Him which is when Yahweh tells Moshe to write down this song and teach it to the people.
I am sure when all this was happening and Moshe is speaking to the people and telling them everything that Yahweh has told him, the people probably began to argue and say, “We would never turn our back on the covenant we made with Yahweh”.
We know based on the Books of Joshua and Judges that the generation that entered into the Promised Land with Joshua were all faithful to follow Elohim diligently, but their children were not. That is basically what the summary of the Book of Judges is all about. If we fast forward to our time frame in the here and now, what has really changed? How many of us are going to be a part of that faithful generation that goes on to inherit the millennial Promised Land and are going to do a good job of raising up the next generation to take our place?
In the same way that our ancestors were slaves in Egypt, we are slaves in this Babylonian culture and society. In the same way Yahweh freed our ancestors, we are also free when we come to faith in Messiah Yeshua.
Just as Yahweh used the wilderness as a sort of sanctification process for the children of Israel, He uses our walk in the wilderness of the nation as a sort of sanctification process among the body of Messiah. If our ancestors went on to eventually abandon the covenant, they made with Yahweh because of the influence from surrounding Babylonian type nations and people groups, how many of us will abandon our relationship with Yeshua in these End Times?
The influence from Babylon is only going to continue to grow stronger and the persecution and pressure to conform is going to get even worse. This is why Yeshua warns us to not let anyone steal our crown. We must be mindful and diligent to stay connected in the vine to Yeshua. Just as Yahweh reminds our ancestors to be strong and courageous, we too must remember this whenever we are going through trials and through tribulation. This is why Yahweh commanded that the Torah be read aloud every seven years for the Shemittah cycle; That every seven years, people would all be gathered together to listen to the Torah being read. They would be reminded of the Covenant (or the Torah, or the marriage vow) that they made with Yahweh.
Think of the Shemittah reading as a vow renewal. Just as a husband and wife may renew their vows every 20 or so years to remind themselves and their spouse of the lifelong commitment, they made to each other and how important it is to see those vows through, despite whatever trials they may have gone through together and whatever trials they have waiting for them ahead. Yahweh has set up this vow renewal with us every seven years so that we are reminded of who He is and the covenant that we made together. Because before we came to know who Yeshua was, we were not in covenant with Yahweh. We were slaves to the world in our sin. When we come into this covenant with Him, the covenant outlines the expectations for us as Yeshua’s bride and the expectation is simple.
Let us look at Ephesians chapter 5 verses 22 through 24 and what they say.
Ephesim (Ephesians) 5:22-24
22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to Yahweh.
23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Mashiach is head of the assembly; and He is the Savior of the body.
24 Therefore, just as the assembly is subject to Mashiach, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
So we see that our role is that of a wife. Whatever Yeshua wants us to do, we are to do exactly that. We are His helpmate. We were created and designed to serve Him in His plans for building the kingdom and not our own. Yeshua expects complete loyalty and hard-working dedication from His bride which is what the Proverbs 31 wife is all about. Let us read a few verses and see if we measure up to Yahweh’s standard as a bride for His Son.
Proverbs 31 verses 11 and 23:
Mishle (Proverbs) 31:11, 23
11 “The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.”
23 “Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.”
Yeshua trusts in us in all that we do. Do we seek to please Him in all aspects of our lives, or does He have to continuously worry about us and whether or not we will be faithful to Him? Do we cause problems and halt the advancement of His kingdom by calling ourselves believers and giving Him a bad name through our unrepented and sinful behavior?
Let us read Proverbs 31 verses 15 and 27.
Mishle (Proverbs) 31:15, 27
15 “She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.”
27 “She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.”
This example clearly shows that a wife is a hard-working woman. She puts herself last and seeks to make sure that her household (which is her husband’s household) is well taken care of. Are we following this example to do all that we can to build Yeshua’s kingdom? Are we seeking to make sure that Yahweh’s kingdom is a first priority to us? Are we too lazy and would rather enjoy our creature comforts?
Mishle (Proverbs) 31:30-31
30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears Yahweh, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.”
As Yeshua’s bride, we should be seeking to do all that we can with the life we have in the here and now to be a Proverbs 31 bride. This does not just apply in a broad sense for the body of Messiah, but also in the individual sense with our own personal relationship with Yeshua. Nowhere in all of Proverbs 31 do we read that it is about the knowledge we obtain or the emotional experiences we live through. This is not what determines our love for Him. Our love is measured by our actions and our commitment to those actions. This is not to say that we obtain salvation based on our works. However, our works are evidence of our salvation. This is exactly what the letter of James is all about, let us take a look.
First, we see in verse 1 of chapter 1 of his letter that James is addressing his letter to the 12 tribes in the dispersion (that is us). Those of us who are believers in Messiah Yeshua and Yahweh as our one true Elohim, we are a part of the 12 tribes. Again, it only further reiterates that the Torah is our marriage vow with Yahweh. In verses 2 and 3, we see James reminding us of the same things that Yahweh reminds Joshua and our ancestors of which is to be strong and courageous. Count it as joy when your faith is tested because it produces patience or perseverance.
Hupomoné (ὑπομονῇ) G5281 a remaining behind, a patient enduring
Original Word: ὑπομονή, ῆς, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (hoop-om-on-ay’)
Definition: a remaining behind, a patient enduring
Usage: endurance, steadfastness, patient waiting for.
The word that is used in Greek is Hupomone which means endurance steadfastness or patiently enduring, as in, we are patiently waiting for Yeshua’s return. We are trusting in Elohim to fight our battles for us. We are strong and courageous to continue in our walk of faith despite the trials, temptations, and pressures to conform to life here in the world. James tells us in chapter 1, verse 12:
Yaakov (James) 1:12
12 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which Yahweh has promised to those who love Him.”
We see that it is our actions that prove whether or not we actually love Him. Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. Just as all married couples are tempted while they are in marriage, we too will be tempted to violate our marriage vows with Yahweh. This is why Yahweh reminded our ancestors time and time again, to diligently listen for His voice, obey it, and to be careful to observe all His written commands. This is why James tells us to be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.
It does us no good to say that we love Yahweh and then not abide by the marriage vows we took with Him. just as it does no good to a husband or wife if they say they love their spouse but then violate the vows they took together. When James writes about the perfect Torah being the Torah of liberty, what he is saying is that we have liberty to walk in the precepts of the commands of Yahweh.
As we spoke about a few weeks ago, without Yahweh leading us and guiding us, we could read His commandments and they can keep us on the straight and narrow for a good while, but when we slip up in sin, we can react too harshly and seek judgment rather than repentance. So the liberty we have to walk in the commands of Yahweh is because we have Yeshua’s spirit leading and guiding us just as Yahweh has always wanted for us. Imagine if you will for a moment that your spouse commits adultery against you. By the letter of the Torah, you can have them stoned to death. But what happens if they sincerely repent? Do you then still stone them to death? Is that the loving thing to do? Is that showing mercy? Is that displaying the love of Elohim?
Without Yeshua leading us and guiding us by His spirit, then we truly are not free, and we truly do not have that liberty that David writes about in his song. What is the right thing to do in a situation like that because Yahweh does say that adulterers are to be put to death? Yahweh is also merciful and extends grace to those that repent. We can see that without Yeshua and without Yahweh’s voice leading us and guiding us, we truly cannot be free.
The Torah of liberty can only be followed by submitting to Yeshua and walking at liberty does not mean we can ignore Yahweh’s commandments and do as we please. It just means we understand the deeper meaning behind His commandments, and we can then better follow them in a pleasing way. Just as a wife who truly loves and understands who her husband is and his character, she can be a better wife to him by seeking to do all she can to please him and all that she does to serve him.
I would like to take this moment to speak to the sisters directly about your role in the body of Messiah. For my sisters in the faith, please know and understand what it means to be a Proverbs 31 wife and what it means to be a woman who fears Yahweh. While a lot of the responsibility rest on the shoulders of your husband, it is still your duty to help him carry that load. It is your responsibility to be the helpmate so do not go around making his life more difficult than it already is. If you want your husband to lead you and your family, then you must let him lead and take a step back. Let us take a look at a few verses to explain what I mean.
Proverbs 21 verse 9, says:
Mishle (Proverbs) 21:9
9 “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”
Proverbs 21:19, says
Mishle (Proverbs) 21:19
19 “Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman.”
Proverbs 27:15, says
Mishle (Proverbs) 27:15
15 “A continual dripping on a very rainy day
And a contentious woman are alike;”
So we see the wisdom here in Scripture that while the world may tell women to be strong and independent, Scripture says otherwise. Let us take a look. In First Peter (Kepha Aleph) chapter 3 verses 1 through 6 we read:
Kepha Aleph (1 Peter) 3:1-6
1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,
2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel,
4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of Elohim.
5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in Elohim also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,
6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him master [adon], whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
Just to reiterate, Scripture is not advocating for women and wives to be doormats. Rather, what Scripture is advocating for is love and respect. So from the perspective of a man and a husband, there is nothing more disrespectful and more annoying than when the woman who is supposed to be helping you is tearing you down either with negative and demeaning words or a quarrelsome attitude.
So I tell all the sisters in the faith, reject what the world tells you about being a strong and independent woman. It is a lie from the Devil. It is this sort of satanic lie that is part of the reason why families are being torn apart. Just as I have spoken to the men to step up and lead their families regardless of how difficult and self-sacrificing it is, I make the same statement to women; step up and be a Proverbs 31 wife to your husband and your families. Fear Yahweh and see how Yahweh works through you to bring about the change you are looking for. Study what Proverbs 31 actually says and then go and replicate those principles in your life.
How many of my sisters in the faith can honestly say they would call their husband adon or master? Again, it is not about the title, and it is not about the word. It is about the attitude of complete respect, love, and loyalty to your husband because that is what matters. The mindset of most wives is that their husband will get their respect when he earns it. Imagine if husbands behave this way or they said my wife will get my love when she earns it. For us men, we are to love our wives as Yeshua loved the Assembly and gave himself up for it. We are to be willing to die for our wives and the least we can get in return is for our wife’s undying loyalty and respect. That is why Shaul wrote what he did in Ephesians 5:22.
Ephesim (Ephesians) 5:22
22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to Yahweh.
Sisters, you should be your husband’s number one fan. If you are not, then you truly do not love your husband or love Yahweh for that matter which lines up perfectly with what Kepha wrote. Just as us in the body of Messiah, we are Yeshua’s bride. If we have trouble thinking of Yeshua as our Adon or our Master, then we have problems. If we are not Yeshua’s number one fan, then we really have problems. At the end of the day whether you are a husband, wife, or even a child, the idea is that we put Yahweh first and ourselves last. We do all that we can to serve and love those around us as Yeshua did. That is the goal and that is the purpose of our life.
This brings me back around to James’s letter in chapter 2 starting in verse 14.
Ya’akov (James) 2:14-18
14 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
So we see that just believing in Elohim is not enough. Telling our spouses that we love them is not enough. Our actions actually have to show how much we love them. Our actions actually have to line up with our words. Do you think that someone who is cold and hungry cares what you have to say about how great Elohim’s love is? They want to see it and for you to show them. Elohim did not just tell us how much He loves us but He showed us. He demonstrated His love for us by sending His one and only Son to die for our sin.
This is why I say that believing is not enough because even Satan and his demons believe that Yeshua is the Son of Elohim and yet they still walk contrary to Yahweh. We can read it for ourselves in James’s letter right there in verse 19. So I ask, are we any better than Satan and his demons or are we like the Pharisees that Yeshua spoke about in John chapter 8 verse 44 which says:
Yochanan (John) 8:44
44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”
I caution everyone to be mindful of what you say you believe in and what you do. Make sure that it lines up with Scripture. James writes that:
Ya’akov (James) 2:21
21 “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?”
It was through his works and through his obedience that his faith was demonstrated. For us, our faith is demonstrated by our works and our desire to obey and follow through with obedience to the Torah and Yahweh’s commands. If we believe in Elohim, then we would do what He commands us and that is where our faith is shown. That is how (by our faith) it is counted to us as righteousness because Yahweh is righteous. If we do what He tells us to do, then we are living righteously. So brothers and sisters I ask plainly, are you living up to Yahweh’s standards to be counted as Yeshua’s bride? Seek Him in prayer and ask Him to reveal the things about you that He wants you to change.