When God Fulfills His Prophetic Promises, Give Thanks to Him with a Grateful Heart | Ki Tavo – WEEK 49
By Avner Boskey
The parasha for this Shabbat is titled Ki Tavo. The four bullet points in this parasha focus on:
- When God fulfills His prophetic promises, give thanks to Him with a grateful heart.
- Our thankfulness is real when we listen to God’s voice and obey Him.
- Remembering how God rescued us should be a devotional milestone in our daily lives.
- 14 verses of covenant blessing/ 55 verses of covenant curses have shaped Jewish history.
Moshe Rabbenu (Moses our teacher) declares with solid faith (26:1-4):
- God will bring you into the Land which He promised to Israel.
- You will fully conquer the Land, and you will settle it.
- You will bring your first fruits harvest to the high priest in Jerusalem.
- You will make a public thanksgiving declaration to God beside the altar.
“This is what I believe”
The head of each farming household is commanded to bring the first fruits of his harvest to the Temple Mount (probably in April-May) and to make a bold thanksgiving-confession directly to the God of Jacob (vv. 2-5). First, he declares his own Abrahamic ethnic origin and that God hears the intercessory cry of His people (vv.6-7). Second, he thanks God publicly for all the supernatural miracles that accompanied the Exodus (v. 8) and for bringing the Jewish people in the Promised Land (v. 9). Then he thanks God for blessing and protecting the new harvest (v. 10).
This faith-confession is amazingly personal – a personal interaction between each Jewish farmer and His God. This farmer bases his declaration on real historical events – the Ten Plagues, the Exodus, the Forty Years of wilderness wanderings. He also claims individual connection to these national events. This is not just someone else’s Fiddler on the Roof ‘Tradition!’ This is getting personal too – a personal thanksgiving declaration to a personal God for bringing personal blessing.
God, You told me to listen to You, so now please listen to me too!
In 26:12 another public and personal declaration is given by each and every farmer. This time the pronouncement is connected to the third-year giving of the agricultural tenth /tithe/ma’aser to the Levite and the Gentile sojourner, to the orphan and the widow. The farmer declares that he has not forgotten to obey God in these day-to-day particulars. So now he asks God, “Look down from the abode of Your holiness, from the heavens, and bless Your people Israel and the Land that You have given to us – just as You’ve promised to our Fathers (v. 15). God’s blessing is not a given – it is part of the give and take between an obedient people and their gracious God.
Israel is described in 26:18 as am segula, a special treasure. That preciousness comes with a responsibility – “to be a set-apart people” (am kadosh; v. 19). To be the Chosen People means that we have a challenging responsibility, and failure here can mean daunting judgment.
Mount Rushmore on the Jordan
Moshe and the elders of the nation give a prophetic order to the people (27:1-7). After they cross over the Jordan and set foot on the earth of the Land of Promise, they are to raise up some stone monuments, each one inscribed in a legible fashion (the phrase is stressed in Hebrew) with a précis of God’s covenantal teaching (27:8, 12-26). The monuments are to be stationed near modern Nablus, on top of Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal.
Next is what may be called a prophetic drama or action. Representatives of six tribes are to ascend Mount Gerizim and prophesy blessings over the Jewish people (if they manage to obey the Mosaic covenant). On Mount Ebal representatives of the other six tribes are to pronounce covenantal curses over the Jewish people (in the event that they disobey the Mosaic covenant).
Chapter 28 builds on these two events – the monuments and the mountain-top pronouncements – by adding an even more awesome apex. Fourteen verses of blessing and 55 verses of cursing are declared which will fall on the Jewish people, depending on their response to the Covenant of Moses.
When the covenant curses outweigh the covenant blessings by four to one, it begins to look like a stacked deck. Indeed, Jeremiah 31:32 wryly remembers this point, “not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, declares the Lord.” Though individual kings, priests, prophets, and common people occasionally stood out for their obedience and godly fear (see Psalm 14:1-3; 2 Chronicles 16:9), the majority of Israel would depart from covenantal obedience and circumcision of heart (Joshua 23:15-16; 24:19-20; Hosea 6:4-7; Deuteronomy 10:6; 30:6).
Reversing the Exodus, expanding the Exile
In chapter 28 Moshe brings one of the most sobering prophecies he ever has to pronounce – judgment over his precious Jewish people. The ramifications of this prophetic word have shaped the lives and destinies of Jacob’s children for 3,500 years.
All of the wonderful blessings offered in 28:1-4 will be invalidated in 28:15-69. The fruitfulness, protection, prosperity, and renown promised to Israel will be turned into barrenness, defeat, destruction, poverty, and negative publicity. The Jewish people will be sent into Exile (28:36, 48-57, 63-67). They will even return to Egypt and again be enslaved (28:68). Even the plagues of Egypt will now fall on the Jewish people in the lands of their Exile (28:27, 59).
All this came, says the God of Israel, “because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things” (28:47). The key to repentance and blessing is a humble and thankful heart.
The Apostle Paul (Sha’ul ha-Shaliach) sadly reflects on this dynamic, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21).
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About the Author
Avner and Rachel Boskey live in the Beersheva region of Israel and are dedicated to stirring up the creative arts, worship, intercession, evangelism and the prophetic gifts within a Jewish and Israeli matrix. They have been involved for many years both in Israel and in many nations, in evangelism, Bible teaching, writing articles and books, creating original Messianic music, pastoral ministry and leading worship and prayer gatherings. Avner has received a B.A. in Jewish Studies from McGill and Hebrew Universities, as well as a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary. He worked as a licensed tour guide in Israel for over 20 years. Over the last two decades Avner and Rachel have resided in the Negev. During these years they established weekly worship and prayer meetings for local believers and for thousands of visitors from many nations.
Avner regularly writes informative newsletters to encourage prayer for Israel and to help God’s people be more aware of current events in Israel and around the world from a biblical perspective. One can sign up for these at www.davidstent.org
Avner is the author of the books ‘Israel the Key to World Revival,’ ‘How to be Messianic without becoming Meshuggeh,’ ‘Jews, Arabs and the Middle East – a Messianic Perspective’ and the pertinent ‘A Messianic Perspective on the Restoration of David’s Tabernacle.’
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