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In this week’s Torah study on Parashat Devarim, the journey of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land is reiterated and explained in a very short and concise manner. The Lord God of Israel was looking from his people willful obedience. The idea of obedience is the acceptance of something, the surrender of ourselves to the will of God, and our actions being the end result of this fulfillment (surrender). If the outward act is not in opposition to the inward faith, we are said to be right with God. The Lord God of Israel however is not looking for slaves in the sense of unwilling obedience. To have unwilling obedience would be a legal system where the Master does not care about the motivation from which one obeys the command. This however is not the case in relation to the Torah command, since the Torah is a system of instruction for God’s people to live free. The commands of God are directly related to our surrender from self to the way of the Spirit in life which is to walk in righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth. This is what the Lord was looking for from His people, to be willful in their desire to serve Him because of their love for Him. The Torah however describes the people in a different way saying, Devarim / Deuteronomy 1:26 כו וְלֹא אֲבִיתֶם לַעֲלֹת וַתַּמְרוּ אֶת-פִּי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: 1:26 ‘Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; (NASB) The people rebelled and were unwilling to do as the Lord wanted. The mitzvot found in the Torah presupposes a spirit which is able to respond to its appeal. The Torah was not made for the righteous, but for the unrighteous, therefore the Torah appeals to the motives of our hearts, which produces the correct actions, something that is supposed to line up with our faith in the Lord God in heaven. Notice how coupled with the commands (mitzvot) are the promises of God, the promise of the power and presence in our midst, the assurance that He will be there for us, the giving of the Spirit of God to His people, and His rest that is most sought after that brings true peace to the soul. The manner and nature of the commands is peculiar to God’s people, it is the essential character of His people because it is the very nature of God’s ways. This is what separates us as God’s people from the peoples of the world. This is what makes us distinct from all others, because within the commands is the highest level of truth and moral teaching which becomes an essential part of us as the Lord moves to change us from the inside out. In the Messiah, the One the Lord sent to guide and direct us in His ways, He taught us the truth and imparted a part of Himself into our lives, so that men will not only do (obey) but be the kind of people He wants us to be (willfully loving truth and peace). This is the essential need for us to be changed from the inside out, and why it is impossible to obey God’s word without His coming into our lives and our hearts to change us and motivate us to live for Him. This is why the Lord imparts a part of Himself into our lives, giving us His Holy Spirit, to empower us to grow, to live, and to obey His word…

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