Sometimes the Torah portion reading almost seems like it could have come from today’s news. Other times, we know the message applies, but we have to search a bit to make what later often turn out to be obvious connections.
This week, it’s a bit of both.
Parsha Ekev (Deuteronomy/Debarim 7:12-11:25) begins with a promise. BECAUSE (that word ‘ekev’, or even ‘it follows’, literally on the heels of) we obey His instruction, YHVH will keep His covenant. And for those that ask the question, “how do I know He loves me?” – that answer is right here, too.
Just as was true when Moses addressed the ‘mixed multitude’ of Israel before they were to take the land, we are at a “cusp,” a decision point. They faced giants, and fortified cities; we face a militarized global communist cabal, and a fortified swamp. All of whom still seem to serve that very same master.
And the Bible is chock-full of stories of invasion and conquest. Not just His people under Joshua to take the land, but invasions and conquest by Babylon, Assyria, and later even Rome. In every case, though, when it involved His people, it was about judgment in one way or another. That, too, is still important.
And there are a number of important parallels in this story, with where we are today. As Mark Call, of Shabbat Shalom Mesa points out, Abram, before being re-named Abraham, was told in Genesis 15:16, “Know of a certainty that your seed would be a stranger in a land that is not theirs,” and they shall be afflicted and in bondage for four hundred years. But that nation “I will judge,” and they will come out, but not soon, because, “the iniquity [even ‘depravity’ – avon] of the Amorite is not yet full.”
Still, consider that this same man, NOT TOO MUCH LATER, saw the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah! What does that tell us? And what does it really take for the ‘iniquity’ to finally be ‘full’? So, today: Are we there yet?