Ki Tetze

Living in the Kingdom

This portion is all about the principles of government in Israel, how to rule ‎yourselves. In Devarim 16 we are told to appoint judges and officers in our ‎gates/towns. The portion also includes the crucial section on ‘a better ‎prophet’ and how/when/if a king is to be appointed. It teaches us about ‎justice and righteousness, the need for witnesses who are unbiased and ‎truly neutral, how evidence needs to be collected and assessed, who may ‎do the judging and its implications for submitting to the rulings handed ‎down. This was a recipe to avoid anarchy in the Land; Torah needs to be ‎interpreted to the people and applied if it is going to bring Life! Without the ‎rule of Law there would never be justice and anarchy would prevail.‎

The role of the king in Israel, mentioned in the middle of this passage, is ‎enigmatic and some would say controversial. Why put it here? It feels out ‎of place, disrupting the flow. Some say Moshe didn’t see a real reason for ‎having a king, so he placed the section here which was as good as ‎anywhere! I don’t think so. This ‘kingly’ passage actually draws the whole ‎piece together. This portion defines justice and who may administer it. The ‎priests had their part to play, but the King too.‎

Many have misunderstood the Kingdom of G-d. Yeshua Mashichaynu told ‎us to pray ‘Your Kingdom come’ not take me to your kingdom. We should ‎be active in making room for the Kingdom now, here, firstly in Israel as the ‎actual basic core focus of the Kingdom and its borders, but also reaching ‎the influence of that Kingdom far beyond its borders. The Talmidim in the ‎book of Acts were concerned about when the Kingdom would be restored ‎to Israel. One thing is for sure: the Kingdom of G-d is not in Heaven ‎‎(alone). Mashiach was far more interested in seeing the Kingdom and the ‎rule of its King established on earth. His comments that the Kingdom is ‎‎‘within you’ have sadly been misconstrued. The Kingdom has never ‎resided in the hearts of man. The Torah, the constitution of Heaven, is ‎written there, but His Kingdom resides outside. It is of no use if the ‎Kingdom merely operates in our hearts, it has to impact outside of us too. ‎Yeshua meant that with Him standing there in front of them, the Kingdom ‎was truly in their midst (a much better translation). He was and is King of ‎Israel and therefore rules in the Kingdom. That is why Yeshua says in Matt ‎‎6:25-34 (verse 33) seek first the Kingdom and righteousness. He wasn’t ‎saying search your hearts! This passage makes it clear too that Kingship ‎and righteousness belong together just as Yeshua said. But only with Him ‎as King!‎

In the Kingdom justice and righteousness work together. The priests and ‎those appointed would judge Israel using the Torah as the guide book, the ‎book of Law. We must follow after His justice. Devarim 16:20 is the key ‎verse for us, in Hebrew it says ‘Justice Justice follow after it. The Hebrew ‎is strong, not just follow but ACTIVELY pursue it. Torah justice and ‎righteousness is NOT just going to come to you, that’s a sign of our ‎society, bring it to me, feed me. Torah says SEEK IT OUT. It doesn’t ‎come naturally to us. If we don’t pursue what is right and just and true we ‎shall not find it. If we don’t seek, we won’t find. It’s a very simple equation. ‎G-d rewards those who dig deeper and actively pursue Him, He looks for ‎our response. We live in a laid back society where we have forgotten how ‎to single-mindedly pursue something, and TWICE in this portion G-d says ‎‎‘not to the left or the right’ the road is narrow and straight. Things will try ‎and tie us up to take our eyes off what is true, just and right, we have to ‎train our hearts and minds to pursue G-d wholeheartedly.‎

The Kingdom is based on us living in the rulership of our King Messiah, ‎Yeshua. It will also return to a geographical reality too in the future. In His ‎rule there is justice and righteousness, because He is just and righteous. ‎But we need to pursue wholeheartedly this Kingdom, only those who push ‎in will truly see it.

Rabbi Binyamin