Messianic Torah Portion Ki Tetze "When you go"


Ki Tetze "When you go"

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21:10- 25:19

Obedience is faith in action. For example, Hebrews 11:7 states, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." Noah's obedience led him to act on his faith. As a result, Noah built the ark and stood firmly on his convictions. Noah's obedience became a witness, to the other nations. Unfortunately the other nations did not repent as a result of the witness of Noah. Therefore, they perished in the flood. Obedience is the most effective way to demonstrate our faith to the world. In fact, to become a faithful servant, obedience to HaShem is crucial. Obedience to HaShem, clearly shows the world a distinction between the followers of Yeshua and everyone else. In Ki Tetze, we can see that a vow is one form of obedience. The vow is distinguished from other forms of obedience, because the vow is declared before the action of faith is taken. The person making the vow is allowing others to witness his or her statement of faith, before following through with obedience. This public declaration of commitment before action means that the vow is witnessed by others. With all vows there are three primary witnesses. The three witnesses to vows are the person making the vow, HaShem, and the people hearing the vow. Therefore, failure to fulfill a vow becomes a negative public testimony. This is because an unfulfilled vow trivializes a believer's commitment to HaShem. Failure to fulfill a vow is worse than remaining disobedient in silence. To avoid making a negative public testimony, believers should not make vows that are impulsive and that cannot be fulfilled.

Devarim 23:21-23 states "When you shall vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, you shall not hesitate to pay it: for the LORD your God will surely require it of you; and it would be sin in you. But if you shall not vow, it will not be sin to you. That which is gone out of your lips you shall keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as you have vowed unto the LORD thy God, which you have promised with your mouth." Unfulfilled vows become sin. Therefore, impulsive vows are dangerous. An impulsive vow often leads to sin and other devastating consequences. For example, Shof'tim 11:30-37 states "Yiftach vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shall without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. So Yiftach passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus, the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. And Yiftach came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. And it happened, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back. And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened your mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for you of your enemies, even of the children of Ammon. And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me:" Yiftach's vow led Yiftach to commit sin. Yiftach's impulsive vow led him to sin against HaShem by offering his daughter. When Yiftach made the vow, the vow became a public testimony. As a result, Yiftach was required to fulfill his vow publicly. Unfortunately, Yiftach and his daughter paid a very high price for this impulsive vow.

Yeshua also warns his followers not to make impulsive vows. Mathew 5:33-37 states, "you have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shall not forswear yourself, but shall perform unto the Lord your oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shall thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yes; No: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil". An impulsive vow can force us into situations similar to Yiftach. Therefore, Yeshua makes it clear that His follower's obedience, should be based on a solid foundation of yes or no. Yeshua is encouraging His followers to either be obedient or not. Yeshua does not want His followers to make promises of obedience that will not be fulfilled. Yeshua prefers that his followers tell him no instead of making vain vows. In other words, Yeshua wants his followers to be founded on a lifestyle of obedience and not on a lifestyle that promises obedience.

Making a vow is a public display of what we intend to do. Therefore, the Torah considers a vow, to be a Holy action, that is witnessed by HaShem, those who hear the vow, and the person making the vow. As a result, when an individual fails to fulfill a vow it becomes a negative public testimony. Yeshua warns us that it is better to serve HaShem with yes or no, than to make a vow that cannot be fulfilled. When a believer makes a vow, the individual must fully weigh the cost, before making the vow.

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By Rabbi Yaakov benYosef ­

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