While humanity finds it difficult to turn from temptation and the lust of the flesh, the reward for such completely out ways the cost. HaShem reminded Yishrael in Devarim 7 before they entered the promise land what the cost were, and what blessings would flow should they obey. HaShem strengthened Yishrael by reminding them that their being chosen had nothing to do with anything other than His love for them, and His promise to their fathers 7:7-8. As a G-d who never changes (Mal'akhi 3:6a “For I am the LORD, I do not change"), HaShem reminds Yishrael of the promises given to their fathers casting a vision of the blessings and favour they will enjoy. In particular HaShem makes a statement of interest saying in chapter 7 verse 15, "And the LORD will take away from you all sickness (choliy), and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt". The second half of this verse reflected that of:
Shemot 15:26, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”
this was also later clarified in Devarim 27-60. The diseases referred to those HaShem brought upon the Egyptians (the plagues), however it is interesting that there is a mention of sicknesses followed by the mention of diseases! The word used for sickness 'choliy' is used for both internal and external instances. Though I can't seem to find any more information to this first line in verse 15 stating sicknesses, as scholars etc simply skip it and refer straight to the following line, and the words 'diseases of Egypt' (likely because it is easy to explain), I am left with the question -
- Would sickness (whatever that means) be no more today, at least for the Yishraelites, should Yisrael have remained obedient to the commandments?
For the remainder of chapter 7 through chapter 8, HaShem reminds Yishrael of the power He has already displayed through the exodus, and now promises to go before them again in great might, followed by HaShem outlining what must not happen, and warning Yishrael to never forget who has blessed them, protected them, and gone before them.
As we so often do when we walk in blessing, should it come as (what we think is) a result of our labour, or be it us coming before Hashem on our knees seeking His favour - after time we often pat ourselves on the back thinking it is our Righteousness that got us there. HaShem makes it clear in Devarim 9:4-5 to not do so:
4 “Do not think in your heart, after the LORD your God has cast them out before you, saying, ‘Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’; but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out from before you.5 “It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
This theme of remembering where the blessing comes from and in whom it will continue to flow from, continues to the end of this parashah. Obedience paved the way for blessing, in the same way that today faith in Yeshua paves the way to salvation, as Ephesians 2:8 says:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God"
This weeks parashah in a sense examples the spiritual reality of life without relationship with Yeshua. Disobedience placed Yishrael in a position of separation from blessing and favour, though still under promise, just as no faith in Yeshua today places a person outside of HaShems redemption through Yeshua:
Psalms 32:1,2,51 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,Whose sin is covered.2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit...5 I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
Ephesians 1:77 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
As Yishrael was required to walk in obedience to access blessing, we are required to walk in, and outwork our faith in Yeshua to access salvation.