Jewish-Christian Devotional: ADAR II 03
Voice of the Lord
All the mitzvot [commandments] I am giving you today you are to take care to obey (Deuteronomy 8:1).
This Scripture actually describes God's commandments in the singular (kol hamitzvah). The emphasis is not on following each one of God's instructions as separate or distinct parts.
Instead, they need to be viewed as a whole, as the Artscroll Tanach reads, "the entire commandment." In other words, each part of the Torah is interconnected. Ya'akov (James) makes the same point as he reflects on this passage in James 2:8-12. This means we cannot treat Scripture as a dinner menu, selecting just those items which are most appetizing.
We are to fully follow God for our entire well-being. We should see ourselves as members of the "613 Club"—there are 613 commandments in the Torah, according to tradition—not the "600 Club" or even the "612 Club." As Yeshua himself makes clear, even the less significant mitzvot areimportant as well (Matthew 5:18-19).
Does this mean that if we can't keep the whole of Torah we might as well give up and not keep any of it? That's like the story of the bear who goes into the cornfield and fills his arms with ears of corn. As he leaves, he drops one ear. Dissatisfied with losing part of his haul, he throws down the rest and goes back to gather more. Again he drops an ear as he leaves the field. Again, dissatisfied, he throws away the remainder and returns to get more.
He does this repeatedly. Eventually, he goes away hungry. But aren't we hypocrites if we keep only part of the Torah, and not all of it? A hypocrite is one who claims something for himself or herself that is not true. Our inability just makes us inconsistent. As many have pointed out, the only totally consistent people are those who are dead. We should follow God as completely as we can at our present stage of development and seek to grow into following his guidelines more fully.
...trust God to enable me to follow him more fully than yesterday.