Recently, I shared my testimony of coming over to a Messianic/Hebraic mindset and keeping the Torah. It was a group of about 150 adults. I started by asking a simple question. “How many of you adults grew up in this kind of life with these kinds of beliefs?” Not a single person raised their hands.
I’m sure almost all of them had grown up in church in some form. They grew up hearing the Scriptures and accepting traditional Christian theology.
That means every adult there had some kind of turning point when their perspectives changed, their understanding and approach to Scripture changed. It could have been a quick turn or one that took years, like me.
It was probably a hard change to make personally, but also a hard change for others around them in life to accept. It also means that all the kids present were essentially a first generation to grow up with this new way of life.
One of the problems many of us who have made this transition face is not what others think, but what we begin to think within ourselves, especially about those who we may have “left behind” or are still in the more traditional expressions of faith in Messiah.
I’ve seen people become harsh, impatient and cold toward those who represent what we used to be. That’s not good for our own walk, nor will it make the perspectives we want to share enticing.
To that issue, it made me take another look at a passage we studied recently, near the 2nd Greatest Commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”. This is a practical example of how to love your neighbor.
Leviticus 19:14—“You are not to curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am Adonai.”
The main point is that you may think you are getting away with something, after all, a deaf person will never hear your curse, nor a blind person see who put the stumbling block in their way, but God will hold you to account if you show such cruelty.
But I considered how it could be applied to this issue as well—the attitude those who have “crossed over” have towards those who have not.
The Deaf cannot hear—which is the heart of the greatest commandment—“Shema Yisrael ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad.” “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One.” (see Mark 12:28-29)
Not everyone has heard God the way we have heard. Not everyone has responded to the call or even received the call yet. They do not or cannot hear what we have heard.
The blind cannot see. Those who have not crossed over to this perspective do not or cannot see the same things in the Scriptures that we see. When we call attention to certain Scriptures about the Torah or the Feasts in the New Testament, traditional theology covers their eyes and makes it difficult for them to see. To them it seems foreign or out of step when in reality, it is more consistent with the world of the Bible.
Too often we hold it against them that they cannot see and hear what we do. We forget that not too long ago, we were in the same place. How patient was the Father with us in order to open our ears and our eyes?
There are many instances in the Scriptures where not everyone in a moment was able to see and hear or understand what was going on.
Paul’s Damascus Road experience is a good example. Paul heard and saw everything clearly, but to those with him it was a jumbled mess that they could not make out.
So when it comes to this passage in Leviticus 19 those of us who keep Torah and live by the Sabbath should not speak poorly of nor curse those who do not yet Shema (hear) the call to this perspective. We, with our attitudes should not be a stumbling block to those who do not yet see what we see due to our behavior and mistreatment of them.
The Father sees how we behave towards the “deaf and the blind”. He will hold us accountable for that.
We do not have to make others see what we see or hear what we hear. It’s the Father’s job to take care of that. We can be His instrument to help or hurt that effort.
One day, especially on the day of Yeshua’s return, everyone will hear and see.
Isaiah 2:2--“It will come to pass in the last days that the mountain of Adonai’s House will stand firm as head of the mountains and will be exalted above the hills. So all nations will flow to it.
3 Then many peoples will go and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the House of the God of Jacob! Then He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For Torah will go forth from Zion and the word of Adonai from Jerusalem.”