I’ve never written a post like this before, since I have always assumed that people who find my site already know to keep Torah. My job is to help them teach their children, and see the implications of keeping Torah in everyday family life. But, I have realized that, at some point, we each need to ask ourselves this question. Why do I keep Torah? If the answer is not what it should be, then we won’t continue to obey when the going gets tough. So, let’s look at this question today.
First, I’d like to look at some invalid reasons. These reasons may sound good on the surface, but they won’t help you when things get rough. They are akin to building your house on the sand.
- All my friends are keeping Torah.
- It’s the new trend.
- The feast days are fun and exciting.
- Kosher food is healthier.
- I want to connect more with the Hebrew roots of my faith.
- It adds depth to my beliefs.
If these are your reasons for keeping Torah, you won’t keep on keeping Torah. What if your friends stopped keeping Torah? What if they moved away, and you were the only one? What if you were sick on a feast day, and it ended up being really boring? Would you lose interest? What if both kosher and unkosher meat were healthy? Would you still only eat kosher meat? Once you feel more “connected to your roots,” will you need to continue keeping Torah? When you go through a dry spell in your walk, which we all do sometimes, will keeping Torah fall by the wayside? These reasons, by themselves, don’t hold water. They aren’t the right reasons for keeping Torah.
Let’s lay some groundwork, a solid foundation, to see what the true reason is.
The Bible is one book
Many of you have realized that the Old Testament is still valid. Let’s take that thought a step further. The Bible is one continuous story from start to finish. YHVH didn’t put down one train of thought and pick up another when He reached Matthew. Therefore, we give the same weight to Genesis as we do to Matthew. It was all given to us by the same God. If we claim to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, then we must listen to all that He has said. We can’t pick and choose.
YHVH never changes
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never changes. He doesn’t have a plan B, or C. He knew beforehand about the problem of sin. From the beginning of Genesis, He promised a Messiah. He gave us instructions, Torah, so that we could live a blessed life. Those two truths never change, no matter how far into the future you go. And, really, would you want to serve a God that keeps experimenting because He can’t get it right? That doesn’t sound like a very dependable God.
Yeshua always points to His father
I have seen a trend in recent years to make things all about the Messiah. I love my Messiah. I am so thankful for the work He did on the cross for me. I am grateful that He conquered death. I look to Him for an example of how to keep Torah. But, He told us that He came here to do His Father’s work. He came to show us how to obey the Father. He submitted His will to the Father. He was always pointing back to YHVH.
Yes, we believe in Yeshua our Messiah, and want to follow His example. But, we are to always look to YHVH. We are to obey YHVH, just as Yeshua did. I firmly believe that Yeshua is divine, but He willingly and humbly chose to submit His will to the Father.
Let’s look at Yeshua’s words in John 14.
Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”
Philip said to Him, “Master, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Yeshua said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you haven’t come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own; but the Father dwelling in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me- or at least believe because of the works themselves.
He goes on to say…
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper so He may be with you forever- the Spirit of truth, Whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him. You know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you. In a little while, the world will no longer behold Me, but you will behold Me. Because I live, you also will live! In that day, you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.
John 14:6-11; 15-22 TLV
Yeshua came to point us to the Father, and teach us how to obey Him. After Yeshua left earth, the Spirit was given to us, to again point us to the Father and teach us to obey Him. They both point us very deliberately back to the beginning, back to the Torah. We also learn from Yeshua that we demonstrate our love through obedience. Love is not an emotion. It is a deliberate choice to put someone else before ourselves. To show that we love YHVH, we obey His commands rather than choosing to do what we want.
We obey because He said so
At the end of the day, the only reason to keep Torah is because He said so. YHVH is in charge of this earth. He created us. He allows us to breathe each day. That alone is reason to do things His way. But, He went a step further. He took the first step towards us, to bridge the chasm caused by our disobedience. He sent His own Son as a deliverer to redeem us back to Him. He remained faithful to us when we wandered around doing whatever came into our heads. He sent us the Spirit to daily remind us of the truths written in Scripture. He is constantly wooing us to Him.
Far be it from me to insult His character and gracious love towards me by obeying half-heartedly or for the wrong reason.
I don’t obey the God of the universe Who sent His Son to die for me and point the way back to truth, because my friends are. Or because I think it’s a good life choice. Or because it makes me feel good.
I obey because YHVH told me to. He graciously showed me the right way to live through Torah and through His Son’s example. I choose to return His love through my obedience.
I eat kosher because He said so. Afterwards, I am thankful that it is also healthy for me.
I keep Shabbat because He said so. Afterwards, I am grateful for the blessing of rest.
I keep the niddah laws because He said so, and He is welcome to tell me what to do even in my bedroom. Afterwards, I discover the benefits to my marriage and my health.
I work hard to live at peace with those around me because He said so. Afterwards, I benefit from less stress in my relationships.
I do what Torah says because YHVH said so. Afterwards, I reap the blessings and enjoy being free from the curses.
Why do you keep Torah? Will your reason help you to continue to obey even when life gets rough?