Parashat Ekev (עֵקֶב |

Saturday 20th August 2022 23rd Av 5782


Parashat Eikev

Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25; Isaiah 49:14-51:3; Matthew 16:13-20


Self-Righteousness

Moses assured the Israelites that God will give them the conquest of Canaan. He warned them three times lest they presume that their righteousness provided sufficient merit for their success. Moses had already told them that their future success would be guaranteed “because” of their obedience to the commandments. The people of Israel might naturally assume, then, that success was an indication of their own righteousness. We might be prone to make a similar mistake. A pastor with a successful, growing congregation might assume that he is in God’s favour because of the numbers. A businessman who lands a lucrative contract may suppose that he is being rewarded for his godliness. In both cases, the assumptions may be correct, but there might be other factors at work not at all related to one’s personal righteousness. Moses stressed three times that “it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people” (Deuteronomy 9:6). He went on to rehearse the sin of the golden calf and the incidents in the wilderness that provoked God to anger. He recounted how he fasted on their behalf and pleaded for their forgiveness. He retold the story of how God, in His mercy, relented, and did not punish them as their deeds deserved. If not for Moses’ intercession and atonement on their behalf, Israel would not have even survived the journey from Egypt. They had Moses to thank for their deliverance thus far. There could be no talk of their merit and righteousness.

Their observance of the Torah was not sufficient to merit the conquest of the land. If the children of Israel did not deserve to take possession of the land, why did God give it to them? Moses gave two reasons: The sin of the Canaanites and the covenant promises to the patriarchs.

It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 9:5) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:13)

We would do well to remember this. Recently, someone remarked that I do good deeds; ‘I give food to those begging at the robots, I make sandwiches weekly for the hungry etc’. But, Scripture paints a completely different portrait at our own attempts at good deeds.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Paul clearly taught that all our human attempts at attaining righteousness are futile; “for we all fall short of the glory of God”. Ephesians 2:1 says “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” That’s how hopeless we are apart from God’s free gift of salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:21

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”


Of course, as followers of Messiah, we are to do good deeds but only those that draw attention to God.

Matthew 5:15-17

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your

light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify

your Father in heaven.


And, just to be very clear what those good deeds are, Paul continued in verse 17:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law nor the Prophets.

I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.


And so, yes, we do the best we can to help the orphan, the widow and the under privileged, but we do not pat ourselves on the back.


We do our good deeds as unto the Lord Himself!

Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25; Isaiah 49:14-51:3; Matthew 16:13-20


Self-Righteousness

Moses assured the Israelites that God will give them the conquest of Canaan. He warned them three times lest they presume that their righteousness provided sufficient merit for their success. Moses had already told them that their future success would be guaranteed “because” of their obedience to the commandments. The people of Israel might naturally assume, then, that success was an indication of their own righteousness. We might be prone to make a similar mistake. A pastor with a successful, growing congregation might assume that he is in God’s favour because of the numbers. A businessman who lands a lucrative contract may suppose that he is being rewarded for his godliness. In both cases, the assumptions may be correct, but there might be other factors at work not at all related to one’s personal righteousness. Moses stressed three times that “it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people” (Deuteronomy 9:6). He went on to rehearse the sin of the golden calf and the incidents in the wilderness that provoked God to anger. He recounted how he fasted on their behalf and pleaded for their forgiveness. He retold the story of how God, in His mercy, relented, and did not punish them as their deeds deserved. If not for Moses’ intercession and atonement on their behalf, Israel would not have even survived the journey from Egypt. They had Moses to thank for their deliverance thus far. There could be no talk of their merit and righteousness.

Their observance of the Torah was not sufficient to merit the conquest of the land. If the children of Israel did not deserve to take possession of the land, why did God give it to them? Moses gave two reasons: The sin of the Canaanites and the covenant promises to the patriarchs.

It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 9:5) For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:13)

We would do well to remember this. Recently, someone remarked that I do good deeds; ‘I give food to those begging at the robots, I make sandwiches weekly for the hungry etc’. But, Scripture paints a completely different portrait at our own attempts at good deeds.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Paul clearly taught that all our human attempts at attaining righteousness are futile; “for we all fall short of the glory of God”. Ephesians 2:1 says “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” That’s how hopeless we are apart from God’s free gift of salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:21

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”


Of course, as followers of Messiah, we are to do good deeds but only those that draw attention to God.

Matthew 5:15-17

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your

light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify

your Father in heaven.


And, just to be very clear what those good deeds are, Paul continued in verse 17:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law nor the Prophets.

I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.


And so, yes, we do the best we can to help the orphan, the widow and the under privileged, but we do not pat ourselves on the back.


We do our good deeds as unto the Lord Himself!