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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

HaAzinu 53-3


Deuteronomy 32:13-18

He made him ride on the high places of the land, and he ate the produce of the field, and he suckled him with honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.

Deut. 32:13 ESV

Who may ride in the heights of the land?

The phrase "ride in the high places of the land (or earth)" is also in the book of the prophet Isaiah as a promise of blessing in relation to Shabbat. In Isaiah 58:13-14 it's written: "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the LORD has spoken." (NIVUK)

We can assume from this that when the people of Israel keep Shabbat they are blessed and have the right to live in the land of the promise.

The illustration of riding in the heights of the land can also be understood allegorically in relation to wonderful spiritual experiences in the heights. The prophet Eliyahu is an example of that as we can see in 2 Kings 2:11: "As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind." (NIVUK)

Those who keep Shabbat, Jewish or Noachide (son or daughter of Noach), will be blessed, not only physically but also spiritually, because during the creation, the Eternal blessed Shabbat and sanctified it for all men (Gen. 2:3). Shabbat was made for all mankind, not only for the Jews (Mk. 2:27).

In Sinai the Eternal elevated Shabbat for the people of the circumcision, and established it as a sign of the covenant (Ex 31:13-17), but this does not exclude the Noachides from the right to benefit from the great blessings hidden in that day.

In Isaiah 56:6-7 it's written: "And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant?  these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." (NIVUK)

At first sight it seems that this text only speaks of the converts from among the nations who embrace the covenant of circumcision and become Jewish. But the last part reveals that it also includes all the peoples. As we've said before, the Eternal does not want that all the peoples enter the covenant of circumcision because they weren't meant for that. The fact of separating the sacred nation from the rest of the nations does not mean that the nations cannot benefit from the blessings in the covenants made with Israel – on the contrary. The blessings in the covenants are given to Israel to benefit the nations.

Keep Shabbat and you may be able to ride in the heights of the land.



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