God’s Expectations for Us
Yael Eckstein | August 2, 2021
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; — Deuteronomy 11:26-27
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Re’eh, which means “see,” from Deuteronomy 11:26–16:17.
One of the most important lessons that I have learned from being a mother is the importance of positive thinking. Children respond to the expectations that they sense coming from their parents. In fact, psychological research shows that when parents and teachers expect a child to do well, their chances of success increase significantly. Kids subconsciously sense what we anticipate from them and live up — or down — to those expectations.
The same is true of our relationship to God. We are His children, and He is our loving father in heaven. His expectations for us are likely far beyond what we have for ourselves.
We see this in the opening verses of this week’s Torah portion: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)
God Expects the Best for Us
When we look at the original Hebrew, we discover that there’s a small difference that teaches us a big lesson for our lives. In Hebrew, when it comes to the blessing, the verse says “the blessing when [asher] you obey the commands of the Lord,” not “if you obey the commands of the Lord.” But for the curses, the Hebrew, like the English translation, says “if you disobey.”
Like the loving father that He is, God has confidence in us. He expects us to succeed. He’s telling us, “When you obey my commandments, I will bless you.” Not “if.” He then goes on to tell us what will happen if we slip and fail to live up to His expectations. But the assumption is that we will live according to His will and experience His blessings.
God knows our potential. He sees the best version of each of us and expects the best for us. That is good news for all of us!
What task or challenge do you have coming up in your life? Take a moment and picture yourself meeting the challenge successfully. Remember that God has confidence in you!