Walk in God’s Ways
Yael Eckstein | August 30, 2022
because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the LORD your God and to walk always in obedience to him—then you are to set aside three more cities. — Deuteronomy 19:9
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Shoftim, which means “judges,” from Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9.
When do you feel closest to God? Although I begin every day in prayer, listening for what He will place on my heart, nothing compares to the closeness I feel to God when I’m somewhere in Ukraine, bringing food and winter supplies to an old Jewish Holocaust survivor who has no family and no one to take care of them.
During one of my many visits there, I walked into the home — really a shack — belonging to an elderly Holocaust survivor named Olga. Her face completely lit up, and she said to me, “No one knows about me! How did you find me? I’m all alone — no one cares about me!”
When I told her that there are millions of Christians who care about her and pray for her, she was overwhelmed. She said, “I’ve been waiting to die. I don’t want to live if I have to live cold, hungry, and hurting all of the time. Every day I ask God why he has kept me alive, but now I know why He has kept me alive — it’s so that when I die, I will die with a smile on my face.”
Walk in God’s Ways
This week’s Torah portion teaches us about what makes us closest to God. We read: “because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the LORD your God and to walk always in obedience to him—then you are to set aside three more cities.” Here, the Bible promises that God would enlarge the territory of Israel if they obediently followed His law.
In the original Hebrew, the phrase “to walk always in obedience to him” actually says “to walk in His ways all of your days.” The sages of the Talmud asked how it’s possible for human beings of flesh and blood to walk in the ways of God, who is all-powerful and above time and space.
They answered that to walk in God’s ways means to be like God, not in the physical sense, which is impossible, but to emulate God’s attributes. So what does that mean? The Talmud provides the following examples: “Just as He is called merciful and gracious, so must you be merciful and gracious. Just as He clothed Adam, so must you clothe the naked. Just as He visited Abraham when he was sick, so must you visit the sick.”
In the Christian Bible, Jesus mentioned these same attributes when talking about those who will find favor in God’s kingdom: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:35-36).
This is what it means to walk in God’s ways.
You can walk with God today by partnering with The Fellowship in caring for the needy.