Vayishlach “And he sent” – Still Running From the Enemy

Torah Commentary
Vayishlach “And he sent”

Genesis 32:4-36:43

Hosea 11:7-12:12

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Revelation 7:1-12

Still Running From the Enemy

Jacob has seen much over his past twenty years with Laban. He has seen HaShem provide for him and give him great wealth. He has seen favor like few people will ever see. Jacob has wrestled with God and even been given a new name. After all of this, there is still an area of Jacob’s life he is not willing to turn over and allow it to be put to death. Jacob is still afraid of what others will think of him.

We see this in the infamous meeting with his brother Esau. Instead of standing on the promises of God in his life, he begins to divide what God has given him in hopes that in the end something will be salvaged if his brother begins a fight with him. It seems that with all Jacob has seen in the past years of God moving in his life, he would take a stand in the face of his brother instead of cowering in the shadows.

Next we see Jacob after his daughter Dinah has been raped by Shechem. In the end Simon and Levi take care of the situation by putting all the men of Shechem to death through a quite cleverly devised scheme. Right or wrong, these two boys stood against the odds and took vengeance for the act against their sister. What is the response of Jacob at the end of this account? He is concerned about what others will think of him! I for one just do not understand this one!

Now before you think I am just taking the opportunity to beat up on Jacob, let us first understand that the lives of these men and women are recorded so we may learn from them. I am not beating up on him, but expounding upon how he reacted so that we may learn.

As I write this commentary, it appears that Jacob and Esau are scheduled to have another meeting. This meeting is to decide what portions of Israel and Jerusalem are to be divided so that “peace” can finally come to Israel. The U.S. and the U.N. are playing the role of Shechem by attempting to take what is not rightfully theirs through the brokering of this meeting.

I wonder why any leaders of the nation of Israel can agree to be part of such a meeting. Have they forgotten the short history of the past sixty years? Do they not remember being attacked from every direction in 1948 and winning? Do they not remember the Six Day War? Do they not remember leaders of their past who called for the sun to stand still, killed multitudes alone with a jawbone of a donkey or called fire down from the heavens? It all makes one scratch his head with wonder.

What the outcome of this next meeting will be is a mystery at this moment in time. It is doubtful that Jacob will take a stand with Esau, but rather will once again bow down to his brother. It is doubtful that Jacob will take a stand against Shechem who has come with rape on his mind again. The outcome at this time in history is unsure, but that is to change. At some point Simon and Levi are going to rise up to fight. They will do so not on their own this time as they did in the days of their sister. This time they will do so under the direction of God and by His leading. They will go forth in the strength and power of great men such as Joshua, Gideon, Elijah and Sampson. These people are going to take a stand against the Esau’s and the Shechem’s of the world. In that day the house of Jacob will finally prevail and put an end once and for all to this sibling rivalry and abuse of the family.

How and when will this fight begin? Who will be the players this time? What will happen during this next meeting if it truly does take place? I will not begin to speculate. I do however know that many reading this commentary are feeling something rising up inside of them. It is not a feeling to pray for a good outcome to the meetings taking place or for God to delay His timetable anymore. Many of you feel as I do that this battle has gone on too long, it is time to face it head on and put an end to it once in for all. The words, “Let’s roll” are taking on new meaning in your spirits.

What will happen, how it will happen, and who will be the final players are yet to be made known. It is however a time to seek God, to listen and to stand at attention awaiting the orders that even now may be on the way.

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by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
Christians today live in a time of great light. The Holy Spirit has revealed to
us the meaning of Jesus’ powerful work on the cross and the incredible blessings
of His sacrifice. Yet there was a time known as the Dark Ages when Christ’s
wonderful work was obscured from the world.

Most sermons during the Dark Ages focused on damnation and God’s wrath. The
popes and priests preached a gospel of works and the people performed a variety
of deeds to try to find peace with God. They traveled for miles to bow to
shrines, knelt in worship before stone icons, repeated long prayers, fondled
prayer beads. Yet all these things only increased their bondage and brought
deeper darkness to their souls.

People then knew nothing of the benefits and blessings available through
Christ’s victory at Calvary. Even today, with all the teaching available on the
subject, the majority of Christians still do not understand many important
aspects of Christ’s work for us, that is, what it means to be “in Christ.”

As a shepherd of the Lord’s flock, I occasionally preach on hell, damnation and
God’s wrath. But more and more I have become convinced that the only way I can
lead God’s people to victorious living is to preach the blessings and benefits
of “being in Christ.”

The fact is, being in Christ is the only foundation upon which true holiness
and righteousness can be built. Without this foundation, we will rely on our
flesh to try to produce a form of holiness in ourselves. But true holiness is
obtained only through knowing the riches of God in Christ Jesus.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live
soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). Only
God’s grace can teach us the kind of theology that leads to holiness—and no
works can ever produce that.

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by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
The reason so many Christians today live in fear and confusion is because they
do not understand the joyful sound of Jubilee. Yes, they know Jesus died and
rose again and His blood has power to save. But they have not yet understood
the joyful sound of all that He has provided that they might live in freedom.

“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound” (Psalm 89:15). The joyful
sound we hear today is the trumpet of God proclaiming our deliverance, through
the blood of Jesus Christ.

Here are the other blessings of the joyful sound of Jubilee:

1.  “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord,
in the light of thy countenance” (Psalm 89:15). The Hebrew meaning here
suggests, “They shall walk in cheerfulness, secure in God’s promises, at ease
in His presence.” Simply put, we no longer have to walk in darkness or
confusion, because we will behold the light of His face.

2.  “In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall
they be exalted” (verse 16). We know our own righteousness is as filthy rags and
so we are to take courage by rejoicing in His righteousness — which is ours by
faith alone.

3.  “For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall
be exalted” (verse 17). We know that Christ alone is the source of all our
strength and we do not have to live under the devil’s thumb anymore. All we
have to do is look upon Satan’s back, where we will see the heel print of our
Savior. Jesus has crushed our enemy!

4.  “For the Lord is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our king”
(verse 18). We are utterly helpless in our flesh and so we totally trust in the
victory of Jesus’ cross. He defends us against every enemy.

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by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
Just as the high priest ascended the stairs to the holy place on the day of
atonement, our High Priest ascended into the heavenly tabernacle, ” . . . a
greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands” (Hebrews 9:11). Jesus
ascended not merely to enjoy the glory He deserves but to do a work on our

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus’ work in heaven is all for us: “He
ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (7:25). Christ does it all for us!
What exactly does it mean that “He lives to make intercession for us”? I
believe Jesus intercedes for us in three ways:

First, some of us imagine Jesus standing before the Father, pleading with Him
to show us mercy when we fail. But that is not the case. Christ’s intercession
for us has to do with Satan’s accusations against us. You see, the devil comes
to God’s throne to accuse us of every failure and transgression. He cries, “I
want justice. And if You are a just God, You will damn and destroy this person.
He deserves it.”

But then, Jesus steps in. He does not have to persuade the Father of anything.
Rather, He simply declares the victory of His cross. Then He turns to Satan and
says, “Didn’t you hear the trumpet sound? You have no claim over this child of
Mine. Keep your hands off My property!”

Second, Christ’s intercession for us means He makes certain that we obtain and
enjoy all the benefits provided by Jubilee. Just as the Levites enforced the
law that provided every man with his just blessings, Jesus today enforces the
privileges of Jubilee for us. He makes sure we know we are legally free.

Third, Jesus intercedes in our own hearts, reconciling us with the Father. He
continually answers our doubts and fears, and reminds us that we forgiven. We
can trust in God’s faithfulness to provide us with all the power and strength
we need.

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Is Egypt about to become the new Iran?

It is not only the anti-government protesters in Egypt’s Tahrir Square who should be concerned about President Mohammed Morsi’s audacious power grab. Mr Morsi’s claim at the weekend that “God’s will and elections made me the captain of this ship” has echoes of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s claim during the 1979 Iranian revolution that his mission to overthrow the Shah enjoyed divine guidance.

Since his announcement that he was granting himself sweeping new powers, Mr Morsi has been trying to reassure sceptical Egyptian voters that he has no ambition to become Egypt’s new Pharaoh. But you only have to look at the violent scenes that have once again erupted in Tahrir Square to see that the majority of Egyptians remain unconvinced.

When Egyptian demonstrators first occupied Tahrir Square last year to call for the overthrow of Mr Morsi’s predecessor, President Hosni Mubarak, they were calling for a secular, democratic system of government that would represent the interests of all Egyptians, and not just the corrupt clique of presidential supporters. Similar sentiments were expressed by Iranian demonstrators during the build-up to the Shah’s overthrow in February 1979 as they sought to remove a similarly corrupt regime.

But as we now know to our cost, the worthy aspirations of the Iranian masses were hijacked by Khomeini’s hardline Islamist agenda, and within months of the Shah’s overthrow Iran had been transformed into an Islamic republic.

Mr Morsi says he has no desire to become a dictator, but his announcement that, henceforth, all presidential decrees will be immune from legal challenge does not bode well for Egypt’s transition from military dictatorship to democracy.

I am sure I am not the only one wondering whether Mr Morsi is about to become the new Ayatollah Khomeini.

Certainly, unless Mr Morsi backs down, all those who sacrificed their lives in the cause of the Egyptian revolution will have died in vain.

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Charlie Brown Christmas show at center of church vs. state fight

An atheist group is accusing an Arkansas grade school of violating students’ constitutional rights by inviting them to a performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at a local church.

Students at Terry Elementary School in Little Rock were invited to a performance of the show at Agape Church. Teachers informed parents in letters home that a school bus would shuttle children to and from the show, which would be performed on a school day, KARK 4 News reported.

According to the station, the letter the teachers sent home indicates the play will be held on Friday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. at the church. Children attending will be taken on a school bus and will need to pay $2 to cover the expense of the bus rides, the letter states. Students are not required to attend the production, according to the school district.

One parent contacted the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers after receiving the letter.

“We’re not saying anything bad about Charlie Brown,” Anne Orsi, a Little Rock attorney and vice president of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, told KARK 4 News. “The problem is that it’s got religious content and it’s being performed in a religious venue and that doesn’t just blur the line between church and state, it oversteps it entirely.”

The parent, who did not want to be named, told KARK in a statement that although she could choose not to allow her child to attend, she’s letting her daughter go to the performance for fear the girl could be singled out.

A spokeswoman for the Little Rock School District says the district does not endorse any particular faith or encourage any specific religious activity.

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Egypt: protesters descend on Tahrir Square

More than 100,000 gather to protest against a decree issued by President Morsi granting sweeping constitutional powers

More than 100,000 people took to the streets of Cairo on Tuesday toprotest against a decree by the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, that grants him sweeping constitutional powers.

Columns of protesters from all over the Egyptian capital descended on Tahrir Square, the focus of the January 2011 revolution, in numbers that rivalled the rallies in the 18-day protest that toppled the authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.

“Dictator” was the word being used to describe Morsi’s new status after last Thursday’s decree, which grants immunity for the president from judicial review as well as protecting a controversial constitutional assembly dominated by the group he is affiliated with, the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Today’s protests are to overthrow oppression and stand up to the new dictatorship of Morsi, his decree and a constitution far removed from the revolution,” said Haytham Mohamedeen of the Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists movement. “He has to back down. The revolution and the streets will dictate what he will do. If he stands in the way of the revolution, he will share the same fate as Mubarak.”

Other marchers called for Morsi not merely to rescind his decree but to step down from the presidency. The chant of the 2011 revolution – “The people want to bring down the regime” – was echoed in other major Egyptian cities, including Alexandria and Suez.

Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Alexandria and Mansoura were ransacked and in the case of latter, set on fire, prompting the organisation to formally request the armed forces to protect the main headquarters in Mokkatam in Cairo.

Security Forces at both scenes had apparently refused to intervene.

Clashes also raged in the city of Mahalla between Muslim Brotherhood sympathisers and anti-Morsi protesters, resulting in 300 injuries, while there were also reports of clashes in Port Said.

Earlier, police continuously fired teargas near Tahrir Square while fighting raged with protesters who continued to arrive in large numbers. Among them was Mohamed ElBaradei, the former International Atomic Energy Agency chief who has taken on the role of co-ordinator of a national salvation front set up to unite opposition to the Morsi decree.

Rami Ghanem, of the National Front for Justice and Democracy, said Morsi’s decree had galvanised and united Egypt’s disparate opposition groups.

“Most political movements have joined a salvation front with a united political bureau,” he said. “What we have failed to do in the past two years, Morsi has achieved with his decree, uniting all of us.

“Our objection is to the decree, irrespective of which president issued it. Killing continues by the ministry of interior, and governments that do this must be removed. We cannot accept any more transgressions, so this may escalate to peaceful civil disobedience.”

On Monday night, after a meeting with the supreme judicial authority, the presidency issued a statement clarifying the decree and stating that Morsi would use the new powers only for “sovereign matters”, which is presumed to mean anything that relates to national security.

A counter-protest planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups was postponed to avoid confrontation with those inflamed by the perceived power grab. Neither of these concessions was enough to stop the protests.

“Morsi has no credibility any more,” said Mohamed Eissa Moussa, a merchant participating in one of the marches. “He must step down. Neither he nor the Muslim Brotherhood can be trusted any more. He is not working for the revolution but for himself and his brotherhood. Had he been different, I would have supported him.”

Ahmed Bakr, a member of Egypt’s union for doctors, said: “He has appropriated the revolution, and what’s worse, he is claiming it is in the name of the revolution. This is a pivotal moment: if we accept his decree, the revolution is over.

“This isn’t democracy, and their adoption of such a decree is farcical. The Brotherhood have no shame and Morsi is tearing this country apart.”

Tahrir Square was teeming with people even before the separate marches reached the area early in the evening. Adapted anti-Mubarak chants calling for the heads of Morsi and the Brotherhood reverberated from the city’s buildings.

However, the Twitter account of the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English-language website, Ikhwanweb, seemed unperturbed by the numbers out in protest, first dismissing the “low turnout” in Tahrir Square and then stating that opposition forces pleased about 300,000 protesters should brace themselves for the “millions” that would come out in support of Morsi.

“On #Jan25, united Egyptians (Islamists, liberals, leftists) revolted against autocracy, supported by millions across country, today is politics,” Ikhwanweb tweeted.

Morsi, emboldened by his success on the international stage for in reaching a truce between Hamas and Israel, has defended his decree by stating it was necessary to defend the revolution from remnants of the Mubarak regime.

It’s expected that Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court will issue a statement clarifying its position regarding Morsi’s decree Wednesday morning.

The number of fatalities in a week of unrest reached four on Tuesday, with news of the death of Fathi Gharib, a member of the Socialist Popular Alliance party, who was reported to have died after inhaling teargas.

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Atheists, clearly agitated that Christians purportedly “stole” various holiday traditions from pagans, have come up with a solution: A potentially-offensive “natural nativity scene” that removes baby Jesus and replaces traditional Bible characters with some eyebrow-raising alternatives. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is behind the spectacle, which emerged this week as part of a diorama inside the Wisconsin state capitol.

The angel that typically graces the nativity is replaced with an astronaut. And the wise-men – prominent figures in the Biblical account of Jesus’ birth — are replaced with evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, scientist Albert Einstein, anarchist Emma Goldman and author Mark Twain. The Statue of Liberty is also placed in the alternative nativity to purportedly symbolize freedom.

Rather than including Mary, whom the FFRF dismisses as “a mythical fertility figure,” the display includes Venus, the Roman goddess of love. And forget about Joseph — this depiction has Thomas Jefferson, a figure atheist groups enjoy touting for his purported church versus state views. According to the FFRF, Jefferson “would have disavowed Christian devotional scenes on state property.”

Most noticeably, instead of Jesus, an African American baby girl is utilized. According to a press release put out by the organization, this action was chosen in an effort to encourage society to “adore girl children as much as boy children.” Also, the inclusion of this figure was implemented to showcase that life commenced in Africa.

“We nonbelievers don’t mind sharing the season with Christians, but we think there should be some acknowledgment that the Christians really ‘stole’ the trimmings of Christmas, and the sun-god myths, from pagans,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor proclaimed on the group’s web site.

In addition to the nativity, the organization has also placed a sign in the capitol rotunda that lambastes Christmas’ religious significance. It reads:

“At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail.
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

On the back of the poster, a poem from Ella Wheeler, a Wisconsin poet, is included. Much like the front of the sign, the selection, entitled, “The World’s Need,” takes aim at the world’s many religions.

The FFRF assembles the sign each year (this is the 17th time it has appeared in the capitol) in an effort to ensure that its non-theist views are heard during the holiday season. Additionally, this is the second year that the nativity has been included (read about last year’s display here).

While the group claims that it would like all religious symbols out of government buildings, it maintains its own right to have anti-faith signs and symbols present if those more religious elements also have a place.

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by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

The apostle Paul writes of Christ’s ascension into heaven: “And having spoiled
principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them
in it” (Colossians 2:15). That’s right! Staggering behind our Lord’s triumphant
procession was the prince of darkness himself, bound in chains. And behind the
defeated devil — underneath the wheels of the heavenly hosts — were all the
powers of darkness, bound and vanquished. They were being put to an open shame
before all those who had died in faith before the cross.

“And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall
they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Revelation
2:27). Jesus entered the gates carrying in His hand a scepter of righteousness,
His “rod of iron” with which He rules all nations. Then, after His triumphant
entrance, He took His rightful place on the throne in full possession of all
power, authority and dominion.

What a glorious picture! Satan is not in control. Communism is not in control.
Atheism is not in control. No, the enemies of Christ exist only by His
permission. And right now they only continue to fill up their cups of iniquity.
Jesus is in control of all things and one day, when He is ready, He will “break
them with a rod of iron; [He] shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”
(Psalm 2:9).

Beloved, our understanding of Christ’s victory over Satan and the dominion of
sin cannot be a vague, confused theology. We must know and understand that
Satan is totally defeated. He cannot hold us prisoner, and Christ has freed us
by His blood from every bondage. Now He sits on His throne with all power and
authority, offering us peace, joy and freedom.

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by Gary Wilkerson

“But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit . . .” (Numbers
14:24, ESV).

What was it about Caleb that caused the Bible to say he had a different spirit?
Are you a man or woman who hungers and thirsts and cries out to God, “Make me
a man or woman of a different spirit”? Or are you a middle-of-the-road
Christian, willing to wander in the wilderness, willing just to spend your life
in mediocrity?

What was it within Caleb and Joshua that set them apart? Why did they have a
different spirit? What sets apart any man or woman who has a different spirit?
Why do they not seem ordinary? What do they have and why do some of us not have
it? How do these men and women get this different spirit? And the most important
question of all, how can I get it?

A young man in our church has set his face like a flint to follow Jesus. When I
am with him I say to myself, “Jesus, I want the kind of desperate spirit this
young man has. I want more of that fire and that unction, that purity and that

This young man says, “I have determined to follow Jesus, not in my own
strength but in the power of the Holy Ghost.” His heart says to me, “I have
determined to walk with clean hands and a pure heart.” In an age of
compromise, he has determined to keep His eyes on Jesus. When others around him
are willing to put on a light show with smoke and mirrors to draw a big crowd,
he is crying out, “Lord, I don’t want that. Yes, I want to have thousands
saved, but I’m hungry for something more of You.”

When I am around this young man of a different spirit, I am provoked to
jealousy. The Holy Spirit allows us to be jealous or envious of someone who has
more of Jesus!

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