Torah Commentary – Vayishlach (He Sent) – Just In Case It Does Not Work Out – SCRIPTURES FOR November 22, 2018

Torah Commentary
Genesis 32:4-36:43
Obadiah 1:1-21
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Revelation 7:1-12
Vayishlach (He Sent)
007-jacob-returns
Just In Case It Does Not Work Out
The life of Ya’akov carried with it some crazy twists and turns and was certainly not dull. I wonder if Yah had revealed to Ya’akov the drama filled encounters he would experience in his life, whether Ya’akov would have pressed forward to receive his blessings. If Ya’akov would have known what was ahead for him in Lavan’s home, would he have just stayed put in Beit-El. I wonder if He had shown us our lives…that’s another thought to ponder.
Ya’akov’s life changed much in the twenty years since his amazing encounter with Yahweh in Beit-El. He only asked for bread and clothes. Ya’akov returns with two wives, two concubines, eleven sons (one on the way), at least one daughter and quite the entourage of livestock, servants and their belongings with him. Not at all lost in the crowd is his “Beloved Wife” Rachel. Not known to Ya’akov, she is toting along her father’s household gods she had stolen from him. She did what?!
Let’s look back over the last twenty years of the life of Rachel. She arose one morning to take her flock of sheep to graze and water, her daily chore. On this particular day a gentleman appeared, Ya’akov, who fell head over heels in love with her. He went through twenty years of trials and service with her father, each day proving his devotion to her. We would think Ya’akov’s hard work and dedication, as well as Yah’s favor for increase, would give Rachel a sense of stability and strength. Yet Rachel, upon leaving her father’s house, decided she needed to take some of her father’s false gods with her. Was this her “back-up plan” just in case things didn’t work out the way Ya’akov said or that maybe Yahweh isn’t who He says He is.
Where do we see Messiah in this picture of Rachel with the false gods? We see Messiah as our True and Living God who clearly calls us to leave all behind (false gods, doctrines, attitudes, pride, etc) to follow Him. It is just not any more complicated than that.
Many of you reading this commentary are those who have “come out” or are presently coming out of systems of religion in one form or another. Father has opened our eyes, over a period of time, to the thought that we were serving something that looked more like Lavan-(white) washed tombs that did not have the life inside we were searching for. With that revelation, we made the break for Truth and set out on a journey back to what we now understand as our heritage and home. An important question to ask ourselves is “whether we may have brought a few things from our past with us?”. Could there be some things lurking under our camel saddles that we are not even aware of?
Go back to last week’s Torah portion and read again the account of Lavan’s pursuit of Ya’akov. When Lavan demanded the false gods, Ya’akov allowed Lavan to search the tents. In this week’s portion, when Yah tells Ya’akov to go back to Beit-El, it is Ya’akov who tells the people traveling with him to put away their false gods. I have to ask why they were allowed in the first place, but that is a message for another time! Neither time, when the subject of false gods comes up does Ya’akov choose to search them out for himself. Instead, he allows or instructs someone else do the job for him. This thought brings forth two options in my mind. Either the false gods were just not a big deal to Ya’akov, or he knew Rachel had them and allowed his physical love for her to cloud his judgment and not confront her. Whether those thoughts are correct, in the end, Ya’akov’s decision to not search his family would cost them both dearly in the loss of her life.
Here are a few questions to meditate on. What are we allowing into our lives and in the lives of our families through television, movies, social media, and video games? Are we spending the time and energy to search these things out for ourselves or just waiting for someone else to do it for us? Are we pointing out sticks in someone else’s eye before removing hidden logs from our own eyes? Do we have “back up plans” in case the Torah life style is a bust or if this Yeshua guy isn’t all that He’s been made out to be? Are we willing to take a stand, no matter the consequences, even at the cost of close relationships, to rid our tents of false gods?
Allow me to close with this thought. Just what is a false god anyway? Do any of us have little fat man statues hiding under our beds that we get out to rub their tummies for good luck before going to sleep? Probably not, but, what about attitudes, doctrines, traditions, pride of being right? What are we carrying that in the end will not bring forth life, but rather death?
Where is Messiah? He is the one who never carried or trusted in anything or anyone outside His Father. He is the One who can and will help us to search out those things that we need to leave behind. His help only comes with our desire though. May we desire the Holy One of Israel above all! Let us purpose to purge the “little fat men” from our camel saddles today! May His Light shine into the dark crevices of our hearts to reveal anything that would hinder us from going deeper into our relationship with Him!

Torah Commentary – Vayishlach (He Sent) – The Journey Continues – SCRIPTURES FOR December 2, 2017

Torah Commentary

jesus-jew-2

Vayishlach (He Sent)
Genesis 32:4-36:43
Obadiah 1:1-21
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Revelation 7:1-12
 
The Journey Continues     
 
Ya’akov is now free of Lavan after twenty years of working for him. The time was not wasted by any means as he is returning with a growing family and the riches needed to take care of them. It appears Yah was up to the challenge of guarding Ya’akov giving him bread to eat and clothing to wear. Though Lavan is behind him there is still a matter he has to face, his brother. 
 
Word comes to Ya’akov that Esav is heading his way with 400 of his men. Twenty years may be a long time, but Ya’akov figures those years have not softened the heart of Esav, but more than likely made it harder. The response Ya’akov has to the meeting is one we need to consider, not only for him, but for ourselves. In Genesis 32:21 the Complete Jewish Bible says Ya’akov sought to “appease” Esav. The Hebrew word here is kaphar. It is only used four times in Torah, two of those times in Genesis. The word means “To cover or coat with pitch.” Yes, you guessed it, the other time the word is used is in Genesis when Noah covers the Ark with pitch. Where do we go with this one? There are two directions.
 
First, we can take the standard commentary and say Ya’akov was trying to compromise with Esav and protect his own hide at the possible expense of part of his family being killed. Let’s take a different look.
 
When Noah covered the Ark with pitch what was he doing? Was he not seeking to protect that which was inside? Could this same thought not be applied to Ya’akov? Is it that Ya’akov thought he could not win the battle over Esav so he set the whole plan in motion to by time, protect his family for the moment and live to fight another day? You be the judge.
 
One more thought before moving on. Either way we look at this, in the end the conflict between the two brothers was not resolved, but rather pushed on to a different time, a different generation. Was this the plan and timing of Yah? I don’t know. What I do know is that one day the fight between the two seeds will have to be brought to a head and decided. When is that time? Again, I do not know. If it is to be in our lifetime, the question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we willing to no longer kaphar, but fight, no matter our personal cost?”
 
 After the meeting, Ya’akov again breathes a sigh of relief and continues his journey to Sh’khem. Wait, stop the bus, he goes where? Sh’khem. What about the oath he took to return to Beit-El? Maybe it was a stop on the way, but it would be a stop of disaster. It is in Sh’khem that Dinah is found with the “local girls.” Why was this allowed? Who forgot to protect their daughter, their sister? Dinah is raped and the family begins a downward spiral bringing tension within that I would argue is yet to be repaired. A sad note to me is the question of the boys which was asked to their father in Genesis 34:31. This question was never answered. You consider that one for a while. 
 
What is the lesson to us from the disaster of Sh’khem? There are many. On top of the list to me is concerning our oaths or promises we make to HaShem. Ya’akov stood at a mountaintop experience of seeing angels, ladders and Yah Himself. He speaks words of promise and then twenty years later, does he think Yah has forgotten those words? Did he consider Sh’khem a place to rest for a bit before he fulfilled his promise? It is my belief that as soon as he figured out he had survived the meeting with Esav he should have asked a question, WWAD. What Would Abraham DO? His grandfather, who when asked to sacrifice his Yitzchak, got up early and made a beeline to the mountain. If he had followed that example maybe the eventual wedding of Dinah would have been a happier event.
 
But who am I to point fingers at Ya’akov? Who are you to do the same? Truth is we have all made promises we at best, delay in keeping. Maybe the lesson of this Torah portion and the uncovering of Ya’akov’s life is for our benefit to teach us to not be quick to offer a vow or promise. When we do make a vow, let us be quick to fulfill those words at the earliest possible opportunity. I think that is something someone else spoke about somewhere, like maybe Yeshua in the Gospels! (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Acharei Mot(After the Death), K’doshim(Holy Ones) – Searching For Life – Day 8, Month 2, 5777; 4 May 2017

Torah Commentary
Acharei Mot(After the Death), K’doshim(Holy Ones)
Leviticus 16:1-18:30; 19:1-20:27
Ezekiel 22:1-19
Romans 3:19-28; 9:30-10:13
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
2 Corinthians 2:1-11
Galatians 3:10-14
Hebrews 7:23-10:25
The_Ten_Commandments2
Searching For Life
Life is an interesting word. The dictionary defines it as,”The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.” According to this definition life is just going through motions which will allow someone to know if we are an animal, plant or just a rock. Simply put, if it moves, grows and reproduces, it has life, if not, it’s a rock. Another definition for life is, “The period between the birth and death of a living thing.”
As I consider these definitions in light of the words in Leviticus 18:5, which explains we will have life through obedience to Torah, the dictionary definitions appear to pale in comparison of how I feel our Creator desires us to have life. If we throw into the mix the words of Yeshua in John 10:10, “I have come that you may have life, life in its fullest measure,” the definitions really lose value.
What is the difference between the book definitions of life and what most of us desire as the Scriptural definition of life? I believe it comes down to one word, purpose. Consider the word purpose for a moment. Is it possible for us to have life, but never find purpose? We all know the answer is a resounding “yes”!
When we reflect on an example of life without purpose our minds may envision a homeless person on a street corner. He or she wakes up in the morning the same as the rest of us, breathes the same amount of air as we do and in truth goes through many of the same motions to sustain a level of life. Is simply sustaining life all that our Creator intended? Obviously, not! Would you say, when compared to the homeless person on the street corner, we have achieved the Scriptural definition of life in its fullest measure by reading the Torah each week, eating clean and observing the Feasts? I’m not sure I would.
Ask an honest question of yourself. Do you feel you are walking in the Scriptural definition of life? Now I am going to go where only the truly insane go. Comparing your life of Torah today with your life in a church in the past, do you feel you have more life now or just more knowledge? I wish I could get a show of hands here.
If my conversations with people through the years are any indication to the answer of the above question I would say most of us feel we have more knowledge than life. If you are the exception, please do not become offended. Maybe you have found the keys to abundant life and should be the one writing instead of me. For all the rest, please read on.
Leviticus 18 promises we will have life through observing His laws and rulings. Yeshua says we will have abundant life through Him. Is the key to life in joining these two verses together? If so, is there a verse which combines their meaning? Look at Psalm 40:7, “In the scroll of the book it is written about Me.” This verse is our key to the equation. It is all about Him. (Click to Article)

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

Torah Commentary
JacobEsau
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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