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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A DIFFERENT SPIRIT

A DIFFERENT SPIRIT
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
holiness.”

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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Torah Commentary – Vayetze “And he went out”

Torah Commentary  

Vayetze “And he went out”
Genesis 28:10-32:3
Hosea 12:12-14:10

John 1:43-51

Just In Case

It is said that truth is far stranger than fiction. Nowhere is that statement more true that in the life of Jacob. The account of his life during the years with Laban, the marriages to Leah and Rachael and the birth of the first children is a story no one could have ever dreamed up! The twists and turns of this man’s life at times make you sit just shaking your head in disbelief. When we consider that this man is one of the Patriarchs and that his sons are the ones whose names are inscribed on the gates of the New Jerusalem … well, let’s just say it gives us hope for our lives today.

Yes, this is the story of those whose family we are grafted into. And we wonder why we look a bit dysfunctional at times. Looks like the nuts did not fall too far from the tree on this one!

In the account, Jacob has finally had enough of Mr. Nose Ring, Laban, and decides it is high time for him to take his family and head back to the home he has been promised. But will the story of his return be any more normal than his life to this point? Of course not!

Another saying that comes into play this week is that “Love is blind.” This is certainly true in Jacob’s relationship with his favored wife Rachael. It has been over fourteen years that he has been in love with her, and in fourteen years he has been blinded to a part of her life that we will read in coming weeks would continue to bring heartache to his life and to his family. What is this part of Rachael’s life? We find it in Genesis 31:19 when Rachael steals the household idols of her father, Laban.

To understand this act we have to understand what these idols were all about. These idols were carvings of false gods which Laban worshipped. He had no doubt taught his family they were bringing blessings and some sort of “luck” to his family. Rachael had seen her father trust in these little idols and had heard him tell stories of giving them credit for the blessings of his life. Rachael bought into this and accepted it all as truth.

Along comes Jacob and during the years of work and marriage to Rachael, he tells her of this “New God,” the God of his father and his grandfather. When it comes time to leave Rachael is in a bit of a spot. Does she forsake her father and his gods to follow her husband and his God? What if we just appear on the surface to be following the God of Jacob, but just in case He does not come through, we reserve something to fall back on? Now that sounds like a good idea, does it not?

About this time, we should all be staring at these words and asking ourselves a very serious question, “Just how much of Rachael’s attitude is in our lives today?” Yes, “OUCH” is a very appropriate word to use here!

Through the years that I have been pursuing Torah, I have seen a multitude of people come and go. Many have come in with the attitude of “I will give this ‘Torah Thing’ a try, but if it does not work out for me, I can still go back to the way I grew up.” Or better yet, they decide to carry both at the same time, just seeing which one will work out better for their needs in the end.

We will see in coming weeks how riding the fence did not work out very well for Rachael. In fact, as we continue to read the Torah, we will find this approach does not work out very well for anyone.

This is not a day to be found wavering. It is a day to make clear choices of just which direction we are going in life. Will we truly serve the Elohim of the Scriptures or will we serve the lies and falsehoods that have been handed down through the past centuries? Many still need to make that decision! I can think of no better month to decide our path than the one which we enter next Shabbat. Will we stand with the Torah faithful during the time of Hanukah or will we trust in idols of trees, ornaments and lights of the false gods? To quote Joshua out of next week’s readings, “As for me and my house …” I hope you know the answer.

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