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 – Vayechi (He Lived) – Enjoying the Fruit – SCRIPTURES FOR December 30, 2017

Living Torah Commentary

Vayechi (He Lived)

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Genesis 47:28-50:26
1Kings 2:1-12
Hebrews 11:21-22
1Peter 1:3-9; 2:11-17
Enjoying the Fruit
Ya’akov is 130 years old when he arrives in Egypt. The following 17 years will be a gift in which he will be able to enjoy the fruit of his life, his family. During this time he will watch his boys mature, marry and bring forth children. Possibly the most joy he will have is spending time with the sons of Yosef. His appreciation and thanksgiving for them had to be very special.
Ya’akov knows his days are numbered and begins one of the greatest honors a father can give, blessing his children. He begins not with his sons, but rather his two grandsons, Efrayim and M’nasheh. It makes me wonder if these two, now young adults, were concerned about what would become of them after Ya’akov died. Had they been told the story of how Yosef was treated and wondered if they would be fully accepted after his death? Any doubts as to their place in the family were laid to rest as Ya’akov changed their family status from grandsons to sons. Efrayim and M’nasheh were not to feel like second class citizens in the family of Israel. May we receive this message in our day.
The teaching of the blessings is so rich, not only for them, but for us as the first words of the blessings tell us he was speaking more to a family living at the end of time than in their time. For those who would like to dig further into these blessings there are four messages I recorded some years ago called “The Twelve Tribes.” The mp3 downloads are available at http://www.joinedtohashem.org/audio-series.html.
When Ya’akov finishes the blessings the verse says he breathed his last and was gathered to his people. I find these words rich. For Ya’akov, death was as natural as life. In fact, most of his life had been a struggle; his death was one of the easiest steps he took. What a contrast to most people’s lives today. Ya’akov may have taught his family as much in his death as he did in his life. This is a great lesson to ponder.
The last request of Ya’akov was regarding his burial. He did not leave his wishes to chance or for his family to discuss. He made sure his wishes were known. This is another good lesson to ponder. For Ya’akov, his last words proved that for him, you may take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can never take Israel out of the man of covenant.
A couple more points. First is concerning the sons and their suspicion of Yosef. Though the 17 years Yaakov was alive, the sons of Yaakov never really accepted that Yosef had fully forgiven them, it is evident through their last recorded words prior to the death of Yosef that this had been a topic of conversation.  Just how many sons were still alive to bring forth these words? Yosef was one of the youngest. Had the suspicions of possible retribution been passed to their sons? We do not know the details, but there is something for us to consider.
Yosef is again a type and shadow of Messiah son of Yosef. Let me ask you this, “When it comes to your life and trusting our sins to be forgiven, do we fully trust or have doubts?” Is there a haunting thought in the back of your mind that there was that one thing you are just not sure has been forgiven?  Take a look at Psalm 103:12. Notice the verse does not say north and south. Why? For if he removed sins from north to south they could be found again. Think of it regarding the sphere of the earth. From south you can only go so far north till you find it and vice versa. East and west never meet. Allowing His forgiveness of ALL THINGS is a very freeing day. The story of Yosef allows us to walk in that forgiveness.
The end of the days of Yosef approach as we come to the end of Genesis. What are his last instructions? Don’t leave my bones in Egypt! Though his life has been one of great honor and prosperity in Egypt, he learned and walked in the example of his father, “You can take the man of covenant out of Israel, but you can’t take Israel out of the man of covenant”.
Let us live that lesson well! (Click to Source)

 

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

Torah Commentary

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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 -Vayishlach (He Sent) -Just In Case It Does Not Work Out -Day 15, Month 9, 5775; 15 December 2016

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.

Jesus scriptures temple2

Torah Commentary
Genesis 32:4-36:43
Obadiah 1:1-21
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Revelation 7:1-12
Vayishlach (He Sent)
 
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?! (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary – Ki Tetze -“When you go”

Jesus scriptures temple2

Torah Commentary
Ki Tetze “When you go”
Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19
Isaiah 54:1-10
2 Kings 10-12

A Single Focus of Life

The book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ summary to the people before his death.  Each thought, instruction, and word can be traced back to previous books of Torah.  This week is no exception.

In Deuteronomy, Moses tells the people to make four twisted cords which are to be placed on the corners of their garments.  This of course is a reference to Numbers 15:38-41.  The four blue cords, or fringes, are to remind them of the Torah, its instructions, and Who gave them those instructions.  The blue cords are very similar to a modern wedding ring.  The ring does not make you married; it makes a statement that you ARE married! (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary – Va’era (I appeared) – “I Didn’t ‘See’ That Coming”

Torah Commentary
Va’era (I appeared)
Exodus 6:2-9:35
Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
Romans 9:14-17
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

“I Didn’t ‘See’ That Coming”

Moshe traveling back to Egypt was not just a trip to the corner convenience store. It was quite a journey, and during this time the words spoken to him at the Burning Bush and his conversation with YH VH was probably played over and over in his mind. He probably came up with a hundred ways this could go. As the imaginations became reality, at some point he probably thought to himself, “I didn’t see that coming!”

With every plague the Pharaoh is becoming a bit more ticked off, and to make matters worse, Moshe is again living with the fact that his own family, the Hebrews, are not too happy with him either. The difference between his current situation and the one forty years earlier is he is able to “see” the hand of Elohim working in his midst. This is what gives him strength.

To fully understand where Moshe is at, we must take a look at the word I used: see. In English the word “see” is to look upon something with our eyes. This limits us to our natural vision. In Hebrew the word for see is “ra’ah,” which means to not only see with our eyes, but to perceive and consider with our spirit. Let’s look at it this way; When a situation arises in life, whether good or bad from our perspective, we have a choice. We can either “see” it through our eyes, or we can ask to “see” it through His.

For Moshe and the Hebrews, a greater work had to be done than simply leaving Egypt. Egypt was going to have to leave them.

Many years had passed since Yaakov and his family had entered Egypt. When they arrived, the Hebrews were abhorrent to the Egyptians and the Egyptians were abhorrent to the Hebrews. As time had passed, the Hebrews had settled into the life of Egypt. To many of them the land and ways of Egypt had become who they were. It was home. The act of delivering the Hebrews from Egypt meant Egypt had to once again become abhorrent to them. The purpose of the plagues was not only to judge the pride and arrogance of Egypt, but to destroy Egypt in the hearts of the Hebrews. We will see in later readings that this would be more difficult than even Moshe could have ever thought.

With all this said, let’s bring it to our day. It appears the whole world has entered into a time of plagues. From ebola in Africa to killings in Paris, the world is being set on fire. I, for one, believe it is just the beginning. There are going to be events in the near future which will make us stand with Moshe and say, “I didn’t see that coming.” The choice each of us face is the decision to not “see” these events with our eyes, but to pray for discernment to “ra’ah” through His eyes, for there is a greater purpose going on in our midst than just those “lousy old politicians” being judged for the way they are treating us.

The plagues in Egypt were not only to take the Hebrews out of Egypt, but to take Egypt out of the Hebrews. With each plague Egypt was being chipped from their hearts and a greater work was being done. In the end, many would not let Egypt go and would die in the wilderness. Let us not make the same mistake. When we “see” things coming and they are not the way we expected, let us pray that we may “ra’ah” the greater work, which by the way, may be a work within us.

Torah Commentary- Vayetze (He went out)- His God Too

Torah Commentary
Vayetze (He went out)
Genesis 28:10-32:3
Hosea 12:13-14:9
John 1:43-51

His God Too

Yaakov’s life has been one of testing from before he could remember. He did not choose this war, but from his mother’s womb, he has been thrust into it. He now breaks free of his brother’s grasp and heads out on his own to make a life for himself. Life from now on is going to be a bed of roses. Well, maybe not. The trials are only beginning.

Yaakov leaves the house of his father and mother and begins to walk. We are not told why he walked in the direction he did and the truth is, he probably did not know why himself. Yaakov is no doubt exhausted mentally and physically from the events of the preceding days and finds a comfortable rock to lay his head on. It is there he will see the Heavens opened and begin to understand his true calling in life. He is to be the one whom the covenant given to his father and grandfather will continue through.

Yaakov is not unfamiliar with the word covenant. He has heard this word from his earliest memories sitting on his Grandfather Abraham’s lap. His Father Isaac also made sure the story was forever ingrained in his memory. Now this God of Abraham and Isaac is wanting to enter into covenant with him. Yaakov decides it is time to put this God of his fathers to the test. Sure, he knows He can take care of his fathers, but can He take care of Yaakov? That is still a question.

Now, for most of us, seeing a ladder to Heaven with angels going up and down, we probably would have given in right away. Yaakov, on the other hand, decides to put this God to the test.  Yaakov names the place Beit-El, (House of God) then does something really gutsy.  Yaakov looks to the heavens and ushers a challenge to this God of his fathers. He tells Him that if He will go with him on on his journey, provide him bread, water and a safe return, He will be able to be known not only as the God of Abraham and Isaac, but will then be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Yaakov. By the way, I just love this guy for this one!

As a side note. Notice there is no record of Yah getting nervous here. It is not even recorded that he says a word. I personally feel He sat back in His throne a bit and gave a bit of a smile to the angels around Him.

Yaakov heads out onto a journey which I call his “Crisis of Faith.” He will begin his trial with a relative named Laban. Through Laban he will learn some lessons about faith in Yah. He will deal with trickery, deception, a barren wife and even some speckled goats. All the while, Elohim is showing Himself as faithful to Yaakov.

We end this Torah portion with Yaakov leaving Laban behind and heading back to Beit-El. He will still have a trial awaiting him just over the horizon, but at this point it appears Elohim is going to pass the challenge.

So what can we learn from this Torah portion which will help us in our own walk?

Each of us, just like Yaakov, come into this world and are at some time challenged with what god we will serve in life. We read the stories of covenants given to people who lived thousands of years ago. We can look to the heavens and see His glorious work.  At some time we must come face to face with a decision of whether we will also enter into that covenant. He must go from the God of our fore-fathers and fore-mothers to being our God. Many of us who have entered this covenant understand this. Many of us can recount our own version of a “Crisis of Faith” just the same as Yaakov was be able to do.

What about our children though? Are we sheltering them from their own “Crisis of Faith?” Are we, in an attempt to protect them from the “Evil of the World” also sheltering them from making HaShem their God?

Yah was up the the challenge regarding Yaakov. I believe His desire is to prove Himself mighty to each of us. To do this there are times He needs to take us to places we are not comfortable with. All the while though he is working all things together for good, because He is able to see past our challenge and to a love that is just waiting to break forth toward Him. A love which will make our desire to walk in the covenant of our forefathers. (Click to Site)

WHY FOLLOW A WEEKLY READING SCHEDULE?
On a weekly basis we hear the term unity in our churches and congregations. It is a subject spoken of, but is it truly lived out?
Going back to the time before Yeshua walked this earth, the Hebrews established a weekly Torah portion reading. Today this schedule goes from Genesis to Deuteronomy in one year. No matter where you travel in the world the same scriptures are being read and taught from. We understand the spiritual power of unity, which is why we join our faith with synagogues, congregations and churches that are choosing to follow this schedule. Our weekly readings include a reading from the prophets as well as the Renewed Covenant, (New Testament). Each week as you read, imagine that the same scriptures are being declared in most every country and time zone around the world.