Living Torah Commentary
Vayechi (He Lived)
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.
Vayishlach (He Sent)
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)
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
“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.
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)
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.