Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, November 23, 2020
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Mon 23-Nov-2020 7th of Kislev, 5781
Ge 29:1-17 1 Sa 3 Ps 48 Mk 6:1-29 (1 Co 1)
We started our 7 day, weekly, Torah reading cycle yesterday beginning in Genesis 28:10 with the story of Jacob’s dream. The portion takes its name from the first word, “Vayetzei.” It uses the “vav conversive” to change the future tense (he will go out) into past tense (he went out). “And Jacob went out (from Beer-sheba and toward Haran).”
I’ve often thought about Jacob’s dream. First, he must have had a very hard head to think a stone would make a good pillow. Then, the angels are reported to be “ascending and descending,” meaning they were with him on earth before going up and then coming down. Finally, Jacob saw Adonai… Genesis 28:13 Surprisingly, Adonai was standing on top of it (Jacob’s ladder).
That’s right, Jacob saw Yeshua, Who made promises to Jacob, promises that echo those He made to his grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac. Genesis 28:13b “I am Adonai, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your seed. 14 Your seed will be as the dust of the land, and you will burst forth to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed—and in your seed. 15 Behold, I am with you, and I will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land, for I will not forsake you until I have done what I promised you.”
God repeatedly self-identifies as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For example, this is how God identified Himself to Moses. (Exodus 3:6) When you hear someone saying only, “God of Abraham,” beware, they may not just be taking a shortcut. It could be a veiled anti-Semitic remark, because the God of Abraham is also the God of Ishmael. But the promise did not follow Ishmael. The promise is the promise of the coming kingdom. And what’s a coming kingdom without a coming King? I’m not making a big deal out of nothing. We go where He goes (not the other way around).
We have a heritage. We have a lineage. To find it, we have to follow God’s promises in faith. Read Psalm 34. Psalm 34:2 I will bless Adonai at all times. His praise is continually in my mouth. 3 My soul boasts in Adonai. The humble ones hear of it and rejoice. 4 Magnify Adonai with me and let us exalt His Name together.
Memory Verse: Philippians 3: 7 But whatever things were gain to me, these I have considered as loss for the sake of the Messiah. 8 More than that, I consider all things to be loss in comparison to the surpassing value of the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things; and I consider them garbage in order that I might gain Messiah
* 236 11/19 Monday: Philippians 1-2
237 11/20 Tuesday: Philippians 3-4
238 11/21 Wednesday: Hebrews 1-2
239 11/22 Thursday: Hebrews 3-4
240 11/23 Friday: Hebrews 5-6
Question of the day: Of what is Paul “sure” regarding his letter to the Philippians?
Answer: Philippians 1:6 I am sure of this very thing—that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the Day of Messiah Yeshua.
God doesn’t do anything halfway. What He starts, He is able to complete. We always want to think of our salvation as finished work; and it is, we certainly don’t add anything to Yeshua’s finished work on the cross. Yet there is much in Scripture to indicate that salvation is a process that lasts a lifetime.
Even later in our reading today, we find… Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my loved ones, just as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence—work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
And what about all the verses that warn us not to lose what we have attained. 2 Peter warns us not to end up worse than we began. 2 Peter 2:20 For if—after escaping the world’s pollutions through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah—they again become entangled in these things and are overcome, the end for them has become worse than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after learning about it, to turn back from the holy commandment passed on to them.
So we continue to build our lives of faithfulness in obedience to the commands of God, and so fulfill God’s call. Be blessed forever and ever. Amen.