Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, June 23, 2018

Shabbat Shalom!

For a guy who tries to keep Fridays free, I’m doing a very poor job of it.  I like to keep Fridays free so I can prepare for our worship service on Saturday.  It’s not what you think.  I’ve already prepared the overhead presentation, practiced the music, and written the message.  Then what’s left?  I’m glad you asked.

I like to pray and inquire of the Lord, one thing.  Here’s the question, “Lord, what do you have for your people this Shabbat?”  So today (I’m writing this on Friday, my free day) I have six (count them, 6) appointments.  If you count the chiropractor, that’s 7.  I’ll have to file my complaint with myself, since I’m solely responsible.

Thank God that He answered me yesterday.  Oh, and more good news… God can speak to us in any place at any time.  We don’t have to (although it’s nice) go to the mountain top to pray.  We can pray any time and any place.  That’s only one of the beautiful things about our relationship with Him.

Today I wanted to write on yesterday’s reading (because today is Shabbat, the reading does not follow our F260 plan, but is from the Torah, Parashat Chukat) from Daniel chapter 4.

Rabbi Trail:  Any time I say something you don’t understand (some of you may not be familiar with “Parashat Chukat”) you can always do an online search.  I just searched “Parashat Chukat” and got 60,000 hits in 0.4 seconds.  Man they’re good.

The 4th chapter of Daniel is written in the first person by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.  He’s giving his testimony of the time God made him live like a cow for what the Bible calls 7 time periods, which is likely 7 years.

The entire story has many amazing aspects.  I’m most amazed that after the signs of the king’s insanity lifted, he was restored to his throne.  That could only happen if the people received him back, and they did.  That is in itself a great miracle.

The king’s conclusion is presented in the final verse of chapter 4… Daniel 4:34 “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, because all His works are right and His ways just. He is able to humble those who walk in pride.”

Before I close this, let me ask, “Where is the pride in our own lives?”  Before you dismiss the question as out-of-hand, let me suggest it can be hidden in offense.  Offense can be masked as “I have rights” or “I deserve better.”

There is One (from whom we receive all things, including the lessons of life) who did truthfully deserve better, yet was not offended.  He is the only one who is guilt free.  The rest of us have to receive forgiveness from Him.  He alone pardons our sins.

As we receive His forgiveness, He commands us to forgive others.  Oops!  How much of this is optional?  Well, all of it is, but then again, so are the blessings.  Shabbat shalom.