Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, January 25, 2024

Today (Thursday) is Tu B’Sh’vat (pronounced Tu Bishvat) meaning the 15th day of the Hebrew month Sh’vat.  It is the day marked as the Jewish New Year for the trees.  You can learn more here… https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3264/jewish/15-Shevat.htm  It is called “Tu” because the “T” is for the Hebrew letter, Tet, the 9th letter of the Aleph-Bet.  The “U” stands for the letter “Vav” which is the 6th letter of the Aleph-Bet.  Put them together and 6+9=15.

Why didn’t the rabbis use 5+10=15?  The 5th letter is “Hey” and the 10th letter is “Yud.”  Put them together and those are the letters that make up God’s name, “Yah.”  We cannot abuse God’s name in such a way as that, so they opted for the less offensive 9+6=15 “TU.”  Besides that, the point of Tu B’Shvat is to do something nice for trees on their birthday.

If you want to plant one in Israel, here is a link… https://www.shiva.com/trees-for-israel?msclkid=cee2e05101211ac8532785e16adffe61 .

The Lessons Of Job, part 2
God is always on the throne.

Point of clarification (with a “shout out” of thanksgiving to our friend, Eitan Shishkoff), thank you Eitan.  Yesterday I wrote, “It seems good to study Job, because every one of us will be tried, tested and tempted; hopefully not to the same degree as Job.”  From that, and within the context presented, it might be possible to think that God tempts us.  However; the Scriptures are clear on this point.

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”—for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is dragged away and enticed by his own desire.

I mentioned tried, tested and tempted, all three.  According to Scripture, temptation comes from self.  Then from where does tried and tested come?  Jeremiah 17:10 I Adonai search the heart, I try the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.  David wrote of inviting God to try his heart.  Psalm 26:2 Probe me, Adonai, and test me, refine my mind and my heart.  

There are three “players” in this “game of life.”  There is God, Satan, and self.  These three are not co-equal.  God is superior (and it’s not close)!  He’s on His throne, and from there He reigns supreme.  That leaves man and Satan, but they are not equal either.  When we follow Yeshua by faith, God makes us overcomers.

1Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

It’s true, there is an adversary (that’s the meaning of Satan’s name), but he’s only being himself with God’s permission.  Notice in their interactions how God is the initiator.  God is provoking Satan to be himself.

Job 1:8 Adonai said to the satan, “Did you notice my servant Job?  First God initiates an interaction with Satan, who takes the bait.  The satan is then permitted to take away Job’s family and possessions.  Job 2:3 Then Adonai said to the satan, “Have you noticed My servant Job?” Again, God gives the satan reign, this time to take away Job’s health.

But in all this, Job was consistently mindful that God is on the throne.  Job’s steadfast faith is called his integrity.  Job says this… Job 31:6 then let Him weigh me with honest scales, then God will know my integrity.  May the Lord strengthen you (and me too) through these trying times, and may we all hold on to our integrity.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
15 Sh’vat (Tu B’Sh’vat) Thursday 25-Jan-24
Exodus 15:27-16:10 1 Kings 5 Psalm 96 Luke 21 1 Thessalonians 1