Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, January 3, 2019
(Early) Shabbat Shalom,
T H R E E A N N O U N C E M E N T S
First announcement: Please pay attention to the poster above regarding the Tikkun America Family Restore Conference. It is the first thing on my calendar every year. Usually we only get either Eitan or Asher (plus Dan), but this year we will have all 3. Bonus! And Paul (didn’t mean to leave him out) too. Double bonus!! They are offering a member discount for extra early registration. There is a discount code on the poster.
Second announcement: This Sunday night from 4-6pm we will begin the HaYesod series in the social hall. HaYesod means foundation. It is a 10 week series of videos (very high quality, shot in Israel)
Rabbi Trail: Why do we need HaYesod? (BTW – I plan to attend all the sessions and will provide my own comments when asked.). We need a proper orientation toward our many positions in Messianic Judaism. Are we legalists? Are we Judaizers? Have we added anything to the salvation available through Yeshua?
We want to put tension between the Law and Grace, but God never does. Let me give you just one example… John 1:17 Torah was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah. This is a right translation by the TLV (Tree of Life Version). Most translations add a “but” after the semi-colon and before “grace.” That “but” adds tension that does not exist in the original manuscript.
These two thoughts, however; are congruent. If we don’t have “Law” (God’s righteous standard), we don’t need “Grace.” Without Law there is no sin. And sin can’t just be whatever makes you feel bad about yourself. If that’s true, then you are your own god. Besides, every heathen sinner says, “I only do what makes me feel good.”
All right, while I’m on a rant… I hate that whole, “I am just a sinner saved by grace” answer to “Hi, how are you?” (So don’t try that on me, I will call you on it.) This is in everyone’s Bible… 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Romans 5:8,9 says we were sinners who have now been set right by the blood of Messiah. End RT.
Third announcement: There is no oneg this week (or this month.) We are taking a break from oneg for the 4 months this year to reorganize our oneg teams. Consider it a sort of oneg sabbatical. Also, please prayerfully consider how you will respond when you are asked to be part of an oneg team. Being part of a family (including a faith family) involves responsibility. Yes, (to answer Cain’s question) you are your brother’s keeper.
Today, we are going to look at the next “Ruach Adonai” (Spirit of the Lord). This is the sixth one we are examining, which leaves one more. This one is “Ruach Chachma” or “Spirit of wisdom.” From this Hebrew word we get the Yiddish word “Chochom” which usually means “wise guy” as in “smart alec.” But the Bible is generally not sarcastic.
Rabbi Trail: Sarcasm is really unbecoming a follower of Yeshua. I used to be sarcastic (and if you just said “really” to that, then you have just used sarcasm), but now I’m Mr. Nice Guy. Side note: Now I’ve painted myself into a corner and the only way out is to be sarcastic. Moving on…
The word “sarcasm” comes from the same word as “sarcophagus” is taken from two Greek words which mean “flesh eater.” A sarcophagus is a temporary casket in which a body was placed until the bones could be collected and placed in an ossuary, which was only as long as the longest bone in the body (the femur).
All that to say this… let’s avoid sarcasm and every other thing that does not lift up the name of Yeshua or bring His glory to His creation. Can you say, “Amen?”
Back to the spirit of (Chachma) wisdom… What is wisdom. I was thinking about the answer before I got out of bed to write this morning. Try my definition on and see if it fits. (I’m quoting myself, although there is no such thing as an original thought.) “Wisdom is the ability to take someone else’s experience and apply it to your own situation, thus avoiding the painful mistakes others have already made.”
Each of us who follow Yeshua have this calling on our lives… Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves, which also was in Messiah Yeshua. I like the KJV which says “mind” instead of “attitude.” We are to have the mind of Messiah. That is our calling. Read the rest of Philippians 2. That’s why I’m going to write about humility tomorrow or Monday.
Memory Verse: Genesis 1:27 God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.
1 12/30 Monday: Genesis 1-2
2 12/31 Tuesday: Genesis 3-4
3 1/1 Wednesday: Genesis 6-7
4 1/2 Thursday: Genesis 8-9
* 5 1/3 Friday: Job 1-2
Question of the day: Satan asks the question of the day. (We don’t usually give him that privilege.) Job 1:9b Does Job fear God for nothing?
Answer: The reason Satan asks God the question is to prove that Job only fears God because he is receiving a blessing. Ultimately, we find out by the end of the story that Job fears God through every trial and temptation of Satan. Job passed every test.
The question has to have an application in our own lives. Why do we honor, respect, and revere God? Do we seek His hand or do we seek His face? If all we’re doing is trading our affection for His blessing, we have a works mentality.
Grace is not works, and we, who are followers of Yeshua, are saved by grace! (Romans 11:6 and Ephesians 2:8) The reason we sing the Shema every week is that we must keep God #1 in every area of our lives. He is Lord of our families. He is Lord of… every relationship, every area of life, our bank account, our professional life, and especially our emotional life.
For sure, God is the commander of the hosts of heaven, and everything on earth is under His authority. But there is that human heart thing at the core of Satan’s challenge to God. Will we follow Him, without regard to benefit? We won’t know until we’re tested. (So I hate even asking the question.)
Job provides us with the words for our own answer to the question as He makes his own defense before God… Job 13:15 Even if He slays me, I will wait for Him; I will surely defend my ways before Him. May this be our own inheritance in Messiah Yeshua.