Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, October 9, 2023

Special Announcement: In light of the gravity of the terrorist situation in Israel, our Simchat Torah service planned for Monday, October 9th at 7PM takes on new significance.  We will make this into an intercessory service (as well as the usual rolling back of the Torah).  Please bring your favorite Israel promise from Scripture to share and come join us for prayer.

Life In The Body part 11 – Romans, part 186

Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, enduring in distress, persisting in prayer.

We are slowly, but diligently, working our way through Paul’s list of ways we should conduct ourselves as we matriculate in the family of God.  Today we add “hope” (rejoicing in), “distress” (enduring in), and “prayer” (persisting in).  As a reminder, this listing of character traits begins in verse 9 and goes through the end of the chapter.

Today, hope is first.  We find it listed as one of the “big three” attributes.  1Corinthians 13:13 But now these three remain—faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.  The Greek word is “Elpis.”  This is much more than a “pining away (grieving for what you don’t have) pious hope (a desired outcome with a low probability of actually happening).”

Our hope is based on the promises of God.  It is very closely related to faith, in that we also have faith in the promises of God.  In fact, if we think seriously about this, we can conclude that hope is confidence in the future reality of God’s promises and faith is that same confidence at a deeper level.  That’s what the writer of Hebrews is expressing… Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen.

Rabbi Trail:  I started writing this before news of the terrorist attacks in Israel reached me Saturday morning at Sukkot Camp.  Now, as I read it over, it takes on a whole new and much deeper meaning.  I am distressed, but not without hope.  End RT.

Another way to translate “enduring in distress” is “to stand your ground in the face of tribulation.”  Tribulation reveals our faith.  1Peter 1:6 You rejoice in this greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials. 7 These trials are so that the true metal of your faith (far more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire) may come to light in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah Yeshua. 

This is not a “Pollyanna” like faith (Or for those of you who are younger, the faith of “Annie,” who believes “the sun will come out tomorrow.”), but the faith OF Yeshua!  He knows Who He is and He knows the end from the beginning.  His confidence is not mixed with doubt.  He suffered death on the cross (an apparent defeat) only to rise again on the third day.  We need that faith!

Psalm 68:2(1) Let God arise! Let His enemies be scattered! Let those who hate Him flee before Him.

Which brings us to prayer.  Be “steadfastly consistent” in prayer.  Don’t lose heart!  Do be persistent in prayer.  Luke 18:1 Then Yeshua told them a parable to show that they should always pray and not be discouraged…. Go ahead and read the parable.  Here is the proof text from Isaiah…

Isaiah 62:7 And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

How do we conduct ourselves within the family of God?  We rejoice in hope, endure in distress and persist in prayer.  That’s what we’re going to do Monday night for Simchat Torah and every other day throughout the year.  As we say in Hebrew, “Ayn Li B’rer’ra,” meaning “I don’t have a choice.”  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Mon 9 Oct 2023 24th of Tishrei 5784
Ge 2:4-19 Jos 2 Ps 2 Mt 2 (Jas 2)