Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Only 10 shopping days left until Chanukah (first light is Sunday night, November 28th).
Announcement: Shalom family and friends. You may already be aware that Amy Strom’s youngest child, Ian (7), is in PICU at Children’s Hospital. He has been hospitalized with a severe E-coli infection. The complications have led to blood transfusions and dialysis. Please pray for his complete recovery. The doctors are anticipating a month long hospital stay, but our God is an awesome God. If you would like to offer some support or just want to know how to continue in prayer for Ian and Amy at this difficult time, here is a link. https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/2ve1ze
Today we will examine the name of Jacob’s sixth son (Bilhah #2), Naphtali. Genesis 30:7 Then Rachel’s female servant became pregnant again and gave birth to a second son for Jacob. 8 So Rachel said, “I’ve surely wrestled greatly with my sister — also I’ve won.” So she named him Naphtali. As with all the other names, we have to answer the question, “What does this name say about the character of the believer?”
Rabbi Trail: With all due respect to non-believers (some of whom read these RRs), please allow me to explain my intention when I use the term “believer.” When I talk about a believer, I am referring to one who follows Yeshua, has received Him as their personal Lord and Savior, and believes that He is the Messiah. It’s just easier for me to say, “Believer.” Of course anyone who believes anything could be referred to as a “believer,” but for my purposes when I write the RR, now you know what I mean.
Come to think of it, the bigger offense may be in referring to non-believers as non-believers. Of course they believe something. Now, on yet another level, the term “non-believer” should only properly be applied to one who has believed and then made a conscious decision to not believe what he/she once did believe. Ahhhh! I make myself crazy, so never mind. End RT.
Every believer, as he/she engages a life of faith, will wrestle with God and man, just as Jacob did in the Torah portion this week. But what does it mean to “wrestle with God?” There is tension, our will against His will. Only when we learn to submit and align our will with His will is His blessing released.
Genesis 32:27 Then He (the angel of the Lord) said, “Let Me go, for the dawn has broken.” But he (Jacob) said, “I won’t let You go unless You bless me.”
The “blessing” was a name change, from Jacob (supplanter) to Israel (one who struggles with God). Interestingly, the Shoresh, “Shin-Resh-Hey” has the connotation of one who is “set free.” This struggling with God is not the description of Paul in Acts 26:14 When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against goads!’ Kicking cactus in anger is painful and not productive. Rather, this is a description of the life of the believer who learns to submit to the will of God.
Let me explain a little further. When we come to faith in Yeshua, the Holy Spirit begins to work in us. God wants to put our lives in order. Every area of our lives are out of order, but God’s divine plan for our lives involves putting us into His right order (called righteousness). When we allow Him to do His perfect work, we submit to His will. The “struggle” stops being a “push-pull,” and becomes “flow together.” And from that flow, the blessings flow. We like to call it “growing to maturity.” Ephesians 4:13 This will continue until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Ben-Elohim—to mature adulthood, to the measure of the stature of Messiah’s fullness.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Wed 17-Nov-2021 13th of Kislev, 5782
Ge 33:6-20 1 Sa 2 Ps 44 Mk 4:1-20 (1 Co 4)
Memory Verse: Colossians 2:6 Therefore as you received Messiah Yeshua as Lord, so continue to walk in Him— 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in your faith just as you were taught, overflowing with thankfulness.
231 11/18 Monday: Colossians 1-2
232 11/19 Tuesday: Colossians 3-4
233 11/20 Wednesday: Ephesians 1-2
234 11/21 Thursday: Ephesians 3-4
235 11/22 Friday: Ephesians 5-6