Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, February 26, 2021
(Early) Shabbat Shalom,
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Fri 26 Feb-2021 14th of Adar, 5781 Purim
Ex 17:8-16 Esther 1-10 Rev 19:1-10
Special readings today for Purim. I want to comment on the reading from Exodus 17. At the end of the chapter, Moses builds an altar to the Lord and names it “Adonai Nissi.” We know this as “Yehovah (the Lord) is my banner.” Let me build on that.
Nissi is spelled in Hebrew “Nun-Samech-Yud” which means “miracle.” Yehovah is my miracle. Why did Moses use that name? He watched his arms control the battle. Exodus 17:11 When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed. But when he let down his hand, the Amalekites prevailed. Moses thought that was a miracle.
Let me ask you a question. Do you believe in miracles? A miracle is when something happens that can’t be explained through the known laws of phenomena, and we ascribe that unexpected or otherwise unexplained outcome to God’s intervention.
I’m going to say something here because I’m a risk-taker. If you are reading this RR, you will likely agree that God has done a miracle for you at some point in your life. I know it is true for me (and I just checked and the same is true for Jan too).
Let’s give thanks again for what God has done for us in times past. Psalm 118:15 Shouts of joy and victory are in the tents of the righteous: “Adonai’s right hand is mighty! 16 Adonai’s right hand is lifted high! Adonai’s right hand is mighty!” 17 I will not die, but live, and proclaim what Adonai has done!
Memory Verse: Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
41 2/22 Monday: Exodus 32-33
42 2/23 Tuesday: Exodus 34-36:1
43 2/24 Wednesday: Exodus 40
44 2/25 Thursday: Leviticus 8-9
* 45 2/26 Friday: Leviticus 16-17
Question of the Day: Have you ever heard the term “scapegoat?”
Answer: More than likely, yes. Read these verses and then I’ll comment. Leviticus 16:7 Then he is take the two goats and present them before Adonai at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 8 Aaron will then cast lots for the two goats—one lot for Adonai, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron is to present the goat on which the lot for Adonai fell and make it a sin offering. 10 But the goat upon which the lot for the scapegoat fell is to be presented alive before Adonai, to make atonement upon it, by sending it away as the scapegoat into the wilderness.
“Pick me, pick me!” We always want to be chosen. But who got the better deal? The one chosen for Adonai or the Scapegoat? To be chosen as the “one” for Adonai is to be chosen for death. All of a sudden, this might be worth rethinking. There are two things happening when we are chosen by God (and for God).
First, we die to self. Galatians 2:19 For through law I died to law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Messiah; 20 and it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me. And the life I now live in the body, I live by trusting in Ben-Elohim—who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
The second thing that happens is that we no longer fear death. John 11:25 Yeshua said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life! Whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Yes, we no longer fear death… 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love.
We desire to be chosen, even though being chosen means being chosen to die. We no longer fear death because we have already died to self and live for the Lord, Yeshua, Who has chosen us. This “scapegoat” ceremony is part of the Yom Kippur observance. For us, followers of Yeshua, we’re not praying for salvation, but we stand in intercession that all Israel will join us in being chosen of the Lord. John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I selected you so that you would go and produce fruit, and your fruit would remain. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. 17 These things I command you, so that you may love one another.”
One last thought… neither we nor anyone else needs to be a sin offering. God provided Himself for a sin offering. Hebrews 9:12 He entered into the Holies once for all—not by the blood of goats and calves but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.