Rabbi’s Reflections – Wednesday, March 16, 2022

You will notice that today is labeled “Ta’anit Esther” (the fast of Esther), which is always celebrated on the eve of Purim (makes sense that Purim is tomorrow).  This is considered a minor fast (from sunrise to sundown only).  It commemorates the 3 day fast by Esther, her attendants and all the Jews of Shushan.  They all fasted for 3 days before Esther went in to plead with King Ahasuerus for her life and life of all the Jews of the kingdom of Persia against the plot of Haman to kill them all.  God heard their prayers.

As a community, we at Shomair had our Purim party last Sunday and have no community events planned for the actual day of Purim this year.  You are free to celebrate Purim personally any way the Lord leads.  May I suggest you reread the book of Esther?


A Call To Holiness

We all have a calling on our lives to holiness.  The Hebrew word for “holy” is “Kadosh.”  It means to be separate, distinctive or apart.  Apart from what?  Apart from an evil world.  God’s people blend in too much with the rest of society.  We want to be accepted, but God says something else.

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. But you are not of the world, since I have chosen you out of the world; therefore the world hates you.

Stop Craving Evil Things

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so we wouldn’t crave evil things, just as they did.

The children of Israel were delivered by God from slavery in Egypt.  But their craving for idol worship and sins of the flesh remained.

1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 And let’s not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day 23,000 fell. 9 And let’s not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were destroyed by serpents.

We might be tempted to think idol worship is far from us, but is it?  Anything that becomes preeminent (above God) in our lives becomes an idol.  Sports, a favorite TV show, a person such as a spouse or a child, your cell phone, social media, games or any technology can all be types of idols.

God Is Not Mocked

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived—God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also shall reap. 8 For the one who sows in the flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But the one who sows in the Ruach will reap from the Ruach eternal life.

The physical reality is that Israel was delivered from slavery.  The spiritual reality is that God’s people must be delivered from slavery to sin.  Remember the Lord’s prayer?  Matthew 6:13 ‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ This does not contradict grace.  It partners with grace.  Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my loved ones, just as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence—work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

I’m not trying to put a “guilt trip” on anyone.   I am inviting the conviction to live according to God’s righteous principles.  Who among us has no need to repent?  If we think we don’t, that somehow we’re exempt, then immediately we must repent for the sin of pride.

We All Must Grow

There are only two options, ripening (growing) or turning rotten (dying).  Nothing in nature stays the same.  All of us, from the oldest to the youngest, must maintain an attitude of growth.  We all need to continually change into the image of our Lord and Savior.

1 Peter 4:12 Loved ones, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal taking place among you to test you—as though something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, rejoice insofar as you share in the sufferings of Messiah, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be glad. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Messiah, you are fortunate, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

That’s right, “you are fortunate!”  Try living according to God’s righteous principles just today, then do it again tomorrow.  Before you know it, you’ve built a lifetime of holiness.

Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves, which also was in Messiah Yeshua, … 7a He emptied Himself.  8a He humbled Himself.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Wed 16-Mar-2022 13th of Adar II, 5782  Ta’anit Esther
Le 8:1-13 Isa 10 Ps 148 Ac 15 (Rev 9)
Ex 32:11-14; 34:1-10

Week 12
Memory Verse: Joshua 1:8 This book of the Torah should not depart from your mouth—you are to meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. For then you will make your ways prosperous and then you will be successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Chazak! Be strong! Do not be terrified or dismayed, for Adonai your God is with you wherever you go.”

56    3/14      Monday:         Deuteronomy 8-9
57    3/15      Tuesday:        Deuteronomy 30-31
58    3/16      Wednesday:   Deuteronomy 32:48-52; 34
59    3/17      Thursday:      Joshua 1-2
60    3/18      Friday:           Joshua 3-4