Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, March 9, 2020
Update on Zev Schell from his mom, Hallel. “All tests for infection have come back clear and Zev is no longer on antibiotics (thank You, Father!). Doctors are pretty sure that his lungs just haven’t produced enough surfactant yet, which is why his breathing has been labored. Yet, miraculously, his oxygenation levels have never dropped below what is normal and healthy. Overall, his condition is definitely improving. We are still being told that he may not be ready to come home until sometime toward the end of this coming week. Please continue to lift Zev in prayer. We long to have him home with us.”
Request to join with FFOZ in a special fast on Monday, March 9th.
Please join us in a day of fasting and prayer regarding the Covid-19 Coronavirus.
Since biblical times, the Jewish community has banded together to face the threat of plague and disease by declaring a day of prayer and fasting. The Talmud tells numerous stories of similar occasions when the Jewish community was faced with threats like infectious diseases. What did the Jewish people do? The leadership came together and agreed to declare a day of fasting as the prophet Joel did in response to the locust plague:
Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, “Spare your people, O LORD!” (Joel 2:15-17)
Today, the leadership in the Messianic Jewish community is asking everyone to pray along with the Jewish people and with Messianic Jewish communities in the name of Yeshua on a day of prayer and fasting against the devastating Covid-19 virus.
We have designated Monday March 9 for a day of fasting to ask God for mercy on the people of China and the whole world in the name of our Lord, Yeshua. On the Jewish calendar this year, March 9 is the date for the Fast of Esther, a fast day observed in memory of the three-day fast that the Jewish people of Persia undertook before Queen Esther went to appear before the king.
This year we are going to combine that traditional fast day with a special focus in prayer asking our Father in Heaven for mercy on his people and on all of his creatures. We invite you to issue the same summons to prayer and fasting in your community.
The important thing is that we come together in unity and agree to pray together in our Master’s name and in his merit and virtue. We want our prayers to rise like incense from the censer of the high priest, Aaron, who interposed between the living and the dead to stop the plague.
Will you make March 9 a day of prayer and fasting for those who are sick, suffering, and dying from this dreadful virus? Please join us and ask your brothers and sisters to pray too. And may God keep us all healthy and protect his people.
Paraphrased from a message by Boaz Michael
First Fruits of Zion Founder and Director
Message from Landra (sent by permission):
Rabbi’s note: Some of you may have seen this post on Facebook from Landra Kerekes. Landra has been a faithful friend at Shomair for many years. Her message continues to impact me profoundly. End RN.
“My heart rejoices in this day. It’s interesting, as I cannot pinpoint the “why”, except that it simply “is”. I have what is deemed “terminal cancer” (terminal to this realm). As it stands now, I will be on chemo the rest of my life (aside from the LORD offering healing from this). My days (just like us all), are numbered. Except… my heart is full of joy.
My LORD has been so gracious to me. I am on chemo, and He has kept my side effects to a minimum. I have privilege to sit with others taking chemo, who know their LORD, and if they don’t, they are seeking Him, and we can sweetly talk of Him. The harvest is so ripe.
We are surrounded by people who long to know the love of their Creator. Oh, the joy that we have to join in the giving of that love. Oh, rejoice, my brothers and sisters. Our time is short, but it is sure. Today, we are here. Today.
Rejoice in the breath He’s given. Rejoice in the gentle heartbeat within you. Rejoice in the people around you. Rejoice in all—no matter what we see, may we at least rejoice in the unseen. That is eternal.
Today, we live here. Tomorrow? Only our Creator knows our calendar. Rejoice with me today. He has given it. Oh, let us live in it, to the full, surrounded by those who need true love—the love of our Father. All glory, honor, and praise to The King of all kings. His blessings to all of you.
As always, thank you for your continued prayers for our family.” ❤️
Rabbi’s note: Thank you Landra. You inspire all of us to greatness. Great is the Lord. We do join you in prayer. End RN.
Memory Verse: Deuteronomy 4:7 For what great nation is there that has gods so near to them, as Adonai our God is whenever we call on Him?
* 51 3/9 Monday: Numbers 20; 27:12-23
52 3/10 Tuesday: Numbers 34-35
53 3/11 Wednesday: Deuteronomy 1-2
54 3/12 Thursday: Deuteronomy 3-4
55 3/13 Friday: Deuteronomy 6-7
Question of the day: Why did God make such a “big deal” out of Moses’ mistake at the wilderness of Zin?
Answer: That’s a good question (I’m glad I asked it). After all, Moses did a lot of other things that could have raised God’s ire to a higher level. Moses argued with God for 3 days at the burning bush. He broke all 10 Commandments at once (ha ha). Moses even claimed to be more humble than anyone else on earth. (A claim that seems prideful.)
Besides, there already had been a “water incident” when Moses was told to strike the rock. Certainly he should be forgiven for just doing again what he did the first time. This time Moses was told to bless the rock, while the previous time he was told to strike the rock.
It was a pressure packed moment and Moses made one small mistake. The penalty is that God did not allow Moses to enter the promised land on account of this. Yes, it seems harsh, but far be it from me to question God’s sovereignty.
It occurs to me that God was making a larger point. Twice the people demanded water. The first time, God spoke this to Moses… Exodus 17:6 “Behold, I will stand before you, there upon the rock in Horeb. You are to strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people can drink.” Then Moses did just so in the eyes of the elders of Israel.
Then, Moses gets this instruction from the Lord in the second incident. Numbers 20:8 “Take the staff and gather the assembly, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will give out its water.”
Two similar incidents, but two very different instructions. Here is my bottom line take from this. There are two incidents of bringing forth water from a rock. Yeshua is the rock. Many verses call Yeshua our “rock.” Twice in Psalm 18.
Psalm 18:3(2) Adonai is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in Him I take refuge, my shield, my horn of salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:47(46) Adonai lives! And blessed be my Rock! Exalted be God my salvation!
Water is essential for life. Without water, we will all die. The fact that water comes forth from the rock is symbolic of the life giving force made available to us through Yeshua. So, I believe these incidents are purposed by God to represent the first coming and the second coming. In the first coming, Yeshua is smitten (struck) but still gives life.
In the second coming, Yeshua is blessed (spoken to). Matthew 23:39 For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, ‘ Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Now we can see what a serious offense it was for Moses to strike the rock the second time.
There is one more issue, and I just can’t let it go. Moses was the servant of God, but in his anger he made himself appear to be equal with God. Just before striking the rock in error (the second time), Moses said these words (from the first part of the reading today.… Numbers 20:10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly in front of the rock. He said, “Listen now, you rebels! Must we bring you water from this rock?” When Mose said “we,” he sinned. He might have meant him and Aaron (even worse; how could Moses and Aaron bring forth water?), but he likely meant he and God.
No matter how we look at this, the offense to God is serious. It was serious enough to keep Moses out of the promised land. Moses spent 40 years preparing Joshua. Joshua led a people who had not known slavery. These were people who had not lived under the curse of Adam.
Genesis 3:17 Then to the man He said, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate of the tree which I commanded you, saying, ‘You must not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground because of you— with pain will you eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Thorns and thistles will sprout for you. You will eat the plants of the field, 19 By the sweat of your brow will you eat food, until you return to the ground, since from it were you taken. For you are dust, and to dust will you return.”
These people ate from God’s divine provision for 40 years. Then they crossed over the Jordan and camped at Gilgal. There they were consecrated to the Lord through circumcision. There they celebrated Passover.
Joshua 5:8 Now it came to pass after they had finished circumcising the entire nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they recovered. 9 Then Adonai said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of that place has been called Gilgal to this day. 10 While Bnei-Yisrael camped at Gilgal, they observed Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month in the plains of Jericho.
Two quick notes and we’ll be done today. Gilgal means “rolled” or turn like a wheel. Things changed (rolled over) at Gilgal. Then the day after Passover began, the Mana ceased. What’s the main event at Passover? Communion. The people had communion and things changed. We will celebrate our community Seder at Rothchild Catering on Friday, April 10th. Please click here to reserve your seat and buckle up. God is moving. https://syknox.org/passover-seder/ Blessings, Michael.