Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, April 15, 2021
Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Above are updates for the Shomair calendars for April and May (the current month and next month).

Day 12 of counting the Omer
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר
Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.

Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer.  Today is one week and five days of the counting of the omer.

The Bible is full of declarations about God’s justice.  (Hint: God’s justice is not easily understood.)  Psalm 96:12 Let the land exult—and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy— 13 before Adonai, for He is coming! For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness.

Rabbi Trail:  Most of the Psalms in the 90s (specifically, 92-98) are part of the Kabbalat Shabbat (welcoming the Sabbath on Friday night) liturgical service.  Here in Psalm 96, what we read is consistent with the mood for the joy of welcoming the Shabbat.  We (along with the land and the trees) rejoice that the Lord is coming to judge.  End RT.

But why did I just hint that God’s justice is complex?  Because His mercy and grace defy human logic.  Just when we deserve God’s most severe penalty for our disobedience, He pardons our iniquity and forgives all our sins.  1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous (just) to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

What follows is such a serious Rabbi Trail, that I can’t even call it a Rabbi Trail.  It brings this brief lesson to a beautiful conclusion.  God created the world for Himself to enjoy fellowship with human beings.  God wanted children, but why?  He had an abundance of love and felt compelled to share it.

Because He wanted true fellowship (covenantal relationships of love), He created us with free will – the ability to accept or reject His love.  Through the sacrifice of Yeshua, God made the way to restore us back into relationship with Him, for it is impossible for God to fellowship with sin.  Please hear me on this… don’t waste it.  Galatians 4:9 But now you have come to know God—or rather you have come to be known by God. So how can you turn back again to those weak and worthless principles? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Thu    15 Apr-2021        3rd of Iyar, 5781 Yom HaAtzma’ut
Le 14:21-32    Isa 52-53     Job 10    (Mt 12:1-21)    2 Pet 2

In Messianic Judaism, we love Isaiah 53.  Is there any better section of Scripture from which to preach Messiah Yeshua?  Hardly!  But consider Isaiah 52 which is also part of the reading today.

Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces shalom, who brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”    

“Good news” is the gospel (that’s what “gospel” means).  Who announces?… (wait for it) YESHUA!!!  Then, as an appositive, this verse further defines Yeshua by calling Him, “Your God Who reigns!!!”

The last 4 verses of Isaiah 52 make up a song unto the Lord.  Let’s just read the first of those verses… Isaiah 52:13 “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.”    I ask you, Who is the servant of the Lord, Who is high and lifted up and greatly exalted?  That’s right, Yeshua, Who is mentioned previously in the chapter.

This is why I like Isaiah 52 as a tool for declaring God’s goodness, and God’s goodness is Yeshua.  Concerning Israel’s salvation, we have this promise… Isaiah 52:8b For they will see eye to eye when Adonai returns to Zion.  The truth will be known “eye to eye.”

Week 16

Memory Verse: 2 Timothy 4:17a But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be proclaimed in full measure,…

76   4/12    Monday:         1 Samuel 17-18
77   4/13    Tuesday:        1 Samuel 19-20
78   4/14    Wednesday:   1 Samuel 21-22
* 79 4/15    Thursday:       Psalm 22; 1 Samuel 24-25:1
80.  4/16    Friday:            1 Samuel 28; 31

Question of the day:  What’s this, a Psalm of David?  Yes, but why did the F-260 put it here?

Answer:  This is a chronological reading of the Scriptures.  Most of the Psalms are not chronological, so they get left out.  I imagine those who compiled the F-260 thought this Psalm of David was about David lamenting his own unfortunate situation as he ran for his life from King Saul.

However; this Psalm actually bounces from lamenting the destruction of Yeshua’s body on the cross, to praising God for his goodness, and back again.

The Psalm begins as a prophecy of Yeshua’s crucifixion.  Yeshua actually quotes this Psalm from the cross… Psalm 22:2a My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?  And yet it is filled with hope and promise.  Psalm 22:4 Yet You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 5 In You our fathers put their trust. They trusted, and You delivered them. 6 They cried to you and were delivered. In You they trusted, and were not disappointed.

The Psalm again describes Yeshua on the cross.  Psalm 22:17 For dogs have surrounded me. A band of evildoers has closed in on me. They pierced my hands and my feet. 18 I can count all my bones. They stare, they gape at me. 19 They divide my clothes among them, and cast lots for my garment.

And still again the Psalm bounces back to uplifting praise.  Psalm 22:23 I will declare Your Name to my brothers. I will praise You amid the congregation. 24 You who fear Adonai, praise Him! All Jacob’s descendants, glorify Him! Revere Him, all you seed of Israel.  Let’s make these verses part of our own walk with the Lord, as we answer the call to be a witness to Israel.