Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, April 23, 2021

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

Day 20 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 two weeks and six days of the counting of the omer.

Do we believe the Bible?  Hint: Say “yes.”  Yet, there is much in the Bible that is not either explained nor is it explainable.  We can’t even get past the first 3 words of the Bible (in Hebrew).  “In the beginning, God,” by itself is enough to boggle the mind of any self respecting theologian.  

My point here is that just because we can’t explain something, we should still have faith, many times in what we can’t explain.  We should not refuse to believe what we don’t understand.    

This reminds me of the episode in the movie “God’s Not Dead.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDk-oLxQG98&list=PL3BQy_-WxXYvL1SSzVyy1wDSX823f01pb  I couldn’t find the exact clip I’m looking for, so ask me about it sometime.

What brought this up in our study of God’s attributes is His attribute to suffer with us.  Isaiah 63:8b So He became their Savior. 9 In all their affliction He was afflicted.  BTW – This was written by the Jewish prophet Isaiah more than 2500 years ago.  A complete scroll of the Book of Isaiah was found among the parchments of the Dead Sea Scrolls and is on display in the Shrine of the Book at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.  Jewish people should believe the Jewish prophet.  This is a very Jewish thing to do.

Yet, it has to be beyond our ability to understand (beyond all reason) that God would suffer for us.  That the perfect God, Who is complete in Himself, would become imperfect to suffer for the sake of His people.  That His love would be so complete that He would empty Himself for our sake.  Amazing!

Philippians 2:6 Who, though existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be grasped. 7 But He emptied Himself— taking on the form of a slave, becoming the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man. 8 He humbled Himself— becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Yet, His humility is exactly the reason His name is above every name.  Philippians 2:9 For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue profess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord— to the glory of God the Father.

Rather than explain it, let’s just embrace it and provide the loving response for which the Savior gave His life.  Receive it, hold it close to your heart, make it part of your life.  Do better, dedicate the rest of your life to honoring His once-for-all-time sacrifice.   

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Fri 23 Apr 2021 11th of Iyar, 5781 

Le 19:33-20:7 Isa 61-62 Job 17 (Mt 17) 1 Jn 2

Yeshua read Isaiah 61 in the synagogue in Nazareth on Shabbat.  Luke 4:16 And He came to Natzeret, where He had been raised. As was His custom, He went into the synagogue on Shabbat, and He got up to read.  

And He read from the beginning of Isaiah 61… Luke 4:17 When the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Ruach Adonai is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, 19 and to proclaim the year of Adonai’s favor.”

Then Yeshua sat down, but everyone was still looking at Him, waiting for His teaching.  He looked up and told them… Luke 4:21b “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your ears.”  How remarkable.  What is your response to this “Good News?”  Isaiah 61 are the Hebrew lyrics of this song… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdbGmqLrYck 

Week 17

Memory Verse: Psalm 51:10 Let me hear joy and gladness, so the bones You crushed may rejoice.  11 Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  13 Do not cast me from Your presence— take not Your Ruach ha-Kodesh from me.

81   4/19    Monday:         2 Samuel 1; 2:1-7

82   4/20    Tuesday:        2 Samuel 3:1;5; Psalm 23

83   4/21    Wednesday:   2 Samuel 6-7

84   4/22    Thursday:       Psalm 18; 2 Samuel 9

* 85 4/23    Friday:            2 Samuel 11-12

Question of the day:  You’ve heard of the “shot heard round the world,” right?  It was April 19, 1775, the first shots of the Revolutionary War (Lexington and Concord).  This led to the establishment of the United States of America.  The same phrase is also applied to the assassination of  Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28, 1914, which started what was The Great War.  This would become known as World War I some 25 years later when there would be World War II.  

So now we all know about the “shot heard round the world.”  But what were the “words heard round the world?”

Answer:  They were spoken by the prophet Nathan to King David and are part of our F-260 reading today.  2 Samuel 12:7a Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!   This was not a compliment, as in “you da man.”  This was an accusation that David had sinned.  He took another man’s wife, got her pregnant, and had that other man murdered as part of the cover-up.  These were all very serious sins.  

Nathan was risking much to confront David in his sin.  We’ve already seen where David said “off with his head,” and heads rolled.  Yet, David’s response to this confrontation was not to order Nathan killed, but to humble himself and repent.  

2 Samuel 12:13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against Adonai.”   This was not some elaborate repentance, nor was it without consequences, but because it was from the heart, God received it.  The same God deals in the same way with us today.

1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Let us then… Galatians 5:1 so stand firm, and do not be burdened by a yoke of slavery again.  That’s a description of real freedom.  Galatians 5:13 Brothers and sisters, you were called to freedom—only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  

Wisdom is learning through someone else’s mistakes (without having to make them for yourself).  Let’s be wise and learn from King David.