Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Day 3 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 three days and no weeks of the counting of the omer.
We continue to count our blessings by obediently counting the Omer. These 7 weeks of counting are weeks of preparation. On Pesach we recounted our liberation from slavery into freedom. Biblical “freedom” is not worldly freedom (freedom to be out of control) but the freedom from Egyptian bondage was always tied to one demand of Pharaoh… Exodus 7:16b ‘Let My people go, so they may serve Me in the wilderness,….’ That’s right, freedom to serve God. In Hebrew the word for serve is Avodah, which is frequently translated as worship.
We cannot serve Pharaoh and God at the same time. Yeshua understood this (and all things) and found it important enough to make it a focus of His “Sermon on the Mount.” Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Having now celebrated the Passover, we have 7 weeks of preparation that will take us to Mount Sinai and Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks). At Mt. Sinai, (traditionally, we believe, on the original Shavuot) Moses received the Torah. About 1300 years later, exactly 7 weeks after the crucifixion, the disciples (as part of the 120 in the upper room) received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
They left the upper room and were on their way to the Temple for morning prayers when they encountered 3,000 who had just finished celebrating Shavuot with all night prayer. The result was the beginning of a revival that is still going on today. This is our destiny; to continue the revival on Shavuot until Yeshua returns. To do this effectively, we must prepare our hearts with thanksgiving for the blessings of God for the next 7 weeks. Now that we have our “marching orders,” let’s go.
We are all on a journey. Jeremiah 6:16a Thus says Adonai: “Stand in the roads and look. Ask for the ancient paths— where the good way is— and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls. Coach Bill McCartney and Raleigh Washington named their ministry after this journey. They called it the Road To Jerusalem. https://theroadtojerusalem.org/ The destiny is Jerusalem, but Jerusalem is symbolic of the heart of God. The greater reality for our journey is nothing less than the heart of God.
We can say we love God, but unless we love what God loves, those are just words. John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Can we keep His commandments without loving each other? Let’s get our answer from Scripture. 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that the one who loves God should also love his brother.
I want to emphasize this with another verse from earlier in 1 John 4 and then take a detour. 1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is made perfect in us. God’s commanded love must take place in relationship. Love without committed family relationships is an abomination.
The hills of Tennessee are littered with “good ole boys” who love everybody and want nothing to do with committed family relations. God’s ancient path is the path of covenant. Membership at Shomair is a covenant to love a larger family of the people of God. And we just happen to have a class for people thinking and praying about membership designed to explain the details of the covenant of membership for 7 weeks starting on April 11th. Anyone interested in learning about membership can register here, https://shomairyisrael.churchcenter.com/groups/groups/toward-membership-class/events/upcoming?page=1
Although I just shamelessly promoted our Toward Membership class, please don’t miss the point. Love is not love until it is tested, and there is no way to test love outside of covenant. Back to 1 John for the last word today… 1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us. God cut covenant with us on the cross. How much do you love us, Lord? He stretched out His arms, enduring the pain, and prayed, “Forgive them Father.” Give thanks for His covenant love.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Tue 6 April-2021 24th of Nisan, 5781
Le 9:17-23 Isa 44 Job 2 (Mt 4) Jas 4
What did the people see? What is “God’s glory?” Leviticus 9:23 Moses and Aaron then went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came back out and blessed the people, the glory of Adonai appeared to all the people.
In Hebrew the “glory” is “Kavod.” In trying to understand any word in Scripture, we must look to other places where that word is used, especially the first use. Words have meaning. We cannot just pluck a meaning out of thin air to fit a particular purpose or use. Kavod is first used in Scripture by Laban’s sons, who are questioning the source of Jacob’s riches (trying to say Jacob became rich by stealing from their father). Genesis 31:1 Now Jacob heard the words Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belongs to our father, and from what belongs to our father he has made all these riches.”
Earthly riches has a spiritual equivalent. “Kavod” has a connotation of weightiness. In street talk (back when there were beatniks) someone would say something profound and the hearer would reply, “Heavy, man, heavy.” The first word of the 5th Commandment is “Kabed” (translated “honor”) which is another form of the same Shoresh. Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long upon the land which Adonai your God is giving you. Treat your parents with gravity (seriousness), but also give them riches. Take care of them in their old age (and your children will take care of you).
Let me tell you something very profound. God is 3 in 1. God’s “Kavod” is His unity. Isaiah 42:8 “I am Adonai—that is My Name! My glory I will not give to another, Or My praise to graven images. Read the whole chapter (one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible). To me, this is more prophetic of Yeshua than Isaiah 53. Of course, God cannot share His glory (oneness). If He did, it would not be oneness (glory) but “two-ness.”
So, what did the children of Israel see? They saw fire come and devour the offering. It made the people shout and bow down. God is raising up a people who will stand and fight in the day of battle. Let’s prepare to welcome His presence. 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!’”
Memory Verse: 1 Samuel 16:7 But Adonai said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have already refused him. For He does not see a man as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks into the heart.”
71 4/07 Monday: 1 Samuel 1-2
* 72 4/08 Tuesday: 1 Samuel 3; 8
73 4/09 Wednesday: 1 Samuel 9-10
74 4/10 Thursday: 1 Samuel 13-14
75 4/11 Friday: 1 Samuel 15-16
This is already a long RR, so I’m going to make this part short.
Question of the day: What is the operative word? (The people answered Samuel) 1 Samuel 8:19b “No! But a king should be over us!”
Answer: That’s right, the operative word is “No!” The people said “No” to Samuel. He took it personally, but God told him not to do that. 1 Samuel 8:7b For they have not rejected you, rather they have rejected Me from being king over them.
Let’s beware that we don’t tell God “no” when He calls.