Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, July 17, 2021

Shabbat Shalom,

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

Sat 17 July 2021 8th of Av, 5781 

Parashat Devarim Shabbat Chazon

De 3:15-22 Isa 1:1-27 Mt 3:1-12

Rabbi’s Note:  You will see the label “Shabbat Chazon” above, in addition to Parashat Devarim (the first portion of Deuteronomy).  Shabbat Chazon means a “Sabbath of Vision.”  It is a nickname given to the Shabbat immediately preceding Tisha B’Av.  Tisha B’Av, is the date when we remember the destruction of the Temples and many other calamities that have come upon Jewish people (many of which I’ve already mentioned in the RR).

Why then, is this called the Shabbat of Vision?  Calamities (Could this word be derived from the Hebrew word “K’lala,” meaning “curse,” the opposite of “blessing?”) tend to cause spiritual blindness.  Spiritual blindness is not seeing the greater spiritual realities beyond the physical manifestations before us.  We need to see past the worldly calamities and into the promises of God.  When we are caught up in a tragedy, we see the trouble facing us, and tend to miss the greater spiritual battle, and that battle has already been won on the Cross.  

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

Shabbat Chazon is also known as “Black Sabbath.”  It is exactly opposed to “White Sabbath” whose nickname is Shabbat Shuvah, which is the Shabbat immediately preceding Yom Kippur.  In between Black Sabbath and White Sabbath there are 7 Shabbatot.  Each of them is a Shabbat of comfort, with the Haftarah reading being taken from the Book of Isaiah.  These readings are intended to sooth us, who have been traumatized by the harsh events of Tisha B’Av, and prepare us for the Day of Atonement (being “at one” (Atone) with God.  

May we attain spiritual maturity in this season.  May we be blessed by the complete work of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.  In Yeshua’s name, amen.  End RN.

Hope 7 by David Harwood

For our seventh meditation on Hope, I have decided to give an overview of where we’ve been. I encourage you to reread and pray through the prior six entries.  Let’s begin. 

The Review

Hope is a cultivated virtue. It participates in the revelation of God’s goodness. Hope is rooted in the nature of the God Who acts according to His goodness.

Like faith and love, hope can be strengthened. In the same way the believing community can be inspired to grow in faith and love, so that same community can be motivated to grow in hope. We are to build others up in their faith and stir others up to love. We can also be messengers of hope. 

Biblical hope is the expectation that has its source in God. Biblical hope refers to a confident expectation of a good and perfect gift that is coming from God. When the apostles and prophets wrote of hope they conveyed a sense of certainty about the expectation of a positive, desired outcome. 

You experience hope when you wait for something you want to happen and are certain it is going to come to pass. Hope is certain, confident expectation.

Our God is the God of Hope. He is the Father from whom our expectation proceeds. He is the God who assures us of a glorious future. He is the source of all true and certain expectation.  He labors to bring all of His purposes to pass. He looks forward to the good outcomes of all His plans. 

Our Father is wise, skilled, powerful, and all-knowing. He is motivated by His love for us and, because He loves us, He is faithful.  Furthermore; the Father wants us to fellowship with Him as the source of, and reason for, our expectation.  Hope is a temporal virtue. Hope is only complete (or fulfilled) when the answer has come. Meanwhile, in this life we overcome through faith, hope, and love. 

In the Bible’s record, possessing the promises, the actualizing of God’s purposes, is seen as a process.. The narratives usually reveal a progression from the impossible to the manifestation of purpose.  Hope is a key ingredient that enables the fulfillment of promise. Hope helps provide the power to persevere. God has revealed the process of persevering in hope through the Scriptures. 

Faith is the sure foundation of that which you anticipate, the title deed to that which you are expecting to receive. Faith sees that which is not-yet-seen. Hope looks for the manifestation of what is, as of yet, unseen. Faith owns what it does not yet possess. Hope seeks to take possession of what Faith owns.

Faith says, “I’m assured that my answer is coming.” Hope joins in, “Yes, and I’m looking for its arrival. I’m looking for what I already own to appear, I expect to have in my hands what I already own.” You own it by faith and possess it by expectation.

According to 1 Corinthians 13, love believes (related to faith) all things, and love hopes (expects) all things. Due to faith and hope we find that love perseveres and, as a result, love never gives up (fails). 

There is a type of faith that proceeds from your Father. It is like a guarantee of things to come. This faith is predictive. When you have it you know that you will receive that for which you have asked.  God raises the dead. He answers prayers in hopeless situations. He is the God of Hope who is the reason for our hope.

We need God’s assistance to expect His intervention. God has promised to help. It is His desire to help and we need help to hope with all our heart.  We can hope in His help, to help us to hope. There is grace on top of grace. There is help to hope.

We can embrace the confidence that, if we ask Him to fill us with hope, He will hear and answer us. He will show us how to hope. There is no need to fear that our hope will fade before we receive the manifestation of what we have already received. God will help us. God continually answers prayer. 

Faith is the assurance, surety, substance, realization, reality of what is hoped for. Biblical hope does not exist without faith in God: it is He who answers, the One true and living God who redeems. When you have faith, hope necessarily follows. 

The relationship of faith to hope, the synergy of faith and hope, can be illustrated like this: It’s like ordering something online. When you order something online a business transaction takes place. Your credit card has been accessed. There is a change of financial status. Immediately thereafter a receipt comes. You print it up or keep the receipt digitally.

When you see the receipt, the record of the transaction, you know you own what you purchased. You do not yet have what you own in your possession. However, you are certain that you own it. Then comes the waiting. You look for it to be delivered. If you should hear a truck stop near your house you might check to see if the awaited package has come. Even if it has not arrived the first time you check you keep looking, you don’t give up, you expect it to come.  Knowing what you ordered is yours, and that it is on the way to your home, is faith. Looking for its arrival is hope.

God rewards those who seek Him. Faith believes that God exists and rewards. The reward is what is hoped for. The one who hopes is the person who eagerly expects the reward.  Hope is confident expectancy, dependent upon a foundation of faith. The stronger the faith, the stronger the hope.

Even in a most dreaded set of circumstances, as in Job, we find that ultimately a sufferer who pleases God will be rewarded.  The inner attitude that pleases God is the synergy of faith and hope.  Seek Him diligently and expect an outcome to your search. Seek the Lord until He responds. Seek the Lord until you know that you have been heard and the answer is on the way. Then wait for it. Look for it.

Faith believes that God exists and rewards.  The reward is that which is anticipated (hoped-for). The one who hopes is eagerly expecting the reward. If you seek Him, you will find Him. As you find Him, He will answer you.

Scriptures from Hope 1-6, primarily  from the New American Standard Bible

Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. (Psalm 25:4) 

My soul, wait in stillness, only for God— for from Him comes my expectation. (Psalm 62:5 TLV).

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. (Isaiah 30:18) 

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ … For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ “Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 41:10,13–14) 

Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it. (Isaiah 46:11b)

I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul. (Jeremiah 32:40-41)

For it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you. (Hosea 10:12b) 

Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. (Mark 11:24) 

Out of His fullness we have all received grace on top of grace. (John 1:16b TLV)

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19) 

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. (Romans 8:24-25) 

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Now may the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

[Love] believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:7b-8a)

but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:10) 

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:8–11) 

trying to learn (discerning HCSB) what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:10) 

for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus [the] Messiah, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, [the] Messiah will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:19–20a) 

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thessalonians 5:24) 

looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus, (Titus 2:13) 

so [the] Messiah also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. (Hebrews 9:28) 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) 

… faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen (Hebrews 11:1 TLV) 

… faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NET) 

… faith is the realization of what is hoped for, the proof of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 LEX) 

… faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 HCSB) 

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (1 John 3:2) 

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. (1 John 5:14–15)