Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, July 30, 2022
Shabbat Shalom,

Growing in Love for God 27 by David Harwood

Yeshua the Messiah, revealed something about God’s attitude towards those who have repented and believed the Good News.

In Luke 15 we find that confused religionists were unhappy with the company Yeshua welcomed. We do know that right-living people were attracted to Yeshua. However, so were reprobates.

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to hear Yeshua. 2The Pharisees and the Torah scholars began to complain, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1–2 TLV)

Luke wrote that they were complaining to one another. Why were they grumbling? One reason might be that they saw Yeshua as a teacher. As such, He represented God’s holiness. Perhaps they sincerely thought that it diminished the sanctity of Israel. Apparently their perspective was that holy people ought to be separate from profane or defiling relationships. Sin is contagious. But with Yeshua, righteousness was contagious, holiness was contagious, God’s Kingdom was contagious.

They were murmuring. The Lord’s associations scandalized them. They were blind to their own condition. Yeshua’s radical hospitality was a stumbling block to them. The Messiah, recognizing His critics were more alienated from God than traitors and fornicators, reached out to them. He searched for their souls as He told them about the God who experienced loss.

Luke 15:3 relates that He told this parable. It’s comprised of three stories: the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son. They’ve encouraged believers for generations. There are so many facets to them. Each is like a prism refracting light directed to our hearts. Also, we get to view God through these prisms.

There are many hues of revelation coming through these illustrations. Some will be easily received by our souls. A lot of what we derive depends on the way we, and the why we, look through them.

Here’s something I receive. The Creator can suffer loss.

In 2021 I believe the Ruach made this more real to me. When I think of the lost I identify with being like a small, bewildered, frightened child looking for a parent in the middle of rush hour on the streets of Manhattan. I can still relate to that. But what I am convinced Adonai made real to me was what He felt when He lost His children’s affections.

I will never read “Adam, where are you?” the same way. That is the cry of a desperate parent. It is the wail of a broken heart. It was the beginning of a search that is yet to culminate. Thank God He is still searching. Also, gratitude to God that He’s made a way for us to return.

In Luke 15 we have a shepherd losing, looking for, and finding a sheep. Next, we have a woman frantically searching for a coin she lost. Then we have a lost son returning to his father’s household. I think the coin may have been more valuable than the sheep, and the son of much more value than the coin. Each story has aspects of a happy ending (nobody knows the outcome of the older brother in the Prodigal Son). The happy endings are each portrayed as a party:

Rejoice with me, for I’ve found my sheep that was lost! (Luke 15:6b TLV)

Rejoice with me, for I’ve found the coin I had lost! (Luke 15:10 TLV)

What does rejoicing look like? It looks like abruptly stopping all labor, eating great food, singing, dancing, and being happy. It looks like joy.

But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it! Let’s celebrate with a feast! 24For this son of mine was dead and has come back to life—he was lost and is found!’ Then they began to celebrate.

25“Now his older son was out in the field. And as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.  (Luke 15:22–25 TLV)

Yeshua said:

I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (from Luke 15:7,10 TLV)

Your return to the Lord was like the Father finding you! God called for a celebration because of you! There is a party going on that began at your repentance and, guess what, it hasn’t stopped yet. Imagine, God – with all who love Him – is still rejoicing. Take that in and be glad.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 30-Jul-2022  2nd of Av, 5782 Parashat Matot Parashat Masei
Nu 35:9-36:13 Jer 2:4-28; 3:4 Jas 4:1-12