Rabbi’s Reflections – Thursday, July 6, 2023

Look below a the “Daily Bread” reading plan by our friend, Lars Enarson.”  You’ll see that today is the 17th of Tamuz also known as “Tzom Tamuz” (the fast of Tamuz).  It is considered a minor fast (meaning daylight hours only). It is a day of mourning that marks the date in 587 BC…

Rabbi Trail: Most Jewish people do not prefer the “BC” (before Christ) designation.  They prefer to use BCE (before the common era) as an alternate.  Also, instead of AD (Anno Domini or “year of our Lord”) they use CE (common era).  End RT.

… when the outer walls of Jerusalem were breached, near the end of a three year siege by the Babylonians.  What followed were 21 days of fighting that ended with the beginning of the destruction of the Temple on the 9th of Av (Tisha B’Av).  This year that will begin at sundown on Wednesday, July 26th.

One In Messiah part 10 – Romans, part 121

Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be. 15 For to Moses He says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. 16 So then it does not depend on the one who wills or the one who strives, but on God who shows mercy.

Paul is actually making the case for grace.  And yet, even in abundant grace, we must willingly receive it.  Grace is both the desire and the ability to obey God.  To give us desire without ability would be cruel indeed.  God would not do that to the people whom He loves.

Rabbi Trail: Grace appears in the Hebrew Scriptures too.  Two Hebrew words, “Chen” (bowels of mercy – Genesis 6:8 Noah found “Chen” in God’s eyes.) and “Chesed” (lovingkindness – Micah 6:8 from last week’s Haftarah reading) come to mind.  In studying this today, I have come to an important conclusion.  “Chen” is God’s grace toward us in the Hebrew Scriptures, while “Chesed” is kindness we show toward each other.  Of course there are exceptions, but generally speaking…. End RT.

Ephesians 2:4 But God was rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us. 5 Even when we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive together with Messiah. (By grace you have been saved!) 6 And He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua— 7 to show in the olam ha-ba the measureless richness of His grace in kindness toward us in Messiah Yeshua.

You may have heard the popular definition for “grace,” unmerited favor.  That is so simplistic.  It is like saying the sun is a bright circle in the sky.  It’s correct, but there is so much more.  We need to be willing participants in God’s grace.  Therefore I prefer my definition.  God gives us the desire to obey (follow) Him, and we must respond to His call.   The “Gospel” is the good news that defines Yeshua. Grace gives us the power to receive that message.  Who is Yeshua?  Ephesians 1:18  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the richness of His glorious inheritance in the kedoshim,  Then Paul uses four “power” words in this one verse… Ephesians 1:19 and what is His exceedingly great power toward us who keep trusting Him—in keeping with the working of His mighty strength.

We are not automatons being forced into obedience, being dragged kicking and screaming into the kingdom of God.  God created the world so He would have a place to love us (humanity).  We are created for love, so that He could love us, and so that we would love Him back.  1John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.

Yeshua came to save the whole world.  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Let’s underline that by adding, He is unwilling that any should perish.  2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some consider slowness. Rather, He is being patient toward you—not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance.

Say “yes” to God.  Depart from evil and enter into the Father’s love.  Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life. Abundance of joys are in Your presence, eternal pleasures at Your right hand.  Shalom shalom.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Thu 6 July 2023 17th of Tamuz, 5783 Tzom Tamuz
Nu 28:1-15 Ez 10-11 Neh 7 Gal 6 (Lk 12:35-59)
Ex 32:11-14; 34:1-10; Isa 55:6-56:8 (afternoon)