Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, July 10, 2020

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

The last thing we said yesterday concerned discipleship.  Discipleship is teaching others how to submit to God’s authority.  When we submit to God’s direct authority, He is Lord of our lives and His kingdom has come unto us.  However; we must also submit to God’s delegated authority in the various spheres of our daily lives.  

In Asher Intrater’s book, “All Authority,” he breaks these spheres of earthly authority into four categories.  These four spheres of earthly authority are family, employment, government, and congregation (or faith community).  Rabbi’s note:  Take a moment to notice the attack going on today in each of these spheres.  End RN.  

In each sphere, godly character is built when we submit to delegated authority.  Of course, there is also a godly response to those who abuse authority.  Our righteous responses depend on the level of abuse.  But every response (even to the most egregious levels of abuse) requires respect.  (Notice how this is missing among today’s activists.)  There are many biblical examples.  Study the story of Joseph and Potiphar or his father, Jacob, who had to deal with Laban.  For a more modern example, read the story of Corrie ten Boom to get a sense of how she dealt with abusive authority with a God-honoring response.

I want to dive into that more fully soon; but for now, I want to refocus before bringing this to a close for today.  When Yeshua speaks to us, He speaks with authority.  Luke 4:31 Yeshua came down to Capernaum, a town in the Galilee. He was teaching them on Shabbat, 32 and they were astounded at His teaching because His message had authority.  His words (which come to us in the New Testament) are as much commandments to us as the Law of Moses.  That is high level authority.

So, when we read the great commission at the very end of the book of Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, 20 teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And remember! I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

“Teaching them to observe all I have commanded you” means to obey His commandments (before teaching others).  When He says “to observe” it means to obey (not to watch).  Following God is not a spectator sport.  It is participatory, to the point that (just like the hokey-pokey) you put your whole self in.

At Shomair, our short vision statement is “Making disciples of Yeshua, following His teachings.”  We have not arrived at this.  It is a vision we are pursuing.  All God wants from us is to get better at it.  Let’s do that.  

Much to my disappointment, that’s where I’m going to stop writing for today.  Love to all.  R. Michael.

Week 28
Memory Verse: Deuteronomy 29:28(29) “The secret things belong to Adonai our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever—in order to do all the words of this Torah. TLV

136   7/6       Monday:       Esther 5-7

137   7/7       Tuesday:      Esther 8-10
138   7/8       Wednesday Nehemiah 1-2

139   7/9       Thursday:    Nehemiah 3-4 

* 140 7/10     Friday:     Nehemiah 5-6

Question of the day:  Why is it so hard to build the house of Adonai?

Answer:  These two chapters of Nehemiah are filled with intrigue.  The enemies of the work of the Lord are trying every possible ploy to distract or worse, kill, Nehemiah.  If they can only get him to sin, against God or man.  If they can only find a way to stop the work.

But no!  The work was finished in 52 days.  Another way to characterize the work is with the term, “Against all odds.”  The word “odds” suggests “chance.”  You know, as in “What are the odds?”  Let me introduce a concept.  God is not subject to chance.  If God ordains a particular outcome, then it will happen.  

Did I leave something out?  Yes, God has enemies.  When we work for Him (as a servant of the Most High) or are part of His family (as a child of God) or both, His enemies are our enemies.  But God is able.  God delivered victory to Nehemiah, and He will deliver that same victory to you and me, when we are faithful.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far beyond all that we ask or imagine, by means of His power that works in us, 21 to Him be the glory in the community of believers and in Messiah Yeshua throughout all generations forever and ever! Amen.

And, remember this… there has never been a shortage in the kingdom of God.  2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that by always having enough of everything, you may overflow in every good work.

And lastly (for today) God is able to keep you from falling.  Judah(Jude) 1:24 Now to the One who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Yeshua the Messiah our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, both now and forever. Amen.