Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, August 7, 2020

(Early) Shabbat Shalom,

It’s getting close to Shabbat and I’m feeling a bit of a time crunch.  To add efficiency to my day, I’ve decided to write the introduction to my message on Shabbat here in this spot today.  

Rabbi Trail:  When I write my sermon notes, I write out exactly what I hope to say.  Then I paraphrase what I’ve written so it doesn’t sound like I’m reading it.  (I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m reading it; that would be boring.)  So, even though you are reading the introduction today, when you hear it on Saturday, it won’t be the same.  But, if you’re bored because you’ve heard this before, take a “shnap” (a Shabbat nap).  End RT.

Last night, (the night between Wednesday and Thursday) I believe the Lord gave me a dream.  In it, He told me to change the message I was going to deliver on Shabbat.  The prescribed text is Matthew 6 which is part of the sermon on the mount.  In this chapter, God is explaining how His kingdom works.  The principles of His kingdom are quite different (even to the point of being upside down) from the kingdom of this world.  

I was going to preach on Matthew 6:19-24 where there are 3 themes: 19-21 where God gives us His principle of eternal treasure.  We spend much of our adult lives pursuing and accumulating treasure, but God calls us to lay up eternal treasure.  Secondly, in verses 22-23 God explains His principle of singleness of purpose.  In the book, “Good to Great” the authors called it the hedgehog principle.  (Rabbi Distraction:  Hedgehogs are not kosher.  In case you’re tempted to eat one, don’t.  The have “hog” in their name, and they’re very prickly on the outside.) The hedgehog principle is just do one thing well.  The third principle is found in verse 24.  It is the principle of holiness.  We are called to be separate and serve God.  But that is the old message, from which God called me away.

Specifically, he said in my dream to “Preach the whole counsel of God.”  Churches today are filled with people who desire to have their ears tickled.  

Rabbi Trail:  The entire “self-help” industry has nothing new.  They have all taken God’s principles, some openly and some clandestinely, and applied them to living a better and more comfortable life.  But God has not called His people to opulent living (as my rabbi, Dan Juster, says it).  

In fact, I’ve heard Dan Juster ask the question, “What do we need in life other than a lounge chair and a lamp?”  I want to answer his question, “A bag of popcorn, and once every two weeks or so, an ice cream cone.”  Remember, I’m writing this for myself, and I make me laugh.  End RT.

Paul declared that he preached the whole counsel of God.  Acts 20:27 For I shrank not from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God. ASV  This “whole counsel” is the whole gospel.  And the “whole gospel” is not being preached in many churches today.  The whole gospel includes repentance.

If this one verse were fully believed, it would change everything…. John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.  That’s right, grace AND truth.  The leap of error is that Yeshua was full of truth so we don’t have to be.  We want His grace, but we don’t want His truth.  

We want Him as Savior, but we don’t want Him as Lord.  To be our Lord, we must obey Him.  Is there more to obeying Him than loving God and loving each other?  The Beatles were wrong when they sang “All you need is love.”  

We want the power of His resurrection, but we don’t want the fellowship of His sufferings.  We must agree with Paul, who wrote to the Philippians… Philippians 3:10 My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death— 11 if somehow I might arrive at the resurrection from among the dead.

Well, that’s my introduction.  Tune Saturday morning around 11:45 either live at 3811 Boyd’s Bridge Pike or online at our Facebook page “Shomair Yisrael Knoxville.”

Week 32
Memory Verse: Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

156   8/3     Monday:       Matthew 3-4

157   8/4     Tuesday:      Matthew 5
158   8/5     Wednesday: Matthew 6

159   8/6    Thursday:     Matthew 7 

* 160 8/7     Friday:    Matthew 8

Question of the day:  The Apostles ask the question today.  Matthew 8:27 The men were amazed, saying, “What kind of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey Him!”

Answer:  What kind of person is this?  This is the kind of person like no other.  He is the Son of God and He is the Son of Man.  He is the Great I AM, and the Alpha and Omega.  Isaiah 11:5b His Name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God My Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace.  

He’s the kind of person Who is asleep in a small boat during a storm that is terrorizing everyone else.  Nahum 1:5 Mountains quaked because of Him, and the hills have melted. The earth has heaved up at His presence—yes, the world and everything dwelling in it. 6 Before His indignation who can stand? Who can withstand His burning anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and cliffs break down before Him. 7 Adonai is good as a refuge in the day of distress, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.

Yes, let’s take refuge in Him.  The Apostles asked, “What kind of man?”  The answer is, “That kind of man.”