Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, May 29, 2020 


** Sunday is Shavuot (Pentecost).  Shomair is having a special worship service beginning at 10:30am in the sanctuary.  We are meeting together with Grace & Glory Fellowship.  This is one of the three annual “Chagim Regalim” (literally, “foot holidays”) on which all Israel was commanded to appear before the Lord.  I hope you will come and share in the blessing with both congregations.  We were originally planning a picnic following the service, but that has been cancelled due to social distancing standards. 

Counting the Omer – Day 48

Here is the proper blessing to be said each day.  This is how Jewish people fulfill the command to count.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.

Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer.  Today is six weeks and six days of the counting of the Omer.

We continue our discussion of the longing to make a deep and lasting impact.  With each of the longings, there are opportunities to make mistakes.  Those mistakes turn the “longings” into “lustings.”  Do you recall there was a tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden that appeared good, but was also evil?  

Genesis 3:6 Now the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a thing of lust for the eyes, and that the tree was desirable for imparting wisdom. So she took of its fruit and she ate. She also gave to her husband who was with her and he ate.  

The message of Satan has not changed since opening day.  He says to us, “Look, this is good, taste and see.”  But there is a problem, Satan is a liar.  Yeshua described Satan this way… John 8:44b He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks lies he is just being himself—for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Here is a message for today… “good works” birthed out of the tree of good and evil may appear good, but lead to destruction.  Two verses seem appropriate as proof texts.  Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. 14 How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

God’s “good works” lead to life (verse 14 above).  Rabbi’s note:  Our good works have no value.  Isaiah 64:5a For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteousness is like a filthy garment.  Matthew 7 also gives us our second proof text, Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’”

God’s will is found in the tree of life, not in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.  Growing to maturity means fulfilling the longing to have a deep and lasting impact. This impact rests in being God-centered and not self-centered.  Self-centeredness leads to feelings of worthlessness.  God gives us purpose, a high calling.  Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. 15a Therefore let all who are mature have this attitude.

We’ll wrap this up and put a bow on it tomorrow.

Week 22
Memory Verse:  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.

106     5/25      Monday:        Jonah 1-2 

107     5/26      Tuesday:       Jonah 3-4 

108     5/27      Wednesday:  Hosea 1-3

109     5/28      Thursday:      Amos 1:1; 9

* 110   5/29      Friday:           Joel 1-3 

Question of the day:  As the prophesy of Joel begins, things don’t look good.  Joel 1:10 The field is ruined, the land grieves, for the grain has been devastated, new wine is dried up, oil languishes.

By the time we get well into the second chapter, Joel asks a rhetorical question, which is the question of the day.  Joel 2:17b Why should the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’”

Answer:  God has allowed destruction for a season.  The enemies of God want that destruction to last.  But God is the God of redemption.  He will redeem His people, Israel.  Psalm 130:6 My soul waits for my Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, watchmen for the morning. 7 O Israel, wait for Adonai. For with Adonai there is lovingkindness, and with Him is full redemption, 8 and He will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

Zechariah, the husband of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Immerser, prophesied this… Luke 1:68 “Blessed be Adonai, God of Israel, for He has looked after His people and brought them redemption.”  The redeemer, Yeshua, has come to Israel!   That’s “good news” found in the Gospel (which means “good news”).

The 3rd chapter of our reading today (Joel 3) has a great message for Shavuot.  Let’s conclude with that today.  Joel 3:1(2:28,29) “So it will be afterward, I will pour out My Ruach on all flesh: your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. 2 “Also on the male and the female servants will I pour out My spirit in those days.  (There is a significant difference in the chapter and verse numbering between the Christian Bible and the Jewish Bible.)

People will not ask, “Where is the God of Israel,” for every eye will see Him… Philippians 2:9For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue profess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord— to the glory of God the Father.