Rabbi’s Reflections – Tuesday, October 6, 2020


Alright, I’ve written 3 introductions to this RR and I don’t like any of them.  So, I’m just going to write the RR (devotional) without any introduction.  

Ephesians 1:4 He (God the Father) chose us in the Messiah before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love.  

In our study on discipleship, as we work through the Song of Songs, we have noticed the parallel structure between the Song and the book of Ephesians.  In Song, the Shulamite is chosen.  In Ephesians and in the rest of life, we are chosen.  In both the Song and in life we are chosen to be the Bride of Messiah, and there is always a choice.  While God chose us in His unfailing love, we still have the responsibility of choosing Him.

Rabbi Trail:  In Song, the part of Messiah is played by a character known simply as “the Beloved.”  Beloved is the translation of David (King David).  In Hebrew, we spell David “Dalet-Vav-Dalet.”  This is the origination of the Star (Shield) of David.  In ancient Hebrew the Dalet was shaped like a triangle (Greek “delta”).  Since David is spelled with 2 of them, we point one up and one down to form a star or shield.  These two triangles also represent God (point up) and man (point down).  When God and man come together, that is Messiah.  End RT.  

While God chose us, we still have free will to respond (just like the Shulamite).  Sometimes our choices are wise, and sometimes less so.  Yet there is a seat for us at His table.  God is inviting us to take our place among the righteous.  Paul writes the purpose of our chosen-ness is to be “holy and blameless.”  

These are the same words spoken over Father Abraham… Genesis 17:1 When Abram was 99 years old, Adonai appeared to Abram, and He said to him, “I am El Shaddai. Continually walk before Me and you will be blameless.”  God is calling His people to perfection when He says be “holy and blameless.”  

That whole “I’m just a sinner” (some call it “worm theology”) should be cast out once and for all. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

That’s right, “all things have become new.”  So let’s not act like that’s not true.  Take out the double negative and “let’s act like it is true.”  Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any virtue and if there is anything worthy of praise—dwell on these things.

This is part of the path of choosing to be His chosen.  There is always a choice.

Week 41
Memory Verse: 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

201   10/5      Monday:       1 Thessalonians 3-5

* 202 10/6      Tuesday:      2 Thessalonians 1-3 

203   10/7      Wednesday: Acts 18:18-19:41

204   10/8      Thursday:     1 Corinthians 1-2

205   10/9      Friday:       1 Corinthians 3-4

Question of the Day:  What is Paul’s “order” in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, and why is it so controversial?

Answer:  2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

Wait a minute Rav Shaul (Paul’s Hebrew name), Aren’t we supposed to be charitable?  We should be generous and give to those in need.  

My point is simple.  There are times when “charity” is no longer “charity” but becomes the enabling of bad behavior.  Paul spends a lot of time in 2 Thessalonians teaching responsibility.  Paul even says that if people are acting irresponsibly (not according to instruction), don’t associate with them.  

I want to “poke the eye” of the hyper-grace movement.  God has standards, even righteous standards.  He calls them His Torah or laws.  And He expects His people to live by them.  He even provides grace to enable us to do so.  

Romans 8:4 so that the requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Ruach.

Part of our Congregational Declaration for 2020 reads, “We covenant to hold each other accountable to living godly lives.”  Part of living godly lives is providing for yourself and if you have a family, providing for your family.  

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, especially those in his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

This RR is not directed at any person, nor at any particular bad behavior.  I’m just writing it to say that it is okay if we have community standards, and that we should not be reluctant to uphold those standards.  Blessings my friends.  R. Michael.