PARASHAH: “Lech Lecha” (go forth yourself)
GENESIS 12:1-17:27………ISAIAH 40:27-41:16……MATTHEW 5:1-48; ROMANS 4:1-25
“Now YHVH said unto Abram: Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee” these are the opening words that YHVH speaks unto Abram. A Midrash interprets this to mean; “Go forth to find your authentic self to learn who you are meant to be” This is the same calling are believers have. To leave the world/life-style of sin, follow Yeshua and his Torah, and find your "authentic self" and find out where you fit in according to God's perfect plan for your life.
Now we might ask, “why did YHVH choose Abram to begin his chosen people?” No one really knows the “why?” only that he DID choose him. Perhaps he had a curious and searching mind, searching for the real and true God.
We must remember that there was no such person as a “Jew” back then. Abram was a Mesopotamian, from the Chaldean city of “Ur” similar to the Hebrew “Ir” which means “city”. He was raised as an idol worshipper, and his family’s business, according to the rabbis, was making and selling idols.
Hebrew tradition teaches that when Abram was young, he attended the “School of Shem”. Shem, the son of Noah taught youths about the true God, Adonai-Elohim, the great El Shaddai, so, Abram might have known something about Elohim from Shem, that is if the story is true. But like I said, it is a story based on tradition.
We only know that YHVH chose Abram, and he accepted and obeyed the voice of YHVH. Here is a commandment and the blessings of obeying the commandment. “Leave your father’s house and go to a land which I will show you.” We see that G-d wanted Abram to distance himself from idol worshipping and everything connected with the such. Once he obeyed the voice of HaShem, THEN… the blessings would come;
“I will make of thee a great nation” , “I will bless thee and make thy name great (shem gadol) and be thou a blessing” , “I will bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee” , “In thee shall all the families of the world be blessed” we later see that under “being a great nation” we could add the promise; “Your seed will be like the dust of the earth” and also “like the stars of heaven” What do these promises involve?
First of all, let’s look at the words; “Dust of the earth” and “stars of heaven”. Am Israel becoming as the “dust” of the earth, in that they were “trampled upon” by many nations that wanted to extinguish the Jewish people, yet they were also as the “stars of heaven” they shone with the light of Adonai, they brought the worship of the ONE true GOD, Adonai-Elohim-Yeshuah. And from Am Israel, came “Yeshua” who is the “Light of the World”
Once that Abram obey the voice of YHVH, and he arrived in the land of C’anaan, then came the testings. We see that Adonai wanted to test his faith, like he tests us all in many different ways. Yes, we all want blessings, but at times, blessings come with a price.
“Am gadol” a great nation, or a great people. It started with Yitzchak, the first and only son of Abram and Sarah. From him we know the story; Yitzchak > Ya’akov > 12 tribes > multitudes! As a sign, YHVH changed the name of Abram to Abraham. If we look at the paleo Hebrew symbolism in the name “Abram” we see “Alef” “Beit” “resh” “mem”. 4 letters, “4” symbolized the 4 corners of the earth. The descendants of Abraham are in all 4 corners of the earth. But we can see these letters meaning or symbolizing “the father who is the head of a multitude”. Also, we can read this as; God blesses the first house with a multitude”.
Later, YHVH changes his name by adding the letter “hey” (h). Now it is “abraHam”. What is the significance of the “H”? Well, one way we can look at it is that the “hey” (h) is the only letter in the Hebrew Alef-bet that is pronounced with one “breathing out air”. When you pronounce “h” we send out a puff of air from our mouth. We can also say “wind” in Hebrew; “Ruach” it also means “spirit”. SO…we can say that “YHVH sent out the “spirit of life” into the womb of Sarah through the seed of Abraham. Also, the ancient meaning of the letter “hey” is “Behold!” so, we can say “Behold, a multitude is coming from Abraham and Sarah!” starting with Yitzchak.
Yet we cannot forget about Ishmael, who was the son of Abraham and Hagar, the Egyptian. The promise extended to him too, although this was not part of God’s “perfect” will. He “permitted” the union between Abraham and Hagar, yet with consequences; the Arab nations who are the enemies of Israel. “Ishmael” means “God listens (to man)”
“Ish+shema+El. (reading right to left) HOWEVER if we read from left to right we get “Man listens to God” and every man that listens to God, in obedience, whether Arab or any other ethnic identity, that man will be blessed also.
Adonai stated also that “in thee, all of the families of the world would be blessed”. The greatest blessing is in Yeshua HaMashiach. From the seed of Abraham, came the nation of Israel, and we know that Mary and Joseph, the guardians of Yeshua were of the seed of Abraham, and more closely, the seed of David. We need to look not so much at physical blessings, nor biological/genealogical blessings. We might be of Jewish ancestry, but that does not secure for us salvation, we need to look at Yeshua our Messiah, who is our “Yeshuateinu” (our salvation)
This chapter also states that “Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the wealth that they had amassed and the persons that they had acquired in Haran and they set out for the land of Canaan”
Some translations say “souls” instead of “persons”. We can assume that by these words “acquired persons or souls” that Abram and Sarai were “soul winners” that they converted many “souls” in Haran to the belief in the one TRUE GOD, that they abandoned the false deities and were thus “grafted in” sort of saying, into the “Mishpochah Abram” (the family of Abram) They also probably bought servants and slaves, and I am sure that they witnessed to them too.
The Word also states that Abraham acquired much “wealth” and took it with him of course. This wealth was in the form of gold, silver, and livestock. We all have internal “wealth” which is the knowledge and wisdom which comes from studying God’s word, and that is what we take with us where ever we go. We are to “share” this wealth with others through teaching and preaching the WORD, and be witnesses of the “Living WORD”
Once they arrived in Canaan, they would be “Gerim” from the word “Ger” which means a “sojourner” that is a person who is not a native of that land, but who will live there. We could consider ourselves as “sojourners” on this planet called “earth” this earth is not our permanent home, even though we were born “earthlings” our true home is in Heaven, the New Jerusalem.
Now we look at Lot, Abraham’s nephew, Lot started arguing over land for cattle. So, Abraham says for him to select one area and he would go in the other direction. So, Lot chose “Sodom!” the land around it looked very fertile. That is the way the land of sin appears to people. It looks attractive. So, Lot pitched his tent TOWARDS Sodom…then…he actually enters and LIVES in Sodom. And so, it is with sin. We might get attracted to it, get closer to it, and finally, indulge in it! So, be careful!
Another fact we read is that Abram stopped in two places, “Shechem” and “Betel” there he built altars and worshiped Adonai there. We do the same, but we do not build stone altars. We worship Adonai in spirit and in truth. An interesting fact about the place “Beth-El, it means “House of God”. Yet the Canaanites worshiped a false deity which was also called “El” the difference between the god “El” of the Canaanites and “El Elyon” or “El Elohim” is that we worship the true EL, the “One who is Strong and who Leads and Instructs” as symbolized in the two Paleo-Hebrew letters; “Aleph and Lamed”
There were three promises made to Abraham. His seed would be like the dust of the earth. His seed would be like the stars of heaven, his seed would be like the sands of the sea. Can you count the stars? Can you count the grains of sand on the beach? Can you count dust? Here is something to think about. We walk on dust, we trample it underfoot. Israel has been trampled underfoot and has been looked down upon by many nations, yet, the dust still lasts, it will always be. Leave a car out in the desert for 50 years, and the dust will wear it away into rusted metal, yet the “dust” will always be, and so will Israel.
Circumcision! This is an important area, but some make it TOO important. YHVH instructed Abraham to be circumcised and that every male should also be circumcised. This was and is a mark of the covenant. But what about today? Is it still important? Yes, it is, but in the physical aspect of the same. For male health and cleanliness, it is good for every baby boy to be circumcised. YHVH is more concerned about our heart condition. Moshe stated that the “foreskin of our hearts should be circumcised”. Spiritually speaking, the “foreskin” of our hearts is the carnal ways that we all have, being that we are a fallen race and have the inbred original sin. “So, circumcise your heart and stiffen your neck no longer” (Deut 10:16)
ISAIAH 40:3 -41:16
The prophet echoes the future voice of Yochanan the Baptizer; “Prepare the Way of YHVH” Isn’t it interesting that one of the titles of Mashiach is “The Way?” So, could we say that this verse, in a way, is saying; “Prepare to meet Yeshua, who is the WAY, and who is YHVH in the flesh?”
“All flesh is grass and beauty likened unto a flower” are the words of the prophet, who speaks as the Ruach leads him. The grass withers away and so do flowers, the grass dries up and ends up “hay” which is eaten by cows, and flowers, well, they are thrown away or “pressed” between book pages. Kind of like having a picture of grandma and grandpa when they were young, yet, it tells the truth that our bodies wear down and our beauty and handsomeness go downhill. The only thing that remains is our soul, our spirit. Our soul and spirit receive the Word of Elohim, which is forever, and the “Living WORD” who is forever.
“He feeds His flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs with His arm, and carries them in His bosom, gently leading those who are with young” (vs 11)
What could the prophet be saying here? Adonai feeds “flock” (us, we are his “b’nei Elohim) “sons (and daughters) of God, with His Word. We are his sheep and lambs. A lamb is a young sheep under a year old. He cares for ALL believers, both young in the faith and those mature in the faith. He has us next to his “bosom” the “bosom” of a woman gives forth milk to her child, and the Torah is His “milk” that nourishes us. He leads those who are with young. We might liken that statement to congregations that have both young and old believers, not age-wise but “spiritual maturity” wise. Or…could we say pastors and rabbis and their congregation members? Something to think about.
“It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in” (vs 22)
Wow, here is a revelation of the awesomeness of our God. A tent and a curtain are materials and fabric which can be folded and that can bend. Does this say that the universe has a curved structure? Does this explain how we can see starlight which comes from millions of light-years away, in a matter of seconds?
If you take a curtain or a tent, flatten them out, and mark one end with “A” and the other end with “B” and ask your friend, “What is the quickest way to get from point “A” to point “B”? your friend might say; “Draw a straight line from “A” to “B”. Well, that might be one of the ways, but not the quickest way. But if you “fold” the tent or curtain, from their “spread out” position, so that points “A” and “B” touch each other, then, you have simultaneous contact.
Time itself is affected. So, it might explain why we can see that starlight so far away, right away, by the bending of space-time, through the bending of the “curtain-tent” like expanse of the heavens. It might be that earth, where we “the grasshoppers (at least a grasshopper is a Kosher insect) live, is at the center of a possible worm-hole in space where “A” and “B” touch? Only YHVH knows for sure. It’s something to think about.
The prophet is encouraging Israel saying that YHVH will support them, will protect them. Israel has been through a lot, they are weary of being persecuted, well, they went away from the LORD and went after false gods, yet, when they repent, YHVH will be there.
They are weary, weak, tired. Yes, when we do it in our own strength, yet when we go in the strength of YHVH, HE is our strength. We are not talking about physical strength, but spiritual strength. The physical is and always be physical. We can be strong physically by eating right, exercise, etc.…but we can be spiritually strong through prayer, reading God’s word, and just trusting in HIM for our needs.
“Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee and not cast thee away, fear not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed for I am thy God, I strengthen thee, help thee, uphold thee… (41:10)
What better promise from God do we have? He has chosen us as HIS people, through Yeshua, we become an active part of the commonwealth of Israel, and, as our LORD, and Master, He will provide.
There is a lot of meat in this chapter, besides the Beatitudes, which are “blessed are the…” poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek (or humble) etc.… these we can understand, Yeshua is explaining this quite clearly. But there is another part which needs explanation. 5:17-18
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto thee, till heaven and earth pass, not one yod or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled”
This has been a misunderstood verse in many if not all Bible churches today. What is “Law?” in the Latin we have the word “legis” which when translated into English, we get “law”. The problem is when we go into the original Hebrew the word in “Torah” which means “instruction, teaching". When translated correctly into Latin, it would have been; “disciplinam”, “educatio” “instructio” “mandatum” Any of these words would have been better than “legis”
In the ancient Hebrew, when worded “destroy” and “fulfill” meant that “destroying” is “erroneous interpretation” and “fulfilling” meant “correctly interpreting”. Yeshua did indeed “fulfill” the Torah, the biggest and most important fullfillment was dying for our sins. He fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system of animal blood, using his own blood.
The Torah consists of commandments, 613 to be exact. If we say, “we no longer have to live by those old-fashioned laws, the “law” is over, finished, ended, then…why don’t we go out to rob a house, to take your neighbor’s wife, to murder someone you don’t like? Those commandments are part of the “law”, aren’t they? So, if it is over with, well, why not? Because Yeshua himself said so! That he didn’t come to “end “or “get rid of, or “abrogate” as some translations have.
Of course, many of the 613 commandments are not for today, since there is no more animal sacrifice nor Levitical priesthood, but many are STILL for today. That is the reason for Bible study, which ones are or not. As our rabbi (now in heaven) once said; “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater” Now, someone is going to write a comment saying; “But doesn’t the Word say if we break one commandment it is like breaking them all?” we are guilty then of breaking the entire “law”
The answer is that if one is trusting in obedience to the commandments as our method of gaining eternal life and acceptance by God, then, YES, we are guilty, since YHVH demands PERFECT holiness, Yet, our salvation does NOT depend on our obedience to the commandments, but in accepting Yeshua’s sacrifice, and trusting HIM as LORD and Savior. Our obedience to the commandments comes AS A RESULT OF our renewed relationship with YHVH through Yeshua
Are the heavens passed away yet? NO! is the earth still here? YES, is the WORD of God still here in our midst? YES, is the LIVING WORD in our hearts? YES!
ROMANS 4:1-25 ; “Abraham believed and it was reckoned to him for righteousness”
It wasn’t by the works of Abraham that he was considered “in right standing” before Adonai, (anther way of saying; righteousness) It wasn’t because he was circumcised, it was that he “Believed” in the promise of Adonai, and with his belief, he followed His lead to the Land of Canaan. He believed even before he became circumcised.
Same in our case. When we believe and accept the free gift of “Yeshuah” (salvation) by “Yeshua” (seems like a play on names) and believe that His one-time- only sacrifice for our sins, we receive HIS righteousness, we come into “right-standing” before our God and King, our Creator, and our Father.
Our “good works” which are our adherence to the commandments, follow our “right-standing” and not the other way around. We are made “righteous” to perform “righteous works” our faith leads to our good works, which, in the end, will bring us rewards in Heaven.
Shabbat Shalom…..Rabbi Ben Avraham
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