Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Torah Portions - Coming January 1

Join me in studying the ENTIRE 
TORAH this year...  
In the weekly Torah portions on this blog, we will study the Ten Commandments and the 613 Statutes... 

It is a positive Commandment for every member of Israel to write the Torah. This is because Yahweh wants us to know His Law, in which is revealed His Character and the foundations of His Government. 
Deuteronomy 31:19 - "Now write this song for yourselves". 
Notably, since we are all called "priests and kings" in our Father's service, Scripture tells us that every Israelite king was also commanded to write a copy of the Torah, which was always to accompany him. 
Deuteronomy 17:18-19 "When the king sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write a copy of this Torah… It shall be with him, and he shall read from it, all the days of his life".
Those who were closest to Yahweh, in Scripture (David and Moses) had one powerful thing in common - they came to know Yah through His Torah (Psalm 1:1-3Acts 13:22Exodus 33:11Psalm 103:7). 
So, let's seek the blessing that is only found in the beautiful Torah:
Psalms 1:1-3 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the Law of Yahweh; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."  

Daily Bible Reading - December 20, 2017

Today's Reading:

Colossians 3:18-4:18

Ezekiel 31-32

Isaiah 56

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

When Yahweh blesses and enriches our lives with His Truth, we naturally respond in joy and excitement! Mining the gems of Truth from His Word scatters His lovely Light beams over our lives and brings us to our knees in humble gratitude. 

We want to shout it from the housetops and broadcast far and wide everything that we have been blessed to find. But did you know that Messiah Himself advises against that? We are not to just share everything with everyone. Christ counsels us to share His Truth with spiritual discernment and discretion.

Those who love the Truth cannot imagine that there might be folks who do not love the Light. But Scripture warns us that some love darkness:
John 3:19  "And this is the condemnation, that Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."  
In fact, there are some with certain mind-sets that cannot appreciate Truth at all. If you share it with people of these mind-sets, the Truth will be harmed and the bearer (you) may bring down unnecessary persecution upon himself.

The two mind-sets that we are warned not to share Truth with are: spiritual dogs and swine. Now, please know that this isn't a judgment against people! Nor am I calling any person a "dog" - much less a "swine"! There is a "dog" mind-set. And there is also a "swine" way of thinking

Even in Bible times, there were people with these ways of thinking that were transformed into powerhouses for Yahweh. One example is the apostle Paul, who (as this study will soon show) once was a classic example of a "dog" mind-set, during which time he persecuted the people of Yahweh.
So, without calling people by any names, I'd like to focus on a term which appeared in our reading from Isaiah 56 - and I'd like to use Scripture to show the importance of discernment and discretion.
Isaiah 56:11 "Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." 
Discernment is something Yahshua warned His people to pray for and exercise.
Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."  
Again, Messiah is our Example in all things. And did you know that even He didn't tell everyone everything? He carefully doled out Truth in just the right amounts - exercising discernment.
Matthew 13:10-13  “And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given.  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” 
Even those who followed Christ and loved the Light couldn't handle all of it being poured out upon them all at once. The Saviour taught the principle of Bearing - which means that the Light-bearer shouldn't give out more Truth than the receiver can bear.
John 16:12 "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." 
So, even sharing with fellow Light-lovers needs to be done with prayerful discretion. Only Yahweh knows how much a person can bear. But, as I mentioned before, there are two mind-sets which should not be given the gems of Truth at all. In fact, Christ commanded us not to share with them:
Matthew 7:6 "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." 
We are not to share with the spiritual "swine" mind-set nor the "dog" mind-set.
1) The Dog Mind-set
Let's begin with the dog mind-set. We will start by looking at what is "holy", so that we can know what should not be shared with spiritual "dogs". Holy means “sacred,” “morally blameless,” “ceremonially consecrated”. So what kinds of things does Scripture call "holy" and warn us not to share with "dogs"?
• Yahweh’s Law is Holy, and Torah teachings should not be shared with spiritual "dogs".
Romans 7:12 “Wherefore the Law is holy, and the Commandment holy, and just, and good.”
• The Appointed times, Sabbaths and Feasts of Yahweh are Holy, and should also not be shared with spiritual "dogs". 
Leviticus 23:2  “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the Feasts of Yahweh, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My Feasts.”
The "dog" mind-set are persecutors. When the holy things are given unto the "dogs", they turn and "rend" the bearer. This is a reference to persecution. And the "rending" that the "dogs" do is entirely avoidable. We are not to give what is holy unto spiritual dogs.

Philippians 3:2 "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."
The Hebrew word for “dogs” is keleb = meaning “a male prostitute”

Deuteronomy 23:17-18 “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the House of Yahweh thy El for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto Yahweh thy El.” 

In the ancient Hebrew culture, it was a despicable thing to be called a dog.
When Elisha predicted that Hazael would burn the strongholds of Israel, kill young men with sword, dash children against stones to kill them, and rip open women with unborn children, Hazael exclaimed, “Is thy servant a DOG, that he should do this great thing?” 2 Kings 8:13.

Those who participated in crucifying Christ were prophetically called "dogs" by the Psalmist (Psalm 22:16, Psalm 22:19-20).

Not only are dogs cruel and persecutory, they are also spiritually blind, failing to overcome sin, and greedy for personal gain.

Isaiah 56:10-11 "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter."

Proverbs 26:11  "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly."  
2) The Swine Mind-set

We are also counselled to not give Yahweh's "pearls" to spiritual swine. What are "pearls"? Pearls are a symbol of something which has great Eternal value.

Matthew 13:44-46  “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth."

Diamonds, sapphires, rubies, all can be divided.  But pearls, like the body of Messiah, cannot be divided.  If you try to divide a pearl, it is destroyed.  On both the inside and the outside, it is shiny and pure and white.  And it is
of great value to the merchant.

Revelation 21:21  “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” 

The spiritual swine is a mind-set of spiritual uncleanness.  Uncleanness is spiritual foolishness, which is the opposite of wisdom. In a swine-mindset, the person will be more interested in his/her own ideas and getting to know "himself" than in knowing God's Truth.

Leviticus 11:7-8 "And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to youOf their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you."  
• Proverbs 23:9  “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.”
• Proverbs 18:2  “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.”  

Swine are a symbol of mankind without discretion.

Proverbs 11:22  "As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion."

Just as an angry swine is a dangerous beast, so an angry fool is dangerous to be around (Proverbs 10:23).

Matthew 7:6 "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

While spiritual dog-mind-set individuals will persecute you for sharing Light with them, swine will trample the gems of Truth in the mud. Mud represents deception, filth, lies, and distortion of Truth. Those with the swine mind-set cannot appreciate the Truth. And when they receive it, they soil it.

Now, having pointed these things out, let me also point out that God can work with folks, even when they are in these dangerous mind-sets. Just as He did with Paul, He can transform anyone, so long as they confess their sin:

Leviticus 26:40-42 "If they shall confess their sin, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary unto Me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:  Then will I remember My Covenant with Jacob, and also My Covenant with Isaac, and also My Covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land."  

But the work of restoring dogs and swine is not accomplished by sharing the gems of Truth with them. Yahshua, Himself, forbade it.

Dogs and pigs are not impressed with jewels. If we think we are doing the swine a favor by throwing pearls to them, we do not understand their true nature. Dogs and pigs only have interest in jewels if they assume the pearls will satisfy their natural appetites. But, once they realize that the jewels do not gratify their appetites, they trample the jewels we gave them and may even turn to attack us.

The treasures of Yahweh’s Truth are precious to the believer, but they cannot be understood by those who reject Yahweh’s Law, and desire to continue in sin. If these gems are cast before such hard-hearted and foolish hearers, they will be misunderstood, misrepresented and reviled. And the one who shared the gems may even become the object of needless persecution as a result.

When we have the opportunity to share Truth with someone, discretion requires that we first pray to discern the condition of the hearer’s heart. We are never to be so excited about the Truth that we carelessly cast it before any and all. First, we need to consider the audience. We need to be eager to listen to the needs and problems of our hearers rather than trying to teach them truths that they are not ready to hear or able to receive.