Thursday, January 18, 2018

Torah Portion - January 18, 2018

Weekly Torah Studies

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 17:1-8

The Hebrew Alphabet: 

The seventeenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called “Pey” (sounds like “pay”). It has the sound of “p” as in “park”. Pey has the numeric value of 80.

The pictograph for Pey looks something like a mouth, whereas the classical Hebrew script (Ketav Ashurit) is constructed of a Kaf with an ascending Yod:

Notice the “hidden Bet” within the letter Pey. This shape of the letter is required when a Torah scribe writes Torah scrolls, or mezzuzahs. From the Canaanite pictograph, the letter morphed into the Phoenician ketav Ivri, to the Greek letter  (Pi), which became the Latin letter “P.”

The word Pey פה)) means “mouth” and by extension, “word,” “expression,” “vocalization,” and “speech”. In the order of the Hebrew alphabet, Pey follows the letter ‘Ayin, suggesting the priority of the eyes (i.e., understanding, awareness) before verbal expression (reversing this order results in mindless chatter). 

Spiritual Meaning of the Pey
Pey = 80 and means “MOUTH”, “SPEECH” or “WORD”.

The Pey is, first and foremost, the letter of Yahweh’s Word – His Mouth and Speech and Commands. Because it first signifies God’s Word, it is associated with healing. “He sent His WORD and HEALED them, and delivered them…” Psalm 107:20

“(Master) I am not worthy that You should come under my roof, but SPEAK the WORD only, and my servant shall be HEALED,” Matthew 8:8

The inner space of the letter Pey reveals the letter Bet.  Since the first word of Scripture (bereshit) begins with an enlarged letter Bet (representing the house of Creation), it is inferred that the invisible letter Pey (surrounding the Bet) represents the Word of God that created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1-3). The very first letter of the Scriptures is a picture that the ‘Word’ of God is the agency behind the entire universe Psalm 33:6:

By the word of Yahweh were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the Breath of His Mouth.

Pey predominantly signifies the Word of Yahweh. But, on a lesser scale, it also indicates the word of man. A drash on the hidden Bet suggests that since Pey means mouth and Bet means home, what is spoken within the home is likewise spoken outside the home. In other words, our private conversation within our homes will reflect itself in our public life. Conversely, what we speak in public will also affect the quality of our life at home.

The letter Pey represents the number 80. 80 is the same value found in the words yesod (foun-dation) and gevurah (strength). This is also the age of Moses when he was called to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and seems to be indicative of a sign of strength in human life.”

Wisdom from the Pey

Pey has two forms: the closed (פ) and the open (ף). The closed Pey appears at the beginning and in the middle of words, while the open form only appears at the end of words. The lesson in this is simple: Learn to be silent (פ), listening to Yah, before you speak (ף). Only then will His Living Word (Pey) come out of your life and mouth.
Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I Am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Isaiah 50:4 “Yahweh GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” (FIRST, we are wakened to hear with the ear of the learned – THEN we will have the tongue of the learned.)  

Warning! Warning! Misuse of Pey will Bring Unholy Fire!

James 3:6-10  “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”

The Hateful Tongue

Jeremiah spoke of those “treacherous” people who “bend their tongue like a bow.” He cautioned that no one should place trust in the person who “deceives” and “slanders,” nor with those who “have taught their tongue to speak lies” (Jer. 9:2-5). Yahweh hates the lying tongue (Prov. 6:17; cf. Acts 5:3-4). Some use their tongues to rip and gut others—even their brethren in Christ.

The Immoral Tongue

Solomon said that the mouth of the forbidden woman is a “deep pit” (Prov. 22:14). Note the perfume-drenched words (“fair speech”) of the immoral woman who lures a man to his destruction (7:14). Men have similarly taken advantage of vulnerable, lonely women by their deceitful language.

The Boasting Tongue

The vain Pharisee, in a dramatic presentation before Yahweh, paraded his feigned accomplishments, but he was not accounted as just with God, in spite of his boasting (Lk. 18:9). It was Francis Bacon who said something to the effect that “a bragging man is scorned by the wise, and admired by fools.” Wise words are those spoken in humility and repentance.

The Impetuous Tongue

An inspired writer declared: “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak” (Jas. 1:19). The poet Robert Frost once said that “half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.” A wise man wrote: “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise” (Prov. 17:28). Unfortunately, he frequently opens his mouth and removes all doubt! There are far too many people who talk, having not first listened to Yahweh – awaiting the Gift of His Word.

The Critical Tongue

A wise man values constructive criticism; it’s just that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between constructive criticism and plain old meanness. But, as Solomon observed, “A rebuke enters deeper into one who has understanding, than do a hundred stripes into a fool” (Prov. 17:10). A wise person can learn valuable lessons from his critics if he but will. On the other hand, there are those who have turned criticism into a recreational sport. Whenever they gather, like vicious piranha, they devour all flesh in sight.

The Double-Tongued

In setting forth qualifications for deacons, Paul admonished that they must not be “double-tongued” (1 Tim. 3:8). The double-tongued person is one who has refined the art of duplicity. He will say anything to get you off his back, then say quite another to someone else. His word is not his bond. His tongue flaps like an irritating awning in a winter storm (see Prov. 8:8).

The Explosive Tongue

James observed that the tongue is an instrument that no man can control completely (cf. Jas. 3:8). But some make almost no attempt at the effort. At the least irritant they explode with expletives. One might be surprised to listen to the language of the person on Sunday who has spoken so piously on Sabbath! To those who operate in such fashion, Yahweh says: “What right have you to recite My Statutes or take My Covenant upon your lips?” (Psa. 50:16).


“Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth” (Eph. 4:29), rather, put away shameful speaking from your mouth (Col. 3:8). Listen to the warning of the Judge of the universe: “I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mt. 12:36-37).

Recognizing this, helps us to place Pey in its Sealing context. Truly, we cannot be Sealed, without a right use of the mouth, having refrained from speaking from self, but speaking instead in Yah-Governed Words and Ways.

For those who keep the Sabbath, we get a shadow picture of how important Pey (controlling the mouth) is if we would enjoy the ultimate Sabbath of the Jubilee with Yah.

Isaiah 58:13-14 “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy Day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of Yahweh, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: (Pey פ)  Then shalt thou delight thyself in Yahweh; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the Mouth of Yahweh hath spoken it (Pey פ).” 

Godly Pey – Like Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver

There is a great deal of meaning in the fact that the letter Bet (ב)is hidden within the Pey (פ). Solomon wrote –
Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” 

How can our words be like golden apples? And what are the “settings of silver” to which Solomon refers? In Hebrew, “gold” (zahab זחב) ends with the letter bet (ב), and the word for “silver” (ceseph כסף) ends with the letter pey (ף). When the Word of Wisdom, from Yah’s Torah (ב) resides in the mouth (פ), then the resulting words will be “aptly spoken” and of great value… Like apples of Gold in pictures of Silver.

Psalm 15:1-3 “YAH, who shall abide in Thy Tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy Hill? He that walketh upright-ly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.  He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 41-60)
The Torah studies are provided in two formats for your convenience. The first option (below) is the blank worksheets for this week, which will allow you to print out the worksheets and hand-write the studies yourself. If you have less time, you may wish to read/print my completed Statute studies. The completed worksheets are the second option (below):

An Overview of this Week's Torah Studies:
This week we will be studying Statutes 41-60, which are summarized below. Happy studying!

Statute 41-42 Summary:
(41) The priests bear the responsibility to be watchmen who safeguard Yahweh’s holy things and days (42) and lead in the worship of Yahweh. When the priests rightly serve in this post, people are protected by it..
Number 18:5  And ye (the priests) shall keep the charge of the Sanctuary, and the charge of the Altar: that there be no wrath any more upon the children of Israel.”
Statute 43-45 Summary:
(43) The priests are to serve as burden bearers (intercessors), helping others find pardon and peace with Heaven. (44) Priests are not to have an earthly inheritance. (45) The tithes are the support and inheritance of the priests.
Numbers 18:23-24  “But the Levites (priests) shall do the service of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a Statute forever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto Yahweh, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.”  
Statute 46 Summary:
(46) We (since we are all called to be priests - Revelation 5:12) are to take care to come cleansed before Yahweh. We cannot worship Him, be an acceptable living sacrifice, or minister to others until we ourselves are made clean.
Exodus 30:18-21 “Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the Tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the Tabernacle of the Congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto Yahweh:  So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.” 
Statute 47-48 Summary:
(47) The Menorah is to be fueled only by pure olive oil. (48) The Menorah Light is never to burn out, but is to be always lit.
Exodus 27:20-21 “And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the Light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the Tabernacle of the Congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before Yahweh: it shall be a statute forever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.”  
Statute 49 Summary:
(49) The priests are to regularly bless the people in Yahweh’s Name with the following Yah-given blessing:
Numbers 6:23-27 “Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the Children of Israel, saying unto them, Yahweh bless thee, and keep thee: Yahweh make His Face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: Yahweh lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put My Name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.”
Statute 50 Summary:
(50) The priests are to set a show-bread table continually before Yahweh’s Presence.
Exodus 25:30 “And thou shalt set upon the Table Showbread before Me always.”
Statute 51-53 Summary:
When a foul and idolatrous building or city is judged and destroyed, (51) it is to remain a ruin forever. It must never be rebuilt. Also, (52) no items or gain from the judged place may be taken or used by the Children of Yahweh. (53) All proceeds and gain from the judged place must be destroyed and burned by fire.
Deuteronomy 13:16-17 “And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for Yahweh thy God: and it shall be an heap forever; it shall not be built again. And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that Yahweh may turn from the fierceness of His anger, and show thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as He hath sworn unto thy fathers.”
Statute 54-55 Summary:
(54) A prophet who claims to speak in Yahweh's Name, the prophet must speak the Truth from the Word of God. When a prophet (teacher of “truth”) claims to speak in Yahweh’s Name, but does not speak the Truth from the Word of God, that presumptuous prophet will die. (55) And when person claims to teach truth, he/she must not do it in the name of a false god. Such a false prophet will also die.
Deuteronomy 18:20 “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.”
Statutes 56 Summary:
(56) If a false prophet (proclaimed teacher of “truth”) encourages people to do or believe things which honor false gods, you are not to listen to him/her.  Even if the false teacher “proves” his false teachings with miracles, you are not to listen to or allow yourself to in any way be influenced by him or her.
Deuteronomy 13:1-3 “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for Yahweh your God proveth you, to know whether ye love Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Statute 57-59 Summary:
(57) Yahweh’s people are not to assemble to hear a false prophet. (58) Yahweh's people must not show hospitality to a false prophet. (59) Yahweh's people are not to show deferential respect towards a false prophet.
Deuteronomy 18:22 “When a prophet speaketh in the Name of Yahweh, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Yahweh hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
Statute 60 Summary:
(60) Yahweh’s people are not to talk like, nor practice the worldly habits of, nor take on the ungodly customs of the unsaved people around us.

Leviticus 20:23 “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them." 

Daily Bible Reading - January 18, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 14:1-24

Genesis 25

Psalm 18

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

One of the saddest stories in the Bible has got to be the story of how Esau sold his birthright for a meal. Now we can certainly look at Jacob and shake our heads at his deception in this story. There's no question that Jacob was deceptive, cunning, and underhanded in how he acquired his older twin's birthright. But my focus, today, is on Esau. For I see that it is Esau's sin that we are perhaps most in danger of repeating.

Esau was out hunting. He returned home tired - too tired to cook. In fact, the Bible tells us he even felt faint, probably severely so. Although, I think he must have been a bit of an exaggerator because he said he was "at the point to die". The Bible account doesn't make it sound like this statement was factual. Rather, it looks more like Esau said it because he was amplifying the problem to suit his quick-tempered emotional status. His need for food couldn't have been too dire, for Jacob just puts a bowl of lentils into his hands, he eats, and gets up and goes his way. But, in the transaction, Esau gained a meal and physical satisfaction. But he lost something far more valuable. He lost his spiritual birthright.

What is a birthright anyway? And what is a birthright worth? The story doesn't explain what a birthright is, but we get some awareness of its worth simply from Jacob's value of it.

The reason we now list our spiritual patriarchs as "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," instead of "Abraham, Isaac and Esau" (because Esau was born a few minutes before Jacob, making him the true firstborn) is that Jacob had the birthright, which once belonged to Esau. It was a tremendous, spiritual blessing. And - when one truly understands what all is involved in a spiritual birthright - the idea of giving it up for any price is unimaginable!
  • Possessing the spiritual birthright meant that a greater portion of God's Spirit and blessing would reside upon your life. The first-born son would automatically receive this birthright blessing. And possessing it meant that he became the priest of the family.
There were other first-born sons in the Bible who lost their spiritual birthright. One was Reuben. Reuben was the first-born of the patriarchs, and so the priesthood of the tribes belonged to him. But, when Reuben proved less worthy than Levi, the priesthood birthright was transferred by God from Reuben to Levi (Numbers 3:12-13 ; Numbers 8:18). In this case, Levi did not do anything underhanded to take Reuben's birthright blessing. He merely remained faithful to God, where Reuben did not.
Similarly, had Jacob merely waited and remained faithful to God, Esau's birthright would surely have been transferred to him as well. For Jacob clearly valued it - demonstrating his commitment to God - while Esau did not - demonstrating his commitment to fulfilling his fleshly lusts.
  • The first-born son had allotted to him also a double portion of the paternal inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). Reuben was deprived of his birthright, having proved himself unfit to lead by following his carnal lusts (Genesis 49:4 ; 1 Chronicles 5:1). Esau carelessly transferred his birthright to Jacob (Genesis 25:33).
  • The firstborn's birthright meant that he also inherited the judicial authority of his father, whatever it might be (2 Chronicles 21:3). In other words, if the father was a king, the birthright of the firstborn son included being the next king. By divine appointment, however, David excluded Adonijah from this birthright in favor of Solomon.
  • One of the greatest blessings of a firstborn's birthright, is the opportunity and responsibility of being a living link to Messiah. There is a sacred importance to the rank of "firstborn" and "first-begotten" as applied to the Messiah (Romans 8:29 ; Colossians 1:18 ; Hebrews 1:4-6).
The reason the birthright is so precious is that it is a special covenant with God. In God's Eyes, the birthright blessing is of great value. And whatever God values is truly valuable! This was the spiritual 
blessing that Esau foolishly cast aside to satisfy his hunger. Something so valuable as this should not be surrendered even to save one's own life!

Genesis 25:29-34 "And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright."

At some point in Esau's life, he recognized what he'd given up. Scripture even tells us that he tried to regain his lost birthright - seeking to reclaim it with many tears of remorse. But it was too late. The blessing of Heaven, which he so glibly cast aside to fill his own belly, could not be regained. This point is made by writer of Hebrews, along with a warning to us. We, like Esau, can also lose our spiritual birthright with God:

Hebrews 12:16-17  "Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."

Messiah, Who is the supreme spiritual Firstborn, died for us. He took the Death that you and I deserve and promises us the blessings that He deserves! In other words, every child of God, through Christ, becomes the inheritor of the Firstborn blessing! The birthright, which was Christ's is imputed to each of us! 

But so many times, we are tempted to treat this tremendous gift as lightly as did Esau...  How tragic it will be for us, if we are so foolish as to cast our birthrights aside for any price. And this is the lesson and warning portrayed for us in Genesis 25 and in Hebrews.

Many years ago I heard the story of the son of King Louis XVI of France. Rebels removed King Louis and destroyed him. But his son wasn't as easy for them to dispose of. The boy, in his teens, could not be killed. For his martyrdom would cause the people of France to turn against the rebels. So, they opted for a deceitful course. They thought that inasmuch as the king’s son was heir to the throne, if they could destroy him morally, he would never realize the great and grand destiny that life had bestowed upon him. They planned to make the boy destroy himself!

Unbeknownst to the prince, the "friends" who promised to hide him and keep him safe from the enemies of the throne were the very ones who had destroyed his father the king.
They took him to a community far away, and there they intentionally exposed the teen to every filthy and vile thing that life could offer. 

They exposed him to foods the richness of which would quickly make him a slave to appetite. They used vile language around him constantly. They exposed him to beautiful women, who offered their bodies carnally to the boy. They offered him wine and opium.

The young prince was surrounded 24 hours a day by everything that could drag the soul of a man as low as one could slip. For over six months he had this treatment—but not once did the young lad buckle under pressure. Not once did the teen eat, drink, or partake of any evil thing they offered!

Finally, after intensive temptation, they questioned him. Why had he not allowed  himself to enjoy these things—why had he not partaken? These things would provide pleasure, satisfy his lusts, and were desirable; they were all his. 

The young prince simply explained, “I cannot do what you ask for I was born to be a king.”

This young man understood the value of his birthright! He treasured it! It was not to be bought or sold, at any price. May we prove as faithful!

We are all born to be priests and kings in the Kingdom of God. Our Father is a king, and just as the king’s son was exposed to every vile and perverted thing in this life, so you will be exposed to much of the filth and degradation of our generation. But may it be that each of us will remember our birthright (in Christ). May we be faithful as this young prince of France, rather than following in the tragic footsteps of Esau.