Monday, January 22, 2018

Torah Portion - January 22, 2018

Weekly Torah Studies

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 19

The Hebrew Alphabet: 
The twentieth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called “Reysh” (pronounced “raysh”) and has the sound of “r” as in “rain”. 

“Nothing in a person’s life is closer to the Spirit than his mind.” – Watchman Nee

It is human nature (fallen) to follow our own desires, whenever our wills come in conflict with Yahweh’s Will. We say that Yahweh is God – Ruler of all – yet we often fail to consult His Will on important decisions, feeling rather that it’s “my life”.

Watchman Nee, or Ni Tuoseng, was a church leader and Christian teacher who worked in China during the 20th century. In 1922, he initiated church meetings in Fuzhou that may be considered the founder of Christianity in Communist China. Watchman Nee wrote, “we act as if there were two persons in the universe who are omniscient: God and myself.” (Watchman Nee, Spiritual Authority, p 102).

Our greatest hindrance in obeying Yahweh is our human reasoning. Although Yah invites us to “Come now and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18), we tend to live our lives according to our own powers of reasoning, missing the blessed life of obedience to His Will in all things. This is the lesson of the letter Reysh.

Spiritual Meaning of the Resh
Reysh = R and 200 and means “HEAD”, “CHIEF”, “MASTER”, “PRINCE”, “COMMANDER” and “POVERTY”.

The meanings of Reush are all exalted, but one: “Poverty”. Though this last definition may seem contrary to the others, it reminds us that if we allow ourselves to be our own MASTERS, we will suffer spiritual poverty.

Reysh symbolizes the HEAD and HIGHEST – what is MOST IMPORTANT and has the HIGHEST AUTHORITY in the life.

“For the husband is the HEAD of the wife, even as Messiah is the HEAD of the Church; and He is Savior of the Body,” Ephesians 5:23.

God’s blessing and protection extend over us, when we submit ourselves to His ordained authority structure. No one, in His Kingdom, is an island. All of us are under God-ordained authority. Remaining submitted under our proper authority is key to being submitted to Yahweh.

“Trust in Yahweh with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths,”  Proverbs 3:5-6.

The Hebrew Alphabet with Values

Reysh: The Mathematical Center
Reysh appears at the end of the Hebrew alphabet, being the 20th of 22 letters. But, mathematically, Reysh is the center letter. This is because the first letter, Aleph, represents the number 1. And the last letter, Tav, represents the number 400. Reysh, with a value of 200 is exactly between 1 and 400. 

In order, Resh is located between the letters Koph (Qof) and Shin, and appears at the end of the alphabet. Interestingly enough, if you join Resh with Koph and Shin you get the word sheker, which means “falsehood” (שקר). Since math is all about logic, this shows us a picture of how our human minds find it “logical” to put our own human reasoning at the center.
If we try to live our lives according to human reasoning and our own wills, we will be prone to deception, because our lives will be revolving around a false center. The tendency to enthrone self and human logic at the core of our being, around which all of our decisions and actions revolve, is very common today. This is not the way Yahweh designed us to operate–and attempting to live in this way leads to emptiness and an inability to ever achieve our full potential and Calling in Yah. It is the opposite of what Yahweh Instructs us to do in His Word:
Trust in Yahweh with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear Yahweh, and depart from evil,” Proverbs 3:5-7. 
Notice that it does not say that we should never use our understanding; it says only that we should not “lean” upon it. Our human reasoning is like a paper wall, if we lean upon it, we will fall through. The purpose of our God-given power of reason is to enable us to appreciate what He has done, rather than try to determine what He is going to do. This is why Reysh appears at the end of the alphabet. Reasoning makes a wonderful caboose, but is a poor locomotive. 

Reysh follows Tzaddi (righteousness) and Qof (holiness) – so we must pray to have our reasoning led by righteousness and holiness and not the other way around. For human reasoning can never LEAD us to righteousness and holiness. Only when it follows the other two concepts, will our reasoning ability be used as a blessing.

Re7sh: Shows Submission to Yahweh’s Headship – and Suffering

If a person receives every “needful thing” in Abraham Maslow’s Pyramid of Human Needs, he or she will be fully “self-actualized”. Yahweh refines His people by challenging and denying our “needs” on this Pyramid. This process involves suffering. It is only when we submit to this suffering experience in the fear of God that self will be completely dethroned and Yahweh will fully reign in our souls.

The letter Reysh has so much in it that it warrants study over two days...  So, we will continue this tomorrow. For now, the Reysh is the letter self being dethroned. Yahweh lovingly and wisely brings us into circumstances of suffering in every level: physical, mental, emotional, relational, reputational...  in order to refine us (Isaiah 48:10).

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 61-80)
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 61-80, which are summarized below. Happy studying!

Statute 61-62 Summary:
(61) The priests are to burn incense before Yahweh (which represents prayer–Revelation 8:3-4) every morning and every evening. (62) The lamps (which represents our witness – Matthew 5:14 – being filled with Yahweh’s Spirit and abiding in YAH) are to be dressed every morning and freshly lit every evening.

Exodus 30:7-8  “And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before Yahweh throughout your generations.
Statute 63-64 Summary:
(63) The fire on the Altar of Burnt Sacrifice (representing the Cross) is always to be kept burning, day and night. (64) Priests are to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon it to Yahweh.

Leviticus 6:12-13  “And the fire upon the altar (of burnt sacrifice) shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.  The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.”

Statute 65 Summary:
(65) Yahshua was the One Who laid aside the white “linen” of His perfect righteousness, put on my filthy robes and suffered for me outside the “camp.” It is by His humiliation and atonement that I am made clean and accepted by Heaven. This work of the Saviour is to bring about true repentance and sorrow for sin. The priest carried the ashes outside the camp to cause the people to think about the Saviour’s work of redemption. This is statute of remembrance. By beholding, we become changed. We are to cogitate Calvary daily.

Leviticus 6:10-11  “And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.  And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.” 

(See also Hebrews 13:11-13) (Also note: ashes was a mark or token of grief, humiliation, or penitence - Nehemiah 9:1Job 42:6)

Statute 66-68 Summary:
(66) We are not to allow anything unclean to come into the heart or home where Yahweh dwells. We are not to allow leprosy into our hearts or homes. Spiritually, leprosy is reprobation (because we lose our ability to perceive guilt when we choose to justify ourselves rather than repent from sin) (John 3:19-20). (67) We are not to allow an issue into our hearts or homes. Spiritually, the issue is pining or wasting away; as in being unthankful, embittered, or complaining (1 Corinthians 10:10). (68)We are not to allow our hearts or homes to be defiled by the dead. Spiritually, death is following lusts and fleshly desires (Hebrews 9:14).

Numbers 5:2-3  “Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead:  Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.”  

Statute 69 Summary:
(69) The priests of Yahweh are first to be sanctified in order to fill this role. Then they are set apart for holy use. (See Revelation 5:10).

Leviticus 21:8  “Thou shalt sanctify him (the priest of Yahweh) therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I Yahweh, which sanctify you, am holy.”  

Statute 70 Summary:
(70) The priests of Yahweh are to be spiritually clothed in special garments for glory and beauty (see Ezekiel 16:14 and Ephesians 6:11-18).

Exodus 28:2-4, 40 “And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.  And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office… And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.”

Statute 71-72 Summary:
(71) Yahweh’s people are to never practice fortunetelling, nor have anything to do with magic. (72) Yahweh’s people are to never eat anything with the blood.

Leviticus 19:26 “Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.”

Statute 73-78 Summary:
(73Yahweh’s people are to belong to Him wholly and completely, without any divided or competing affections. This is what it means to be perfect with Yahweh. (74) Godly parents are never to alienate their children, transitioning them in crossing over to the devil. (75) Yahweh’s people are to not consult sorcerers, nor practice sorcery. (76) Yahweh’s people are not to practice magic, nor consort with magicians. (77) Yahweh’s people are not to practice witchcraft, nor consult witches. (78) Yahweh’s people are not to consult with demon spirits, nor consort with those who do so.

Deuteronomy 18:10-13 “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto Yahweh: and because of these abominations Yahweh thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with Yahweh thy God.”

Statutes 79-80 Summary:

Yahweh’s people are to dress in a way that clearly reveals their gender. (79) Men are not to dress like women. (80) Women are not to dress like men.

Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto Yahweh thy God.” 

Daily Bible Reading - January 22, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 17

Genesis 29:1-30

Psalm 22

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In today's reading I most resonated with the message of Psalm 22This Psalm portrays an experience that we have probably all passed through at one time or another. We've all been in dire circumstances - dark times which seemed without hope. Yet, there is a reason to hope - beyond what we can see or perceive. We hope in God.

There are special chapters of the Bible, which specifically focus on certain things. For example, Hebrews 11 is known as "The Faith Chapter", 1 Corinthians 13 is known as "The Love Chapter" and Psalm 119 is the Chapter extoling "The Law of God" through all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (alephbet) - there are 8 verses per Hebrew letter. Well, now we can add to this that Psalm 22 is "The Hope Chapter".

The word "hope" certainly appears in the Chapter, as it says in Psalm 22:9, "...Thou didst make me hope...". But I don't call this chapter "The Hope Chapter" because the term is repeated over and over. Rather, I call it "The Hope Chapter" because the concept and reason to Hope are powerfully given.

Psalm 22 is a Messianic prophesy. The Saviour's Death is foretold in this Chapter. And it is in His Death - because of His Death - and Resurrection that we have reason to Hope - Always!

At the time of the Crucifixion, Messiah cried out, "My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" These were the very words David was inspired to write when foretelling Christ's Experience at Calvary, in Psalm 22:1.

In Psalm 22:16, we find the prophesy that the Saviour's Hands and Feet would be pierced. And in Psalm 22:18 it is foretold that they would divide His clothes amongst themselves, casting lots to see who would win His garments.

But the Chapter ends with a powerful promise. Because of His Death and Suffering - by His stripes, we are healed - a "seed" will serve Him and be accounted as His generation of people (Psalm 22:30). 

What a powerful reason to HOPE! So, no matter what you're facing, no matter how dark or dire your circumstances may seem, remember the Message and Promise of hope in Psalm 22... Remember to Hope in God!