Saturday, February 3, 2018

Torah Portion - February 3, 2018

Today's Torah Reading: Genesis 25:11-18

Love for Yahweh - first and Supreme

As we saw yesterday, there are five Commandments that hang upon the Shema Statute (the "Greatest Commandment" as Yahshua called it,  from Deuteronomy 6:4-9) which says Love Yahweh your God with all your heart and mind and soul. They are the first five Commandments, from Exodus 20:

The Statutes which relate to the first five commandments, helping us to understand how to live in whole-hearted love for Yahweh, are shown in the table below:

Today, we will look at the second set of Statutes under the first Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me," (Exodus 20:1-3). The second set of Statutes, under the first Commandment, are about worshiping Yahweh exclusively, as a demonstration of our love. Let us take a look at the Statutes which directly specify that we worship Yahweh and see what this worship involves.

Deuteronomy 6:1-2 - 

Now these are the Commandments, the Statutes, and the Judgments, which Yahweh your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it. That thou mightest fear Yahweh thy God, to keep all His Statutes and His Commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged."
In Deuteronomy 6:1-2, we find a surprising and little-known part of worship. It says to "fear" Yahweh. Did you know that fear is at the heart of worship? We worship what we fear. 365 times, in the Bible, we are counselled not to fear anything or anyone - other than God Himself. That's one command not to fear for every day of the year!

What does fear have to do with worship? Think about it! When we are fearful about a circumstance in our lives, we have unconsciously determined that the circumstance or situation is somehow out of God's control. In other words, He's not strong enough... big enough... mighty enough... loving enough...  to take care of it. And since worship for God is the reverent awareness that He is the Almighty - the Supreme Being - fearing anything other than Him is idolatrous false worship!

By Hebrew definition, the word "fear", in Deuteronomy 6:2, involves "reverence" for Yahweh and a holy "awe". It is the cognizant awareness of Who He is. He is the one and only God! And the more we realize this, the more we will come to "fear" Him and no other. Thus, "other gods" - even unconsciously held ones - will be toppled from our hearts.

The next Statue on worship of Yahweh, helping us to keep from having "other gods" is Deuteronomy 6:25. Here we see that obedience to Yahweh's Will, expressed in that which He has commanded is counted to us for "righteousness". 

Let's not misunderstand. None of us is righteous on our own merits (Romans 3:10). But having been forgiven and cleansed in the precious Blood of Yahshua for our past rebellion, we are now called to be children of obedience, by His Grace. As we do, we are living set-apart in His holiness. 

Deuteronomy 6:25 - 

"And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before Yahweh our God, as he hath commanded us."

Perhaps you are wondering how "righteousness" and obedience directly correlate to worship...  

Remember the story of king Saul? Saul had conquered a pagan nation, as instructed by God. But, against God's Instruction, Saul had kept some of the best animals from the sacked city. When the prophet Samuel confronted Saul with this disobedience, Saul justified his actions by saying that he'd kept the best of the animals in order to worship God with them (they were for sacrifices, which were part of worship). But Samuel made it very plain that worship without obedience isn't worship. He said, "to obey (do the Will of God) is better than to sacrifice (all the religious activities of worship)," (1 Samuel 15:22).

We are further instructed to worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness. Obedience and holiness (righteousness) are essential to true worship.

This Week's Torah Studies: (Statutes 101-120)
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 101-120, which are summarized below. Happy studying!

Statute 101-102 Summary:
Because only holy people can keep the Sabbath holy, Yahweh wants His Children to make double sure of their Cleansing on the Sabbath. For this reason, (101) twice the Lambs were to be sacrificed on the Sabbath (representing Yahshua’s Sacrifice for our sins). (102) Following the double Lamb sacrifice, Yahweh’s people are to offer double the meat (flour) and drink offerings (representing our acceptable living sacrifice–Romans 12:1–which is our thanks for Yahshua’s Sacrifice).

Numbers 28:9-10 “And on the Sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: This is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.”
Statute 103-106 Summary:
Yahweh commands His Children to keep the New Moon by offering specific sacrifices. These sacrifices each point to specific aspects of Yahshua’s Atoning Gift. The point in commanding us to keep the New Moons with such offerings is that Yahweh wants us to specifically claim the Gift of Yahshua over our homes, family and lives in these specific roles. 

We no longer literally offer these animals, because they all pointed to Yahshua’s Death. But we can spiritually claim the Sacrifice of Yahshua in these Roles: 

(#103) We are to keep the New Moon by claiming and acknowledging Yahshua’s Blood as the most expensive Gift Heaven (bullock) had to offer. As we think of the high cost of our sins, sin become less attractive in our eyes. 
(#104) We are to keep the New Moon by claiming and acknowledging Yahshua’s Role as our Leader and Protector (Ram). As we think of the Saviour’s Role as our Leader, we study His Example and choose to follow Him more closely. 
(#105) We are to keep the New Moon by claiming and acknowledging Yahshua’s Blood as the Innocent and Pure One (lamb). As we think of this, we are able to claim Yahshua’s Atonement for our sins and be made pure and innocent through Him. 
(#106) We are to keep the New Moon by claiming and acknowledging Yahshua’s Sacrifice as our Substitute. The devil is compared to a goat, this is why a scapegoat was used to symbolize him. Yahshua had to die for the devil’s traits in us. As we think of this, we are able to repent for having “seeds” of darkness in our souls and be made clean of it. As with the daily and Sabbath offerings, we are to not only claim Yahshua’s Sacrifice, we are also to be the living oblation, returning our gratitude for the tremendous Gift of Salvation through living fully and being willing to die for Yahweh (emblemized in the meal and drink offerings). These offerings are acceptable in Yahweh’s Sight – demonstrated by fire. He sends fire (Pentecost) to consume acceptable sacrifices.

Numbers 28:11-15 “And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto Yahweh; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot; And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram; And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savoura sacrifice made by fire unto Yahweh. And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto Yahweh shall be offeredbeside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.”

Statute 107-109 Summary:
(#107) Yahweh commands us the keep the New Moons. (#108) We are to especially pay attention to (or regard) the New Moon of the month Abib, for this is the first New Moon of the New Biblical Year. We are to calculate timing on Yahweh’s Calendar by the New Moons. (#109) Passover is kept in the first month (New Moon cycle) of the Biblical Year.

Deuteronomy 16:1 “Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib Yahweh thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.” 

Exodus 12:2 “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.”

Statute 110-111 Summary:
(#110) Yahweh’s people are to work for six days. (#111) But on the Seventh Day, we and all our households are to rest from our daily work and keep the Sabbath.

Exodus 23:12 “Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.”  

Statute 112 Summary:
(#112) On Friday, the preparation for the Sabbath is to be completed. Cooking for the Sabbath meals is to be done on Friday. No cooking, baking or boiling is to be done on the Seventh-day Sabbath.

Exodus 16:23 “And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto Yahweh: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.”  

Statute 113-114 Summary:
(#113) Yahweh’s people are never to marry non-Torah-keeping, false-god-worshippers. (#114) Yahweh’s people are not to allow their children to inter-marry with the heathen (those who don’t follow Torah).

Deuteronomy 7:3 “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.”

Statute 115 Summary:
When someone attempts to curse Yahweh's people, it is a serious offense before Yahweh! Even though Balaam was unable to curse Israel, the fact that the Moabites hired him to do it was sufficient reason for Yahweh to bar them from Life. People from groups which try to curse Yahweh’s Children cannot fellowship with Yahweh’s people or partake of Abraham’s blessings for ten generations. However, Ruth was a Moabite, and because she repented and chose Yahweh as her El, she was not only allowed in the fellowship of the Saved, she was also in the lineage of Christ! As it says in Exodus 20:6, Yahweh is merciful to those who love and obey Him.

Deuteronomy 23:3-4 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of Yahweh; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of Yahweh for ever: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. 

Statute 116-117 Summary:
(#116) Spiritual Israel are not to loathe people who, like the Edomites, are not antagonistic against Yahweh’s people and have an affinity for Yahweh and the Truth. (#117) Spiritual Israel are also not to loathe people who, like the Egyptians, are not antagonistic against Yahweh’s people or Truth, yet are caught in the spiritual bondage of Egypt. We are to be understanding and gentle with such folk, because we ourselves were once caught in the spiritual bondage of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 23:7 “Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.”  

Statutes 118 Summary:

When the Children of Israel tried to conquer Canaan, they were afraid of the giant and formidable people who blocked their way. Before final Spiritual Israel can possess ultimate Canaan, we too will face “giants” in ungodly earthly powers. But, (#118) Yahweh instructs us NOT to be afraid. We are to remember that Yahweh is with us. He is greater than any foe!

Deuteronomy 7:21 “Thou shalt not be affrighted at them (the nations of the earth of whom you would be afraid – see verse 19): for Yahweh thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.”

Statutes 119-120 Summary:

(#119) Yahweh’s people are never to bring contempt upon Yahweh’s Name, nor trifle with or make light of it nor curse it in any way. (#120) Also Yahweh’s people are never to make light of, bring into contempt, bitterly curse, despise or declare to be evil the leadership of the flock.

Exodus 22:28 “Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.”

Daily Bible Reading - February 3, 2018

Today's Reading:

Luke 24:1-12

Genesis 43

Psalm 34

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In Psalm 34:12-13, we find one of the biggest and most important secrets to a long and good life. 
"What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile."
This verse, in the Psalms, caught the attention of the apostle Peter also. We know this because he wrote:
1 Peter 3:10  "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile."  
The Psalmist wrote that the only way to really have LIFE and many good days was to keep our tongues from evil, and our lips from speaking in any deceptive or reviling manner. James went even farther saying plainly that anyone who controlled his tongue was a "perfect" person.
James 3:2-10  "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  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."  
Words... speech... speaking...  Wow! It's really a big deal. And maintaining righteous speaking (by God's Grace) is the definitive mark of sanctification. So, how many words are we talking about bringing under the Father's control. What volume of words need to be bridled and harnessed?

In 1984, British writer, Gyles Brandreth, wanted to know how many words the average person spoke in a lifetime. After doing some interesting research on the subject, he estimated that the average person speaks a whopping 860,341,500 words in a lifetime. Brandreth wrote about it in his book, The Joy of Lex: How to Have Fun with 860,341,500 Words.

If Brandreth is right, 860.3 million words certainly sounds like a lot. But we really need a bit more perspective to fully appreciate it.
20-volume Oxford English Dictionary set

In one lifetime, the average person speaks the equivalent of the entire text of the complete 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary (OED) more than 14.5 times.

The books in this picture aren't Bibles... But you get the idea...

In one lifetime, the average person speaks the equivalent of the entire 32-volume Encyclopedia Britannica (EB) 19.5 times

Or put yet another way, the average person speaks the equivalent of the King James Bible (Old and New Testament) more than 1,110 times.

Okay, that's a lot of words to bring under the Father's control!
So, what does it look like to have our words "under the Father's control"? What is the "guile" that Peter and David both instructed us to refrain from speaking?

1) We are not to speak evil of another (no slander). Slander is an evil use of the tongue.

James 4:11  "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."

2) If someone yells at us, or has an outbreak of temper, we are not to shout back at them, or respond in the same evil manner.

1 Peter 3:8-9  "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

3) If someone curses us or swears at us, we are not to respond in kind.

Matthew 5:44  "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

4) Guileless speech is without any deception. Our speech is to be according to the Law of God. We are to be careful not to provoke others with our words.

Proverbs 8:7-8  "For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness (speech that is counter to the principles of God's Law) is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward (words that provoke or pick a fight) or perverse (false) in them."
Pure use of the tongue also involves speaking in a manner which is always governed by the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is edifying speech. It is encouraging speech. It is loving speech. 

No wonder James said that if anyone could control his tongue, he was a perfect man! It seems hopeless! No one can follow the injunction of the Psalmist to "keep thy tongue from evil"!

But if taming the tongue is impossible, so is sanctification. And thankfully, this "impossible" work (which is truly impossible for any person to do on his own) is possible through the power of God.

A fun party game lends a good illustration to the effective method for taming the tongue. At parties, sometimes children (and adults - it's great fun!) play a game of hitting air-filled balloons, trying to keep them from falling to the ground. Like I said, this is a great game. And it's great physical exercise. But, for the purpose of analogy, let's compare the process of keeping the balloon aloft to keeping our words from evil.

If we think about it, we can keep from shouting at someone who's shouting at us. We can stop ourselves from indulging in the latest gossip about Susie (or pick a name). And we can, with concentration, take the effort needed to bridle the tongue, at least a bit. Hit the balloon! Hit the balloon! Hit the balloon! Hit the balloon!

But it just isn't effective because it isn't sustainable! At some point, we're going to tire. We simply cannot keep up this effort forever. Some can keep the balloon aloft longer than others. But, at some point, the balloon inevitably falls to the ground and we have - yet again - used our tongue for evil. Why can't we do it? Because we've filled the balloon with our own air! 

With the air in the balloon representing the "breath" - or spirit - inside it, a balloon (a life) filled with our own air (our efforts) cannot be kept from evil by sheer willpower alone. Ultimately, the "breath" - what's really in our hearts - comes out in our words.

Matthew 12:34  "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
But while a balloon that is filled with air from our lungs cannot be kept continuously in the air (complete victory), a balloon filled with helium can! In our analogy, helium in the balloon represents our lives being filled with the Holy Spirit. In such a state, our attitudes, words, and actions are no longer our own, or kept by our own willpower or failing efforts. Now we are empowered by God. And the balloon goes up and stays up!

So how can we have "helium-filled" balloons in the use of our tongues? This is a prayer matter and one of meditation. When we meditate upon God's Word we are strengthened to live in victory.

Psalm 119:11  "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not (have strength to not) sin against Thee."
Psalm 19:14  "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy Sight, O LORD (Yahweh), my Strength, and my Redeemer."
Let's start off today by praying for God's Help - His "helium" to infuse us, so that we may keep our tongues from evil, by His power. If this is your desire, please pray the following prayer:

Yahweh, You are the most high God who supplies all my needs. I can rest assured knowing that anything I ask for, will be given unto me, as long as I am faithful to You and it is in agreement with Your Will for my life. For I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.

Proverbs 21:23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Let my lips be used to give sweet, joyful praises unto Your Name. Oh Yahweh, deliver me from criticism, negativity, corruption, pride, arrogance, gossip, bitterness, resentment, hate and spitefulness. Let not these words ever leave my lips, nor these spirits dwell in my heart. For life and death are in the power of the tongue.
Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord (Yahweh), over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! 
Oh Yahweh, let no evil befall me as I live my life serving You. Let any negativity spoken against me, or that I might be tempted to speak against others, be destroyed in Yahshua's Name; for I am covered and protected under the precious Blood of the King.

Break that chain of negativity, Oh my God. Allow me to not only speak words of wisdom, edification, healing and love towards others, but also, let my actions follow through.
In Jesus’ (Yahshua's) mighty Name I pray, Amen and Amen!