Sunday, April 29, 2018

Weekly Torah Studies - April 29-May 5, 2018

The Statutes which are "health laws", as we studied last week, all fall under the main Commandment heading of "thou shalt not kill." It is possible to kill ourselves, one bite at a time. As we will see in our studies this week, there are some Statutes about what to eat that are also about honoring Yahweh as our Heavenly Father.

WEEK OF April 29-May 5, 2018: Overview of this week's Statutes (#383-405):

STATUTES #383-388:

(#383) YAHWEH’s people are not to procrastinate about offering our first fruits to YAHWEH. 

(#384) We are to render to YAHWEH the first fruits of our produce. 

(#385) We are to render unto YAHWEH the first fruits of our juice. 

(#386) We are to willingly yield unto YAHWEH the first born of our livestock. 

(#387) The first born of our livestock are given to YAHWEH on the eighth day. 

(#388) YAHWEH’s people are to consecrate their first born sons unto YAH. Notably sons are circumcised (consecrated to YAHWEH) on the eighth day. 

Rendering first fruits unto YAHWEH is a way we recognize His Ownership and our stewardship of what is rightfully His (Psalm 50:10 & Exodus 13:2).

A Note About 8: Eight, in Hebrew, is the letter chet (pronounced from the back of the throat as khāt). This is the number of grace and new beginnings. For example, the last day of Sukkot, representing the Last Great Day (or start of the world to come) is the eighth day of the Feast. YAHWEH reaffirmed His covenant to Abraham eight times. There were 8 souls saved in the flood, from which to begin a new world. And boys were circumcised on the eighth day of life showing their new beginning in spiritual life.

Exodus 22:29-30 “Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto Me. Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it Me.”

STATUTES #389-390:

(#389) YAHWEH’s people are set apart, holy sanctuaries for the indwelling Presence of YAH’s Spirit. At all times, we are to remember this. 

(#390) YAHWEH’s people are stewards and husbandmen, caretaking their bodies in recognition of the fact that YAHWEH is the Owner of our body temples. As caretakers of our body temples and holy people, we are never to eat flesh that was bitten, torn, or partly devoured by animals.

Exodus 22:31 “And ye shall be holy men unto Me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs.”

STATUTES #391-393:

(#391) YAHWEH’s people are never to eat the blood of any creature (See Leviticus 7:26-27). Blood is the life and vitality of any living thing. 

(#392) When we slaughter a clean animal for food, the animal’s blood is to be poured out upon the earth. 

(#393) Obedience to this Statute, is a vital part of being physically and spiritually well.

Some have thought that flesh needs to be completely white and bloodless in order to fulfill this statute requirement, but this is not likely correct, due to the way the Passover Lamb was prepared. If it were against Torah to have any pinkness left in the meat, the Torah commands for preparing the Passover lamb would be against the bloodless principle. 

Remember YAHWEH’s people are NEVER to eat the blood. So, eating the Passover lamb, was not an exception. From the Passover lamb preparations, we see that the throat was to be slit (when an animal was butchered), the blood drained, and then the meat was considered to be free of blood, as required by the statutes, even though it would still be pink flesh. 

According to Exodus 12:6-10, the Passover Lamb was roasted whole. They could not boil it (so there was no way to make the whole creature’s flesh turn fully white from having zero blood). The head, legs and insides were kept intact. This type of preparation clearly indicates that removing the blood by merely taking out whatever blood came out from the slit throat was sufficient to comply with this Statute.

Deuteronomy 12:23-25 “Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water. Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.”  (See also Leviticus 7:26-27)

STATUTES #394-397:

(#394) YAHWEH’s people are never to eat the fat from any creature. 

(#395) Clean animal’s fat may be used for other uses, however. 

(#396) We are also not to eat of an animal’s marrow (this meaning is included in the meaning of “fat.” 

(#397) In a figurative sense, this statute also applies to offerings given to YAHWEH. Certainly we no longer give YAHWEH animal sacrifices, but we do give Him offerings. 

The figurative meaning of not eating the fat from the offerings is not keeping the best for ourselves. We are to give what is best to YAHWEH. (Judgment) Whoever eats the fat or marrow of animals will be cut off from the Abrahamic Covenant and no longer an heir of the Promise.

Leviticus 7:23-25 “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat. And the fat of the beast that dieth of itself, and the fat of that which is torn with beasts, may be used in any other use: but ye shall in no wise eat of it. For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from His people.”  

STATUTES #398-405:

This statute set is written specifically about an ox, but it applies to any animal in our care. For example, if a dog bites or harms someone, the principles of this statute apply to the dog and its owner. 

(#398) YAHWEH’s people are responsible to not own vicious animals. If an ox (or other animal in our care) harms a person, the ox must be killed. 

(#399) Even if the killed animal is normally a clean animal (like an ox), and even if it is correctly butchered, if the animal is killed because it harmed a person, its flesh is not to be eaten. 

(#400) If the harm to the person is a one-time event and the owner of the animal had no warning that his creature could harm someone, the owner of the animal is free of guilt in Heaven’s Eyes, when the offending animal is justly slain. 

(#401) However, if YAHWEH’s people have an animal that has demonstrated aggressive tendencies in the past and we know this and do not take pains to prevent the animal from escaping and harming someone, then if our animal kills a person, it is counted by YAHWEH as if WE committed the murder ourselves. 

(#402) If an animal pushes someone’s child or employee (first time offense), but the person isn’t slain, the animal’s owner is to kill the animal and pay any and all medical bills and damages according to a just judgment. 

(#403) If we have an open pit on our land (which we should have taken pains to cover), and a neighbor’s animal falls into the pit and dies, we are to pay the owner for the value of the lost animal. The animal’s body then belongs to the landowner with the pit. 

(#404) If one person’s animal kills another person’s animal, the owner of the offending animal is to pay half the value of the slain animal. 

(#405) However, if one person’s animal kills another person’s animal, and the owner of the offending animal knew it had aggressive tendencies from the past, the offending animal’s owner is to pay 100% of the costs to purchase a new animal to the neighbor whose animal was killed.

Exodus 21:28-36 “If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit. But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.  If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him. Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him. If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein; The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his. And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it; and the dead [ox] also they shall divide. Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath not kept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own. 

WEEK OF April 29-May 5, 2018

Torah Reading for the week: 

Statute Studies for the week: 

Daily Bible Reading - April 29, 2018

Today's Reading:

Acts 13:1-25

Joshua 17-19

Job 29

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today I will focus on the first part of Job 29. In this passage, Job laments the loss of God's blessings and "smile" upon his life. I can think of no position more miserable than this! To some degree, and not for the same reason as Job, I have been there - in that terrible place of shadows, having lost the sunshine of God's smile upon my life. It is a place I hope never to be again - at least never again because I have caused it. If I must go there again, may it be for testing and for the glory of God, as was the case with Job. In my case, I was in this miserable state because of sin.

What about you? Have you ever been in that dark place, bereft of peace and having lost the blessing of the Almighty upon your life?

I'd like to share with you an excerpt from chapter 10 in my new book Escaping from the Dragon's Jaws. May this serve as an encouragement to each of us, that we will not ever lose the blessing of God, by our own choice to leave our "first love".

Have you ever considered the value of God’s Smile on your life? Just what is it worth to you to know that the King of the Universe is looking upon you, viewing your choices, and is pleased with what He sees? Is it worth the cost of losing an ungodly friendship or a compromising job to keep your Heavenly Father’s Smile?

From my earliest childhood memories, nothing meant more to me than knowing that when God looked at me—a little speck of dust in His vast Creation—that He was blessed by my life, if even in a small way. Have you ever thought about it? People can actually bless GOD! David understood this beautiful concept when he wrote the one hundred and third Psalm (Psalm 103:1 and see 2 Chronicles 16:9).

“…Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy Name," Psalm 103:1

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him…” 2 Chronicles 16:9
God is loving and all powerful. It gives Him great joy to bless us. But I think it must give Him even greater delight, when He finds that we desire to also bless Him. And blessing Him had been my lifelong desire.

Now don’t misunderstand, or get me wrong here. I am not even remotely implying that I think I was perfect in the sense of being sinless! The Bible tells us that every man, woman and child has sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). I am no exception!

But the concept of having a perfect heart isn’t about being perfectly obedient and without sin. David was a man after God’s Own Heart (Acts 13:22), yet he had traumatic moments of weakness, demonstrated in his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and in his murder of her husband, Uriah.

Having a “perfect heart” and being a person after God’s Own Heart is really about having “eyes” only for Him. It’s kind of like it says in the lyrics of the old love song, I Only Have Eyes for You:

I don’t know if we’re in a garden,
Or on a crowded avenue.
You are here, so am I.
Maybe millions of people go by.
But they all disappear from view.
(For) I only have eyes for you.

When you love someone, it is only natural to want to do things which please them. You go out of your way to do those things. Bringing a smile to the face of your loved one is a tremendous delight. You rejoice at every opportunity to bless them! That is how it always was for me with God.

I can remember, as a child, lying on the bank of our nearby

river, where my collie and I would spend the late afternoons catching polliwogs, playing in the cool water, and chasing dragonflies. In those moments of rest and contemplation, I would look up into the sky and talk to God. He was real! He was my Father, my Friend, my Everything. And I eagerly looked forward to the Day, when I would see Him Face to face. Because I loved Him so much, I was conscious of what pleased Him. There are many things I didn’t know about how to please Him best, of course. But I kept learning and whatever I knew would bring a Smile to His Face, that is what I wanted to do!

Not that I knew it as a child, but I later discovered that living with “eyes” for God, so that it is our highest joy to bless Him, if even in some small way, always brings His greatest blessings upon us as well. Conversely, when we do not love Him and choose to rebel against His loving Will in our lives, we open ourselves up to curses (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

Because my heart was turned Heavenward in love and adoration for my King, from the time I was a small child, God has blessed me. In every way that matters most, I was abundantly blessed! I have always had a family who loved me, a warm and cozy place to call home, plenty of good food, and have enjoyed the fulfillment of many of my deepest wishes and desires.

Over the years, many people have looked upon my life, viewed the tremendous blessings in it, and have somewhat enviously commented on my “charmed” existence. To such comments, I was always quick to reply that there was nothing mystical or magical about these favors, rather it was the blessing of my wonderful God, that these folks were observing.

God’s blessings flowed over me throughout my entire life-time, so endlessly present, that I could not imagine my life without them. And I never had to—until I lost my First Love for God, took my “eyes” off of Him (Revelation 2:4-5). Unconsciously I had given part of the place He had held in my heart to Adrianne. Then, for the first time in my life, I no longer walked in the sunshine of God’s Smile. I nearly lost my soul in the shadows of despair and curses.

In the Marriage Covenant, there is the rule of fidelity. If one or both spouses break this largely unspoken law by “stepping out” with another, the Covenant is broken. In the same way, when we rebel against the things God lovingly asks of us, which show what it looks like to live in love for Him, we have “stepped out” on God (John 14:151 John 5:2-3).

Like me, the Children of Israel had left their First Love. They had turned away from “only having eyes” for the One, true God, to “having eyes” for idols—ultimately Satan. In so doing, they departed from their sacred Covenant relationship with God and had the spiritual equivalent of an adulterous affair.

How did this happen? Long ago, the Children of Israel were camped at the base of Mount Sinai. They had been brought to that Mountain for a Divine Appointment. They were privileged to meet God! But they didn’t love God like Moses did. For him the Day with God was wonderful! For them, the Presence of the Almighty, on that trembling Mountain, was terrifying. God wasn’t even finished speaking His loving Rules before they rushed to Moses and begged him to make it stop!

“Please, Moses, You go talk to God! We’ll listen to His Law when you give it to us. But we are too terrified to continue to listen to Him directly.”

So began a saga of solo journeys in which Moses alone went into the Mountain peaks to meet with the Almighty. On one of those dates with God, Moses was gone for quite some time. Days passed and the people became more and more restless.
Finally, their agitation reached the boiling point; and the people actually constructed a golden calf and began worshiping it, all in the Name of Yahweh (the Name of the Almighty in Hebrew)!

Having just received the two Tables of Stone, bearing the Ten Commandments, Moses came down from the Mountain and was horrified to find the people debasing themselves in idolatry! They had taken their “eyes” off the Most High and were no longer delighting to lovingly please Him.

The results of this terrible choice were a series of devastating curses, which fell upon the Children of Israel. But in my opinion, the absolute worst of these was the loss of God’s abiding Presence in their midst. Like a faithful husband who has been betrayed, God moved out! The Sanctuary Temple, where dwelt God’s Shekinah Glory (the bright, fiery Light which rested upon the Ark of the Covenant in the
Most Holy Place of the Sanctuary) was taken from its customary location in the middle of the Camp, to a new site several miles away. God wanted them to know that He was no longer in their midst. This was the most terrible price they had to pay for allowing their hearts to stray from their First Love!

So today, as you worship God and strive to serve Him faithfully, may it be that you keep Him as your first love. May He hold first place in your heart. May it be that each of us will not only enjoy His blessings upon us, but may we also be empowered by Him to bless God this day. As we live in this way, we will walk in the sunshine of His Smile.