And now you know what is restraining, so that he may be revealed in his own time.
Luke 23; 44 It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole Land until three o’clock in the afternoon; 45 the sun did not shine. Also the paroket [veil] in the Temple was split down the middle. 46 Crying out in a loud voice, Yeshua said, “Father! Into Your hands I commit my spirit.” And with these words he gave up his spirit. 47 When the Roman officer saw what had happened, he began to praise God and said,” Surely this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beatings their breasts.*Is there a veil, a covering, that keeps a person from seeing things the way they really are? Is this veil controlled by us and can it be removed by our own initiative? Or Is the veil divinely instituted to serve a purpose? Is it protection and shield or an obstacle blinding us to salvation? Is the veil over our eyes separating us from the way we need to walk to enter the holy of holies of God’s righteous work from the conception of the universe? Or is the veil over our hearts masking the true identification of the eternal arsenal God has bestowed upon us for the battle ahead…for our forefathers and for us, for our children and for all generations. Is there a veil of separation between members of God’s army? Those who trust in Him, believe in Him and will “fight” with zealousy endowed with the unbreachable strength of the freedom from the bondage of sin Yeshua paid for with his own blood and those who have protected, safeguarded, and been vigilantly faithful to the word of God and remembered the covenant promises… passing them down to their children’s children so that we all may have them to this day….paying with their blood for generations for the fact that they embrace with love and devotion the title of God’s Chosen People.
What keeps one person from seeing something another person knows with their entire being to be true, and can even offer “proofs” to attest to it‘s validity?
What keeps one person from recognizing the great good or great corruption that exists within another person, or situation?Exodus 42;7 Joseph saw his brothers and he recognized them, but he acted like a stranger towed them and spoke with them harshly. He asked them, “From where do you come?” And they said,” From the land of Canaan to buy food.” 8 Joseph recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him.
Exodus 45;2 He cried in a loud voice. Egypt heard, and Pharaoh’s household heard. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” but his brothers could not answer him because they were left disconcerted before him. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me, if you please,” and they came close. And he said, “I am Joseph your brother- it is me whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now, be not distressed, nor reproach yourselves for having sold me here, for it was to be a provider that God sent me ahead of you.
7Thus God has sent me ahead of you to insure your survival in the land and to sustain you for a momentous deliverance. 8 And now: It was not you who sent me here, but God;
That same day, two of them were going toward a village about seven miles from Yerushaliym called Amma’us, and they were talking with each other about all the things that happened. As they attacked and discussed, Yeshua came up and walked along with them, but something kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you talking about with each other as you walk along?” They stopped short, their faces downcast, and one of them named Cleopas answered him, “Are you the only person staying in Yerushalyim who doesn’t know the things that have been going on there in the last few days?” “What things?” he asked them. They said to him, “The things about Yeshua, from Natzeret. He was a prophet and proved it by all the things he did and said before God and all the people. Our head cohanim and our leaders handed him over, so that he could be sentenced to death and executed on a stake as a criminal. And we had hoped that he would be the one to liberate Isra’el! Besides all that, today is the third day since these things happened; and this morning, some of the women astounded us. They were at the tomb early and couldn’t find his body, so they came back; but they also reported that they had seen a vision of angels who say he is alive! Some of our friends went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.” He said to them, “Foolish people! So unwilling to put your trust in everything the prophets spoke! Didn’t the Messiah have to die like this before entering his glory?” Then starting with Moshe and all the prophets, he explained to them the things that can be found in the Tanakh concerning himself. They approached the village where they were going. He made as if he were going on farther; but they held him back, saying, “stay with us, for it is almost evening, and it’s getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them. As he was reclining with them at the table, he took the matzah, and made a b‘rakhah, broke it and handed it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But he became invisible to them. They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn inside us as he spoke to us on the road, opening up the Tanakh to us?”
*Lets look at some ideas and themes as we read through scripture. Light- illumination- sight- seeing; day. Darkness-hiding-covering-fear; night.
Questioning- there are times when we should investigate, times we need to ask questions. With this in mind lets look at questions that come from God, and angel or divine voice…to Whom the answer is already known, and think about the purpose of these questions as well as the answers we might find.
Vision, seeing, looking, recognizing, identity….
Zechariah 12; 8 On that day HASHEM will protect the inhabitant of Jerusalem; on that day even the weakest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like divine beings, like an angel of HASHEM before them. 9 It shall be on that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come upon Jerusalem. 10 I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitant of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplications. They will look toward Me because of those whom they have stabbed; they will mourn over him as one mourns over an only [child], and be embittered over him like the embitterment over a [deceased] first born.
*There are times when we all “miss something”, and often there is bitter regret. God does not abandon us nor does He fail to await our repentance. Beating our breast, as we do when we pray…”Forgive us our Father for we have erred, pardon us our King for we have willfully sinned. Blessed are You YAHWEH for You pardon and forgive.
Then the Lord uncovered Balaam’s eyes and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his drawn sword in his hand. He bowed and fell on his face.
Numbers 24;16 He took up his parable and said: “The saying of Balaam son of Beor, the saying of the man who sees perfectly. The saying of him who hears the word from before God and knows the knowledge from before the Most High, who sees the vision from before the almighty, when he is lying down it is revealed to him. 17 I see him, but not now; I behold him, but he is not near; when a king will arise from Jacob, and an anointed one will be anointed from Israel, then he will kill the princes of Moab and rule over all mankind.
Numbers 24;16 [the man with the open eye.] 17 “ I shall see him, but not now, I shall look at him, but it is not near. A star has issued from Jacob and a scepter-bearer has risen from Israel, and he shall pierce the nobles of Moab and undermine the children of Seth.
*God uses the most unlikely of “vessels” by which He pours forth one of the most beautiful blessings upon the people of Israel, one that is still proclaimed each and every day. Balaam was even granted a vision of Messiah, and his eyes were opened. God made you, He gave you talents and tools that He fashioned carefully for you to use to serve Him. He will use your life for his purpose, and everything that happens He will use to accomplish His just designs. He will transform curses into great blessing, death into life!
Daniel 7;13 I was watching in night visions and behold! With the clouds of heaven, one like a man came; he came up to the One of Ancient Days, and they brought him before Him. He was given dominion, honor and kingship, so that all peoples, nations and languages would serve him; his dominion would be an everlasting dominion that would never pass, and his kingship would never be destroyed.
Isaiah 11;1 A staff will emerge from the stump of Jesse and a shoot will sprout from its roots. 2 The spirit of HASHEM will rest upon him- a sprit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of council and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of HASHEM. 3 He will imbued with the spirit of fear for HASHEM; and he will not need to judge by what his eyes see nor decide by what his ears hear.
2 Thess. 2;9-10 When this man who avoids Torah comes, the Adversary will give him the power to work all kinds of false miracles, signs and wonders. He will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.
Genesis 3;4-11 The serpent said to the woman, “You will surely not die; for God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad.” And the woman perceived that the tree was good for eating and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable as a means to wisdom, and she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized they were naked; and they sewed together a fig leaf and made themselves aprons. They heard the sound of HASHEM God manifesting Itself in the garden toward evening; and the man and his wife hid from HASHEM God among the trees of the garden. HASHEM God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “ I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I am naked, so I hid.”
*God fashioned man in wisdom and created us wondrously. The way our bodies work is no accident, it is a miracle of organs and vessels woven and crafted by an All Knowing, Supremely Magnificent, Master Craftsman. He is Love and Light and His Nature intended for us to delight in all things with Him. He created us with five senses. The two most prominent “extensions”, our eyes and our mouths. Without sight it is extremely difficult to maneuver in life and to experience things at their “fullest”. With our mouths we do not simply ingest nourishment, we taste…feeling texture, experiencing flavor and temperature. Without this divine gift of taste one of the biggest joy’s of life would be missed. At the same time, by our eyes we can be infected. Through lack of “sight” we can loose track of reality, loose “vision” and become unaware of our heading, and worst of all, fall into the deep pit where we can no longer “find” a place God in our life.(heaven forbid!) In the mouth lies the tongue. The tongue is the greatest tool for good or weapon of evil. By our words we can build or utterly destroy. Destroy a reputation, destroy a hope, destroy a spirit or worst of all while representing God with our mouth diminish His eternal authority and supremacy in the eyes of others through the way we speak, and what we choose to say or talk about…..it is what is meant by “taking the Lord’s Name in vain”= Lashan Harra= the evil tongue. The deceiver uses any tool possible to turn what is to be Holy and set apart and change it into something profane. This is what happens to Hava- Eve. In her sight, the fruit seems good. Then she begins to reason with her mind to sin. Next she physically takes part in the sin and finally invites Adam to sin with her. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened”, weren’t they already able to see, using their eyes to judge what seemed correct? This opening of the eyes is a realization that there is far more going on than you ever could have imagined or perceived, that God is in control and that what He has said is what we should follow and use as our only sense of reason, and decision. In the garden there was no need to cover or conceal their bodies for there was no sin, shame. God already knew where they were, and God was aware how they had discovered their nakedness. We will read many many places where the Kind and Loving Father we have, attempts to engage His creations in order to a)not frighten them b)to prompt thought and contemplation c)to allow for repentance and honesty and d)to come to us on a level we can relate to and be responsive to.
Genesis 4;9 HASHEM said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?
God had already warned Cayin about sin being ready to attack, just waiting at the door…yet encouraging him that he is capable of defeating it! God knows where Abel is, He wishes for all of us to deal and respond in honesty and repentance-T’shuva, that He be given the chance to forgive. Which he continually does and will never fail to do for you.
Mattityahu 18;21-22 Then Kefa came up and said to him, “Lord, how often can my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? As many as seven times? “No, not seven times,” answered Yeshua, “but seventy times seven!”
Luke 17;1-6 Yeshua said to his talmidim, “It is impossible that snares will not be set. But woe to the person who sets them! It would be to his advantage that he have a millstone hung around his neck and he be thrown into the sea, rather than that he ensnare one of these little ones. Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Also, if seven times in one day he sins against you, and seven times he comes to you and says, “I repent,” you are to forgive him.”
Genesis 12;11-13 And it occurred, as he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “See now, I have known that you are a woman of beautiful appearance. And it shall occur, when the Egyptians will see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife!’; then they will kill me, but you they will let live. Please say that you are my sister, that it may go well with me for your sake, and the I may live on account of you.”
*The first thing that Abraham meets as he leaves his homeland and family to follow and obey God is a famine which brings him to Egypt. The very next thing, the abduction of his wife Sarah. Using unspecific language he identifies her as his sister.
Genesis 20;2 Abraham said of Sarah his wife “She is my sister”; so Abimelech King of Gerar,sent, and took Sarah. 3 And God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold you are to die because of the woman you have taken; moreover she is a married woman.”
Genesis 26;6-7 So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister”- for he was afraid to say “my wife”- “Lest the men of the place kill me because of Rebecca for she is fair to look upon!”
*The experiences Isaac’s father Abraham had in a place with no moral code was reason enough for him to be wary. He knew there was no honor for such people and so he had concern for his safety. Why couldn’t he just trust in God? He knew God had protected his father and mother in the end after Sarah’s abduction’s in Egypt and Gerar, where’s the faith? Do we take into account Isaac’s past? This is a man who felt deeply. He was deeply moved by his circumstances and he has already experienced extraordinary things in his lifetime. A huge family drama with Haggar and Ishmael, not to be taken lightly as strife exists today between Israel (Abraham’s seed with whom God made covenant) and the line of Ishmael to whom there is little dispute whether or not Israel should even draw breath, much less inherit the Land God chose to give them and their generations. Surely he thought often about the future and chance of problems with his half-brother, we have some proof there was a thought process behind the scenes, private between he and God because we see God reassuring him repeatedly. Then there is the Akeidah. We know that he was faithful and as Abraham and he walked on together to the altar where he was to be offered to HASHEM, he could have escaped and easily overpowered his elderly father, he went willingly and trusted God…but this is traumatic and must have had an effect on him. It is to his merit that he is continually able to honor his father and His God after such an experience. It is said that Sarah dies shortly after the binding of Isaac for it is too much for her to bear, emotionally, physically (we all know emotions can drain our bodies as well). So he has lost his dear mother and next his father. Aside from his faith the one thing he has left is Rivka and now there is a risk of her being stolen and defiled (heaven forbid); the mother of the Children of Israel…unthinkable. And so he conceals her identity. Do we judge a person’s reactions and actions without knowing a) who they are as a person b) where they have been in their life c) what they have experienced along the way d) what future God might have for them….could we get to know people a little better before questioning faith or a lack there of? When you consider how often you have gone through changes due to your experiences maybe you might reconsider having written a person off. What healing can you uncover as you remember where you have been along the way yet move forward with forgiveness, finding peace with the experiences that have shaped you and trust that God will be there to protect you?
Genesis 24; 63-67 Isaac went out to supplicate in the field toward evening and he raised his eyes and saw, and behold! Camels were coming. And Rebecca raised her eyes and saw Isaac; she inclined while upon the camel. And she said to the servant, “Who is the man walking in the field toward us?“ And the servant said, “He is my master.” She then took the veil and covered herself. The servant told Isaac all the things he had done. And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother; he married Rebecca, she became his wife, and he loved her; thus was Isaac consoled after his mother.
*Their eyes meet; Isaac still mourning the death of his mother must be anxious and curious as he sees the caravan in the distance. Rebecca, must be nervous and excited for this new chapter of her life to begin…trusting that God will make her dreams come true in her the husband He found for her…she lifts her eyes and sees him. She covers herself with a veil, presenting her modesty and identity as his bride. She will become the matriarch to the Children of Israel and Isaac will love her and find comfort.
Genesis 38;13-15 And Tamar was told, as follows, “Behold your father-in-law is coming up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” So she removed her widow’s garb from upon her, covered herself with a veil , and wrapped herself up; she then sat by the crossroads which is on the road toward Timnah, for she saw that Shelah had frown, and she had not been given to him as a wife. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot since she had covered her face.
38;18-19 And he said, “what shall I pledge to give you?” She replied, “Your signet, your wrap, and you r staff that is in your hand.” And he gave them to her, and she conceived by him. Then she arose, left, and removed her veil from upon her, and she put on her widow’s garb.
*Another veil, yet this one is being used to receive and manipulate. Tamar covers her identity and is deceptive. She in turn required of Judah that which signify’s his identity as collateral. Judah did not keep his word to give her as a wife to his son, and he goes off his path to pursue his flesh. Tamar nearly looses her life because of her deception and dishonor yet is saved by the cover of the status of Judah she displayed his identity as the father of her child. If our identity includes God as our banner, as sign upon our lives…when we wear Him as our shield and support we should be careful to remember we are traveling as His light unto others. Let us be sure never to exchange His “cloak” for anything, nor to present ourselves in any way that would dishonor Him. If you can try and go out into the world as though “I belong to the Lord” is stamped across your forehead, perhaps with this imagery in mind we might think before speaking, or acting in any other identity than faithful and set apart servant of God.
Exodus 34;29 When Moses descended from Mount Siani-with the two Tablets of the Testimony in the hand of Moses as he descended from the mountain- Moses did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant when He has spoken to him. 30 Aaron and the Children of Israel saw Moses, and behold! -the skin of his face had become radiant; and they feared to approach him.
33Moses finished speaking with them and placed a mask on his face. 34 When Moses would come before HASHEM to speak with Him, he would remove the mask until his departure; then he would leave and tell the Children of Israel whatever he had been commanded.35 When the Children of Israel saw Moses’ face, that Moses’ face had become radiant, Moses put the mask back on his face, until he came to speak with Him.
*Moses recognizes that some thing about this radiance is just too much for the people. It is distracting from the message and so he veils his face. The truth speaks for itself for those with the hearts to hear it. If you are trying to deliver a message and it seems futile to you, do not quit…just consider a different approach. Consider the ground in which you are planting seed. How long has it been tended to, what has it been fed and for how long? It may not be able to produce seed, it may reject the fertilizer you are using and become coarse and dry. Shut tight like the desert without rain. Continue to do the work, keeping yourself in the word…the living water and try, try again. Drown the cracks and channels of a thirst the ground itself can not define…with humility love, love, perseverance and more love.
Before the King, there is no use for a mask. He see’s exactly who you are at your core, He knows your thoughts and knows your desires. He realizes your intentions and there is no veil thick enough to hide behind with Him. Nor does he require one. There is healthy “separation” as far as awe, healthy fear, reverence, respect…in the way that you should appropriately answer his appointed times and treat Him like the King on the loftiest Heavenly Throne of Glory. But you are also his baby, this what is so special to realize when we pray the Aaronic blessing- May HASHEM bless you and safeguard you, may He illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you, may He lift His countenance toward you and give you peace. May He, on high, “lift” His face, His light, up to us-when we are lower than he? How does this work? You are his precious, treasured child… He lifts you up to smile upon you and bless you. Like a daddy kneeling to allow his toddler to swing his arms around his neck, to greet him, lifting him up to show him love.
Genesis 29;20-25 So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him a few days because of his love for her. Jacob said to Laban, “Deliver my wife for my term is fulfilled, and I will consort with her.” So Laban gathered al the people of the place and made a feast. And it was in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter and brought her to him; and he consorted with her. –And Laban gave her Zilpah his maidservant–a maidservant to Leah his daughter. And it was, in the morning, that behold it was Leah! So he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I worked for you? Why have you deceived me?”
* The hard work and abuse that Laban dealt Jacob “Seemed” like moments to him because of his love for Rachel. This devotion is a wonderful lesson for a tool in spiritual warfare. The adversary-evil inclination finds it utterly rewarding when in the chapters of challenge and hardship in our lives where we are actually having to “put the work in “…we complain, groan, become downhearted, dim spirited. It is easy to rejoice, to give thanks and praise in life when we are being blessed. If we can attempt to use praise and thanksgiving in hardship, remembering that from all directions…what comes to us/at us is from God and that He intends for the very best for us, only in the flame can metal become hot enough to form and shape.
(side note: the six directions-North South East West, Heavenward and Earthward. These are the directions the Kohen Gadol-High Priest “waves” the wave offerings to the Lord and is remembered during Sukkot as we wave the four species. In addition these six directions connect with the six points on the Star of David and declare He rules and orders everything as He wills.)
Genesis 37;3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons since he was a child of his old age, and he made him a fine woolen tunic.4 His brothers saw that it was he whom their father loves most of all his brothers so they hated him; and they could not speak to him peaceably. 5 Joseph dreamt a dream which he told to his brothers, and they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Hear, if you please, this dream which I dreamt: 7 Behold!- we were binding sheaves in the middle of the field, when, behold!- my sheaf arose and also remained standing: then behold!- your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Would you then reign over us? Would you then dominate us?” And they hated him even more-because of his dreams and because of his talk.
* I see error in all parties involved here. If we separate the parties in this way: Israel, Jacob and the brothers (though we know that Reuben had intentions to save Jacob and return him to their father.) The first thing is “playing favorites”, this is hurtful and Israel (Jacob) should have seen that his favoritism could cause jealousy and dissention among his children. Then again, to be fair…Rachel was the only bride Israel had intended to marry, and Joseph was a miraculous son of Jacob’s old age. Born of Rachel from a womb that had been closed. He is special and God has set him apart from the others. Next thing, haughtiness. A dream such as Joseph had puts him in a far from lowly role and he shares it with a sort of brazenness with his brothers. With the perspective that he must have realized already to some degree their jealousy of him he may have chosen to keep this dream to himself. Or share it with a more appropriate audience. Also note that the text says “because of his talk “they hate Nothing can light the fire of hate not can anything be a bigger fan of that ignited flame than the evil tongue, which can be gossip, idle talk, chatter…in this case haughty speech. As a general rule, if you can not say something that will benefit your listener or even a person within earshot, it’s best to remain silent. Now examine the brothers, they allow the seed of what they saw with their eyes infect their entire decision making process, they allow covetousness to enter which leads to jealousy and continues on until they are willing to murder their own flesh and blood. This is it is known that the commandments or ten words are given in an order in which we learn the lesson that one follows the other…(ex.1-I am the Lord= there is One God and you recognize He and He alone rules your life goes to 2-You shall have no other god besides me=do not engage in idolatry which can be in many forms. If you are capable of engaging in idolatry or putting anything before your devotion to and service of God, you aren’t keeping #1…you have belittled Him and He is not first for you.) It is a slippery slope and breaking one commandment, not living up to one commitment can easily lead to breaking another/ loosing your commitment all together.
37;15 A man discovered him, and behold! –he was blundering in the field; the man asked him. Saying. “What do you seek?” 16 And he said, “My brothers do I seek: tell me, please, where they are pasturing.”
[The brothers conspire to kill Joseph]
37;25 They sat down to eat food ; they raised their eyes and behold!- a caravan of Ishmaelite was coming from Gilead, their camels bearing spices, balsam, and lotus-on their way to bring them down to Egypt.
[Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery]
37;31 They took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a goatling, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 They dispatched the fine woolen tunic and they brought it to their father and said, “We found this; identify, if you please: Is it your son’s tunic or not?” 33 He recognized it and he said, “My son’s tunic! A savage beast devoured him! Joseph has surely been torn to bits!”
*This man is not a man, but an angel. As an emissary for the divine we can assume that though there is a question posed it is not because the angel did not know whom Joseph sought, perhaps rather to help him to focus his attention and warn him to wake up, for truly there was great struggle ahead that he did not see coming. The brothers raise their eyes and the caravan that will be the tool which saves Joseph from their plan to kill him, and that will carry him into the next stop on his journey where he will find himself in the leading role in God’s plan that will save the lives of many many people. The brothers use the item of clothing that identified Jacob’s favor feeding their jealousy to deceive their father (years ago Rebecca and Jacob himself used Esau’s garments to conceal a truth) . Without asking for an explanation Israel assumes what must have occurred and without question he proceeds to despair and ends up mourning inconsolably. Do we ever jump to a conclusion without investigation? Do we ever take a person’s council and allow it to replace our own efforts to uncover truth based upon the status this person holds to your heart? Is it possible you may have missed something or been deceived, accidentally or God forbid intentionally? If so, do not despair, keep your wits about you and know that the more you dig for truth the more God will reveal to you. I implore you to be aware of all the armor God has provided from creation, and do not allow the adversary to strip you of it! Be strong, Chazak!
1 Corinthians 10;11-13 These things happened as prefigurative historical events, and they were written down as a warning to us who are living in the acharit-hayamim [end of days]. Therefore, let anyone who thinks he is standing up be careful not to fall! No temptation has sieved you beyond what people normally experience, and God can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure.
Esther 2;7-10 And he had reared Hadassah, she is Esther, his uncle’s daughter; for she had neither father nor mother. The maiden was finely featured and beautiful of appearance, and when her father and mother died, Mordechai adopted her as his daughter. So it came to pass, when the king’s bidding and decree were announced, and when many young maidens were brought together to Shushan the capital, under the charge of Hegai, guardian of the women. The girl was pleasing in his eyes, and she found favor before him; he hurriedly prepared her cosmetics and her allowance of delicacies to presents [to] her, along with the seven attendants from the king’s palace, and he transferred her maidens to the best [quarters] in the harem. Esther had not told of her people or her kindred, for Mordechai had instructed her not to tell.
20 Esther still told nothing of her kindred or her people as Mordechai had instructed her; for Esther continued to obey Mordechai just as when she was reared by him.
Ch3;13 Letters were sent by courier to all the provinces of the king to destroy, to slay and to exterminate all the Jews, from young to old, children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.
Ch4;16 “Go, assemble all the Jews that are to be found in Shushan, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day; and I , with my maids, will fast also. Thus I will come to the king though it is unlawful; and if I perish, I perish.”
Ch5;1-2 Now it came to pass on the third day, Esther donned royalty and stood in the inner courtyard……
When the king noticed Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, she found favor in his eyes.
Ch 8;6 For how can I bear to witness the disaster which will befall my people?! How can I bear to witness the extermination of my kindred?!
8;16 The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. And in every province and, and in every city, every place where the king’s word and his decree reached, the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a holiday.
*During the time of Hadassah (Esther), the Babylonian exile, the Jews feared that God had rejected them. In this time, God was concealed. Unlike the movies whom turn this account into a fairy tale romance, the young women are taken with force, torn from their homes, families and culture and thrown into a world where they are dominated as slaves, abused, having their purity stolen and true identities lost and covered in the godlessness of the palace. Esther is protected by God, retaining her faith having been put in this position for His divine plan. Through Mordechi’s faithful service to God and his people he tirelessly works to convince them that God has not abandoned them and they should repent. Haman’s anti-Semitism and the threat of Jewish extermination finds Esther who has become queen, in a position where she is able to offer her life in order to stop evil. Who are you at home with your family? Do you remain that person at your workplace? Is this the same person you are at church? Amongst old friends? Who are you, what is your identity as you stand before the King? A humble servant, more than willing to give everything you have been granted to His service, willing to give your life for your brother. In whatever degree you walk, and stand before the creator…this is the identity we should strive to keep hold of wherever we go.
Genesis 15;1 After these events, the word of HASHEM came to Abraham in a vision, saying, “Fear not, Abraham, I am a shield for you; your reward is very great.”
12 And it happened, as the sun was about to set, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold- a dread! Great darkness fell upon him.
John 8;56 Avraham, your father , was glad that he would see my day; then he saw it and was overjoyed.”
*Just before the Covenant of the Pieces between God and Abraham, our Gracious and Just King casts a deep sleep upon Abraham…in order to reveal to him what will happen to his descendants in the future. The dread and the darkness: Years of slavery and torment in Egypt, sin and retribution in the wilderness, repeated exile, unthinkable atrocities of the Holocaust, etc. But even so God reassures him with the greatness of the People, Eretz Yisrael and above all…Mashiac, Messiah Yeshua. The brightest light for he and his people, he see’s his coming and return to restore his people.
Genesis 26;23- 24 Isaac went up from there to Beer-sheba. HASHEM appeared to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; Fear not, for I am with you; I will bless you and increase your offspring because of Abraham my servant.”
Daniel 10;11 He said to me, “Daniel, greatly beloved man, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand in your place, for I have been sent to you now.” As he spoke these words to me, I stood atremble.
18 The he-the likeness of human being- touched me again and strengthened me. 19 He said, “Fear not, greatly loved man. Peace to you! Grow stronger and stronger!” As he spoke to me I strengthened myself, and I said, “Speak, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”
*O to think that the Lord smiles when he see us being obedient to him, O to picture our King being proud of His children as we defeat a temptation, O how I long to be called beloved by my Father. When we tremble and feel weak He is the strength who will fortify us if we pursue His purpose, search and wait for Him to speak to you in the word. Tirelessly He takes up all the grievances of the world, so too tirelessly we should be exploring what His purpose is for your life and for His Kingdom.
Genesis 32;25-32 Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. When he perceived that he could not overtake him, he struck the socket of his hip; so Jacob’s hip-socket was dislocated as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for dawn has broken.” And he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” He said to him, “What is your name?” He replied “Jacob.” He said “No longer will it be said that your name is Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with the Divine and with man and have overcome.” Then Jacob inquired, and he said, “Divulge, if you please, your name.” And he said, “Why then do you inquire of my name?” And he blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel- “For I have seen the Divine face to face, yet my life was spared.” The sun rose for him as he passed Penuel and he was limping on his hip.
John 14;8-10 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it will be enough for us.” Yeshua replied to him, “Have I been with you so long without your knowing me, Phillip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the father’? Don’t you believe that I am united with the Father, and the Father united with me? What I am telling you, I am not saying on my own initiative; the Father living in me is doing His own works.
* Jacob is running away, he is avoiding the challenge of facing Esau. This means dealing with the deception he involved himself in when he lied to his father and pretended he was someone else. God blessed him then and now He sends an angel to stop him from going forward to his destiny….something he could only do by embracing the truth of his past and dealing with the trail that lie ahead of him. His destiny is defined as God changes his name from Jacob-heel, supplanter, he who follows to Israel-Yisrael means “He has striven with God,” or “He has been saved by God and Jacob is the father of the twelve tribes. When Jacobs asks the name of the angel he responds as if “why are you asking this when you already know?”(my thought). If this angel is special, the Memra, the Word or Wisdom, Yeshua…it explains why Jacob says he has “seen” the “divine, face to face”. I couldn’t help but think about Yeshua’s response to Phillip in the book of John. Again we see that the sun rose upon Jacob, illumination…here he conquered years of running, hiding from his past. He receives God’s blessing and takes up his destiny as the father of The Children of Israel…and he is able to see what he has to do next. And he continues forward on his journey with the light upon him.
Genesis 19;17 And it was as they took them out that one said: “Flee for your life! Do not look behind you not stop anywhere in all the plain; flee to the mountain lest you be swept away.”
23-35 The sun rose upon the earth and Lot arrived at Zoar. Now HASHEM has caused sulfur and fire to rain upon Sodom and Gomorrah, from HASHEM, out of heaven. He overturned these cities and the entire plain, with all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation of the soil. His wife peered behind him and she became a pillar of salt.
*The angels were moved to physically drag Lot and his daughters (and wife) from the city of Sodom. They lingered so long in that sinful place, unheeding the urgency of the impending destruction. Now fleeing they are told not to look back…not to even glance back at the terrible sinfulness of what is to become their past and the move on facing their freedom having been saved by means of Abraham’s intercession on behalf of Lot, whom he was in covenant with. How often to we cling to our past in the world and in our flesh? How often to we glance back rather then completely trusting God’s hand upon us tearing us from it and freeing us from certain destruction there? When Lot’s wife looks behind her, her life ends. There is no more future ahead of her and she wastes her God given chance as she ignores His warnings about what lie behind her. She becomes an eternal part of it, as salt is eternal. Yet, the sun rises, the light shines and Lot and his daughters are saved. This illumination is truly divine planning as we realize how far reaching God’s intention for the very best extends…among the descendants of the daughters of Lot are Ruth, King David, Naamah-queen of Solomon and mother of Rehoboam. God does give us a hand along our way, often He truly does attempt to tear us from our past in order to establish a bright future…let us not linger, nor let us look back.
Genesis 21; 15-19 When the water of the skin was consumed, she cast off the boy beneath one of the trees. She went and sat herself down at a distance, some bowshots away, for she said, “Let me not see the death of the child.” And she sat at a distance, lifted her voice, and wept. God heard the cry of the youth, and an angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heeded the cry of the youth in his present state. Arise, lift up the youth and grasp your hand upon him, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes and she perceived a well of water; she went and filled the skin with water and gave the youth to drink.
*Hagar was consumed with selfishness, instead of tending to her child in his last moments she felt only for herself and her grief. We read that she placed him under a tree and it makes sense when we consider that there WAS water there all along, she was just unable to see it. What she needed to revive herself and to save the life of her son was right there in front of her. She was blinded. Perhaps it was the trauma she had experienced being evicted from her dwelling, perhaps it was the rage and jealousy she felt toward Sarah, perhaps it was her physical needs…her hunger and thirst and heat exhaustion consuming her thoughts and focus. We see God’s mercy as he has compassion for Ishmael and his cries as he neared death and he opens Hagar’s eyes. Often what we truly NEED is right at our fingertips, we just don’t open our eyes. We know that God hears prayers and that He never fails to provide is with our needs, physical and spiritual…if we can put aside what WE think we require and allow Him to become our heart’s desire, He will lift our chin and fill our cup with the water that brings life.
Genesis 22;10-14 Abraham stretched out his hand, and tool the knife to slaughter his son. And an angel of HASHEM called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham! Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” And he said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad nor do anything to him for now I know that you are a God-fearing man, since you have not withheld your son, your only one, from Me.” And Abraham raised his eyes and saw- behold, a ram!- afterwards, caught in the thicket by its horns; so Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as an offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that sire “HASHEM Yireh,” as it is said this day, on the mountain HASHEM will be seen.
*Here we see Abraham, a man faithful to God who trusted in him so completely that he was sure (as was Isaac) that He is God and by him all things were created and came into being. He knew that for the One Who gives life and takes away life, that it would be more than possible for Him to resurrect his son if He so chose. Divine intervention is what stops Isaac from being offered as requested, and when Abraham raises his eyes he see’s the ram that will replace Isaac on the mountain that day. God did provide the ram after all, and it was only “afterwards” that he saw it, perhaps it was there all along…perhaps it appeared after the trial. It was caught by its horns in the thicket, with a crown of thorns Yeshua took his place on the stake as the offering in which all the sins of mankind were transferred. Abraham calls the place God Will Be Seen…for on the day we call, in His timing…He acts, He answers, He shows us the answer and gives us the reward for our complete trust and faith in Him.
Genesis 27; 1 And it came to pass, when Isaac had become old, and his eyes dimmed from seeing, that he summoned Esau, his older son, and said to him, “My son.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 2 And he said, “See, now, I have aged; I know not the day of my death. 3 Now sharpen, if you please, your gear- your sword and your bow- and go out to the field and hunt game for me. 4 Then make delicacies such as I love and bring it to me and I will eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.”
11 Jacob replied to Rebecca, to his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man and I am a smooth-skinned man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me and I shall be as a mocker in his eyes; I will thus bring upon myself a curse rather than a blessing.” 13 But his mother said to him. “Your curse be on me, my son; only heed my voice and go fetch them for me.”
20 Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you were so quick to find my son?” And he said, “Because HASHEM, your God, arranged it for me.”
21 And Isaac said to Jacob, “Come, if you please, so I can feel you, my son; are you, indeed, my son Esau or not?” 22 So Jacob drew close to Isaac his father who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are Esau’s hands.”
23 But he did not recognize him because his hands were the hairy like the hands of Esau his brother; so he blessed him. 24 He said, “You are, indeed, my son Esau!” And he said, “I am.”
* Isaac’s eyes dimmed from seeing. He was blind. Blinded by his love of the “glory” of Esau who spent all his hours hunting and presenting his father with trophies and delicacies. His eyes had dimmed to the extent to which Esau had been consumed by Godlessness and sin. Even when he marries two Hittite women, Isaac seeks to give him the blessing which would put in Esau’s charge the entire household and burry the light and life’s work of Abraham to bring knowledge and truth of the One God to the world. His desire and hope for Esau’s redemption, perhaps that Esau might become inspired by the blessing and take on his Godly role, clouded the forsight that had been given to Rebecca. That Esau would become depraved and abandon serving God and that through Jacob Israel would be established. How often to we become clouded by our love for people and desire for them to come into the glorious light that exists when you serve the Lord…that we forget where our time and blessing should be invested. Or perhaps the other way around, that which we “see” as so glorious and wonderful may dim the reality of someone who requires a blessing, someone in need or someone with great potential being overlooked…someone faithful who has earned honor and respect, in the shadows….just waiting to be brought into the light of our recognition.
Isaac, eye’s dimmed, couldn’t see that Jacob not only deserved the blessing but that God had arranged it for him. What arrangements are being made by God in your life?
Exodus 3;10-12 And now, go and I shall dispatch you to Pharaoh and you shall take My people the Children of Israel out of Egypt.” Moses replied to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should take the Children of Israel out of Egypt?” And He said, “For I shall be with you- and this is your sign that I have sent you: When you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain.”
*Though Moses was raised as an Egyptian prince, his mother Yocheved was able to instill in him the identity that would stay with him despite living among all the idolatry. When he comes to his people to lead them they recognize him as a pagan prince, not a brother. Only over time with many challenges does God reveal the greatness of Moses. When God presents him with the lofty task to lead Israel from bondage to freedom he doubts himself, but God assures him He will be his banner, and the sign upon his life that will lead him and allow him to be a great leader. Hear what God may be indicating to you about your true identity and His plan for your life, remember that He is with you and never leaves…you may not see Him, but I assure you He is there. Let him be the sign of strength upon your life.
2Corinthians 3;16-18 “But,”says the Torah, “whenever someone turns to ADONAI, the veil is taken away.’ Now, “ADONAI”in this text means the Spirit. And where the Spirit of ADONAI is, there is freedom. So all of us, with faces unveiled, see as in a mirror the glory of the Lord; and we are being changed into his very image, from one degree of glory to the next, by ADONAI the spirit.
*Yeshua donned the flesh of mortality though he is divine, he was raised in Torah and commandments. He embodied the identity I believe he desires for his flock; obedient to his Father and all that which was, is and will be eternal…living righteousness through his actions with clarity and love. Mercifully healing and constantly sewing the seeds of God’s word in order to bring life and light into the world. He willingly gave his flesh in exchange for ours, that our lives not be identified as irreconcilable and hopeless…but forgiven and full of potential. Draw near to Him and don’t be ashamed or afraid, tear away the false coverings of your heart and allow Him to work in the Holy of Holies…the place He desires most, your heart.
Psalm 117;1 Praise HASHEM, all nations; praise Him, all the states! 2 For His kindness has overwhelmed us, and the truth of HASHEM is eternal, Halleluyah!
Tammuz 25, 5772
July 15, 2012
The Stone Edition Tanach-Artscroll
The Stone Edition Chumash-Artscroll
Onkelos-Understanding Bible Text- Gefen publishing
New American Standard Bible
The Complete Jewish Bible translated by Danvid H. Stern
http://www.elshaddaiministries.us Mark Biltz
http://www.Chabad.org Rabbi Gordon
http://www.wisdomintorah.com Rico Cortes