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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 14

Genesis 17:1-27   -   Jeremiah 33:25   -   Psalm 13   -   Romans 4:10-25
 

 

Tammuz 9, 5761 / June 30, 2001 

Tammuz 7, 5764 / June 26, 2004

Tammuz 7, 5767 / June 23, 2007

Tammuz 7, 5770 / June 19, 2010

Tammuz 7, 5773 / June 15, 2013

Tammuz 10, 5776 / July 16, 2016

 

Vayhee Avram / When Avram   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

The year was AM 2047; Avram was 99, Saray was 89, and Ishmael was 13.

Yahweh appeared to Avram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless. 2 I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Avram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Avram, but your name shall be Avraham; for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.

(V.1) Yahweh appeared to Avram and said to him, ani El Shaddai” - I am God Almighty. Shaddai means ‘Who is Sufficient’. Yahweh is sufficient in granting mercies, and in ability to perform what He promises.

 

This is a most significant concept for us to take to heart: Yahweh is sufficient to grant us mercies, and He is sufficient in ability to complete His work in us! “He who has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Yesua the Messiah” – Philippians 1:6. He is able to keep us from falling; it is His power that will make us able to stand in His glory – Jude 24. He works in us both to will and to do what pleases Him – Philippians 2:13. He makes all things work together for the ultimate good for us (who love Him and are called by Him) – Romans 8:28.

 

Talmudic stories are given as ways to remember the meanings of the names.

(V.4) Avram means ‘Exalted Father’; Avraham means ‘Father of Many Nations’.

 

When Avram was 85, he was walking in the desert one day, where he met some Bedouin. They asked his name, and he replied “Exalted Father (Avram)”. They asked how many children he had, and he replied, “Oh, I don’t have any children.” (Exalted Father?)

 

Now at 99, Avraham again was walking in the desert, and met the same Bedouin. He informed them that his name had been changed to “Father of Many Nations (Avraham).” They asked how many children he now had, and he replied, “Just one.” (Father of Many Nations?)

 

Because God said that Avraham should no longer be called Avram, the Talmud calls this a commandment (Berachot 13a), and we saw last week (in Galatians 4) that Paul used the name Avraham, even when referring to the period before the name change.

 

The Mishnah declares (Bikkurim 1:4), “All converts are considered descendants of Avraham because the Torah calls him ‘the father of … nations’, and therefore a convert can be called a son of Avraham.” Accordingly, Paul says (Romans 4:16-17) that the Covenant is “certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Avraham, who is the father of us all, (as it is written, ‘A father of many nations have I made you’).”

 

(V.15) Saray is possessive, meaning ‘My Princess; Sarah means ‘Princess’, as to the nations. God changed the name of Saray to Sarah, by removing the last letter.

 

The letter ‘Yod’ went complaining to the Eternal: “You have taken me from the name of that holy woman, Saray.” The Eternal replied, “I have taken you from the end of the name of a holy woman, but I will place you at the beginning of the name of a holy man”, and He changed the name of Hoshea to Yehoshua. (Hoshea means ‘Salvation’; Yehoshua, or its contraction Yeshua, means ‘Yahweh is Salvation’.)

 

This is another most important concept for us to understand: God’s Covenant to Avraham is the very basis of our salvation! God has rendered us – Hebrew and gentile – fit to be partakers of the Avrahamic Covenant (see Colossians 1:12), through faith.

 

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Avraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply you.’ And thus, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise” – Hebrews 6:11-15.

 

(V.4-8) We are of the nations promised to Avraham. We are, through faith, partakers of the everlasting Covenant, by which Yahweh is our God. By this Covenant, we inherit a land as an everlasting possession.

 

For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Avraham, who is the father of us all, (as it is written, ‘A father of many nations have I made you’) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not existRomans 4: 16-17.

 

For I say that Messiah has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, ‘Therefore I will give praise to Thee among the Gentiles, And I will sing to Thy name.’ And again he says, ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.’ And again, ‘Praise Yahweh all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise Him.’ And again Isaiah says, ‘There shall come the root of Jesse, and He who arises to rule over the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles hope’ ” – Romans 15:8-12

 

(V.9-14) As a sign of this covenant, every male is to be circumcised. Circumcision is not a requirement in order to receive the promises, but a symbol representing that one is a partaker of the promises. Circumcision is called the removal of a ‘barrier’ (Hebrew – orlah), and it is symbolic of the barrier being removed from the heart so that God’s ways are accepted (Leviticus 26:41, Jeremiah 9:25, Ezekiel 44:7).

 

How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Avraham which he had while uncircumcised” – Romans 4:10-12.

 

 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called ‘Uncircumcision’  by the so-called ‘Circumcision,’ which is performed in the flesh by human hands-- 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Messiah Yeshua you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 ‘And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;’ 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Yeshua Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. – Ephesians 2:8-22.

 

In Colossians 2:14, we read of Yeshua “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” And in Romans 8:1-2 we read, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua. For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” The “Law of sin and death” is not the Torah, it is “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). God’s commandments are not “against us” or “hostile to us;” the rule of death is against us – this rule of death against us was consummated upon Yeshua, our substitute, on the cross, and it’s authority over us thereby annulled.

 

Notes:

 

(V.20) Ishmael’s twelve “princes” - nisiaim (see v.25:13-16) would be transient, in contrast to Jacob’s shivatim.

 

Avraham’s ten trials (Avot 5:4):

2 upon leaving Haran – “get out of the land” (v.12:1), famine (v.12:10);

2 with his sons – with Isaac, with Ishmael;

2 with his wives – Sarah at Pharaoh’s Palace, Sarah at Abimelech’s;

1 in the war with the kings;

1 in the Covenant;

1 in circumcision;

1 in Ur of the Chaldees.

 

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

Reader 1* Amen 1 Now when Avram was ninety-nine years old, Yahweh appeared to Avram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless. 2 "I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly." 3 Avram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, 4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you will be the father of a multitude of nations.

Reader 2* Amen 5 "No longer shall your name be called Avram, but your name shall be Avraham; for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 7 "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

Reader 3* Amen 9 God said further to Avraham, "Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 "This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 "And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.

Reader 4* Amen 12 "And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. 13 "A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 "But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant."

Reader 5* Amen 15 Then God said to Avraham, "As for Saray your wife, you shall not call her name Saray, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 "I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her." 17 Then Avraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18 And Avraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before You!"

Reader 6* Amen 19 But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.20 "As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 "But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year." 22 When He finished talking with him, God went up from Avraham.

Reader 7* Amen 23 Then Avraham took Ishmael his son, and all the servants who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Avraham's household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him. 24 Now Avraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 In the very same day Avraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 All the men of his household, who were born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Jeremiah 33:25-26

Reader 8* Amen 25 “Thus says Yahweh, ‘If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established, 26 then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Avraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.’ ”

 

Psalm 13    (to be sung)  For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

1 How long, O Yahweh? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O Yahweh, my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, 4 lest my enemy say, "I have overcome him," lest my adversaries rejoice when I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. 6 I will sing to Yahweh, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

 

Romans 4:10-25

Reader 9* Amen 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Avraham which he had while uncircumcised.

Reader 10* Amen 13 For the promise to Avraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. 16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Avraham, who is the father of us all, 17 (as it is written, "A father of many nations have I made you") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

Reader 11* Amen 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "So shall your descendants be." 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore It was also credited to him as righteousness. 23 Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)