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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 17

Genesis 20:1-18   -   Isaiah 61:9-10   -   Psalm 16   -   Galatians 3:15-29
 

 

          Av  1, 5761 / July 21, 2001 

Tammuz 28, 5764 / July 17, 2004

Tammuz 28, 5767 / July 14, 2007

Tammuz 28, 5770 / July 10, 2010

Tammuz 28, 5773 / July   6, 2013

Av   2, 5776           / Aug   6, 2016

 

Vayisa Misham / He Journeyed from There   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

Here are some thoughts about thinking. Reportedly, you will have 65,000 thoughts today, about one per second. Tomorrow, again, you will have 65,000 thoughts. Monday you will have about 65,000 thoughts. Of tomorrow’s 65,000 thoughts, more than 60,000 will be the same as today’s. Monday, more than 60,000 will be the same as tomorrow’s.

 

Thoughts are “from the heart.” God has much to say about the thoughts of our hearts.

 

What we think will determine what we say. What we think and say will determine our actions. Our actions become our habits, and our habits become our character.

 

“Transgression” is disobeying God’s instructions. “Iniquity” is wrong motives and desires and thoughts of the heart. Iniquity results in transgression – sin.

 

We all have wrong thoughts. We need to study God’s Word and pray, in order to change our thought patterns, to be overcomers.

 

If we start every morning, praying for those we know, that will help correct our feelings and actions towards them. If we read God’s Word every morning, that will put us on a course of remembering God during the day, and will establish our thoughts and actions in righteousness.

 

(V. 1) “Avraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.”  Avraham, having twice previously gone to rescue Lot, is now moving farther from him. He is also, in a sense, staking claim to another part of the Promised Land (‘Palestine’ – the area of the Philistines)

 

(V. 3) God speaks to the heathen only at night.

 

(V. 5) Abimelech said, “In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”

God answered, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this,” but his ‘hands’ were not innocent (the sages say, because he had kidnapped Sarah).

 

Abimelech made full restitution to Avraham and sought forgiveness. He did not make gifts to Sarah, which, had they been given, could have been interpreted as payment for prostitution: thus their integrity was portrayed.

 

Sarah’s promised offspring was in God’s mind, and Sarah was kept pure. (Isaiah 61:9-10) All who see them will recognize them because they are the offspring whom Yahweh has blessed.  I will rejoice greatly in Yahweh, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” As David said (Psalm 16:1), “Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in Thee.

 

Let us consider the doctrine of forgiveness. Forgiveness is needed because of sin. We need forgiveness from God and we need forgiveness from man.

 

‘Torah’ comes from a root meaning to flow or shoot. Torah is instruction – how to glorify God. It instructs us how to love Yahweh and our neighbor who is created in His image.

 

‘Sin’ (Hebrew - chata) means to miss. Sin is missing the goal of glorifying God, missing the purpose for which we are created and sustained by God. Doing our own thing is sin, and sin requires repentance – which means turning around toward God.

 

Those who live only for their own selfish desires, and do not repent, are called ‘wicked’ (Hebrew - raah), which means ‘good for nothing.’ They do not go by the Creator’s instructions for living, and they do not fulfill their designed purpose. They are destined to be ‘taken’ in judgment (Matthew 24:32-51).

 

There are conditions for forgiveness: repentance and request. God does not just simply forget our sins, and we are not instructed to just forget sins others commit against us: these are common religious teachings, but they are not Biblical. (This is not about being bitter, or holding a grudge.)

 

We are also required to be truthful witnesses about many kinds of observed sins, and we are not permitted to ignore them. Our witness is to be to judges (proper authorities), and we are forbidden to slander (which is defaming another, regardless of whether or not the statements are true).

 

Yeshua was so named because He came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Sin means missing the mark of glorifying our creator. ‘His people’, the firstfruits, are the reason for the word’s existence (Colossians 1:16, James 1:18; see commentary on Genesis 1:1).

 

Our goal should be to have God be glorified in the entire world, which requires getting rid of sin – that which does not glorify God – in the world.

 

The first part of our goal should be to glorify God ourselves, which requires overcoming sin in our own lives. Then we are to help our brethren overcome sin. Then we are to seek the salvation of others.

 

There is intentional sin, and there is unintentional sin – which may be discovered after being committed. Both are contrary to glorifying God. While Abimelech’s sin was unintentional – it was done with integrity of his heart, it was still contrary to God’s design – his hands were not innocent, and repentance was required.

 

Last Sabbath afternoon, we studied the Prophet Haggai. His name means ‘My Feast.’ On the first day of the sixth month (Elul 1), Yahweh said, “Consider your ways!” (v.5 & 7). This is the first day of the forty days of repentance that culminates with Yom haKippurim – the Day of the Atonements (on Tishrei 10). These are forty days specifically set aside to consider our ways. They are the period of time when ‘the baptism of repentance for remission of sins’ (Mark 1:4) is undertaken each year. This is the season when John the baptizer was preaching repentance at the Jordan River (Matthew 3:1-8).

 

The Day of the Atonements is for the purification of the Bride of Messiah – it is for believers, all of whom need repentance. It is the only day on which the Torah requires us to fast. It is an annual requirement to help us remember our position, and keep a proper attitude toward God and our neighbor.

 

(V. 7 & 14) Forgiveness – Forgiving a brother is based upon repentance:

 

(Luke 17:3) “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him.” Repentance may require restitution, depending upon the sin.

 

(Matt. 18:21) “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ 22 Yeshua said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought to him one who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But since he did not have the means to repay, his master commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.” 27 And the master of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, “Pay back what you owe.” 29 So his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, “Have patience with me and I will repay you.” 30 He was unwilling however, but went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their master all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him, his master said to him, “You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?” 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.’ ” Repentance must be from the heart. That is, saying that we repent, without serious intent, is meaningless.

 

Required repentance: (Exodus 22:1) “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep. 2 If the thief is caught while breaking in, and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. 3 But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. 4 If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.

(Luke 19:8) “And Zaccheus stopped and said to Yahweh, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.’

 

(Matthew 18:15-17) When we see a believer caught up in a sin, we are to go to him to seek his repentance. If he will not hear us, we are to take one or two witnesses.

This does not mean that we are to tell others about the sin, and take them along: that would be slander. It means to take others whom we know to have witnessed the sin.

If he will not hear two or three witnesses, then the matter is to be taken to the judges of the synagogue.

If he will not hear the judges, then he is to be considered as a wicked one – one who does not seek to follow God, not a believer.

 

(1 Timothy 5:19-20) An elder is not to be accused before the judges unless there are two or three witnesses. Then an elder who refuses to repent of his sin is to be rebuked by the judges before the entire congregation.

 

God’s forgiveness of sin is shown by repentance:

 

(Acts 2:38) “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Yeshua the Messiah because of the forgiveness of your sins . . .’ ”.

 

Forgiveness requires asking:

 

Even if a man pay the required five-fold compensation (for sustained injury, pain, medical care, loss of working time, and humiliation), he is not forgiven until asking for a pardon” – Bava Kamma 92a.

 

For believers: (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

Paul explains to us (in Galatians 3) that the commandments, which were given 430 years after the Covenant, were added because of sin. Those who were recipients of God’s grace needed further instruction to overcome sin and learn to love Yahweh and neighbor.

 

We need the perspective that David had (Psalm 16:7-11), “I will bless Yahweh who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set Yahweh continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You wilt make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

 

Reportedly, 88% of Christendom believes in Replacement Theology – the idea that gentile churches replaced Israel in God’s plan, about 2000 years ago. This was part of the basis for the holocaust.

 

Islam has taught for about 1300 years, that it replaced both Judaism and Christianity in God’s plan. They seek to impose their religion on the whole world by force. That is why we are in an undeclared world war now.

 

Today, many in Christendom teach that God has two side-by-side plans, one for Israel and one for “the Church.”

 

Many so-called Messianics teach a “Two House” doctrine, that believers are really unknowingly natural-born Israelites.

 

All of this nonsense should be settled by Galatians 3.

 

God made an eternal, unconditional covenant with Abraham 4,000 years ago. It was to be fulfilled through Isaac, not Ishmael as Islam teaches. It is the basis for all salvation, by grace through faith – whether for ancient Israelites or modern gentiles.

 

God established an order for His church, by that term (Heb. qehal), 3,500 years ago. That church represents all who are of the faith of Abraham – “Jews” and gentiles who follow their God.

 

 

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 Avraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.

Reader 2* Amen 2 Avraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married." 4 Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, "Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless? 5 "Did he not himself say to me, 'She is my sister '? And she herself said, 'He is my brother.' In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this."

Reader 3* Amen 6 Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 "Now therefore, restore the man's wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours."

Reader 4* Amen 8 So Abimelech arose early in the morning and called all his servants and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were greatly frightened. 9 Then Abimelech called Avraham and said to him, "What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done." 10 And Abimelech said to Avraham, "What have you encountered, that you have done this thing?"

Reader 5* Amen 11 Avraham said, "Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. 12 "Besides, she actually is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife; 13 and it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, 'This is the kindness which you will show to me: everywhere we go, say of me, "He is my brother."'"

Reader 6* Amen 14 Abimelech then took sheep and oxen and male and female servants, and gave them to Avraham, and restored his wife Sarah to him. 15 Abimelech said, "Behold, my land is before you; settle wherever you please." 16 To Sarah he said, "Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; behold, it is your vindication before all who are with you, and before all men you are cleared."

Reader 7* Amen 17 Avraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children. 18 For Yahweh had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Avraham's wife.

 

"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."

 

Isaiah 61:9-10

Reader 8* Amen 9 Then their offspring will be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them because they are the offspring whom Yahweh has blessed. 10 I will rejoice greatly in Yahweh, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

 

Psalm 16     (to be sung)  A Mikhtam of David.

Hear a just cause, O Yahweh, give heed to my cry; give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips. 2 Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes look with equity. 3 You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. 4 As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept from the paths of the violent. 5 My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped. 6 I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. 7 Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand From those who rise up against them. 8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings 9 from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me. 10 They have closed their unfeeling heart, with their mouth they speak proudly. 11 They have now surrounded us in our steps; they set their eyes to cast us down to the ground. 12 He is like a lion that is eager to tear, and as a young lion lurking in hiding places. 13 Arise, O Yahweh, confront him, bring him low; deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword, 14 From men with Your hand, O Yahweh, from men of the world, whose portion is in this life, and whose belly You fill with Your treasure; they are satisfied with children, and leave their abundance to their babes. 15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

 

Galatians 3:15-29

Reader 9* Amen 15 Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man's covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Messiah. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

Reader 10* Amen 19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Yeshua the Messiah might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24

Reader 11* Amen Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Messiah, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Messiah Yeshua. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. 29 And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.

 

"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)