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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 47

Exodus 4:18 - 6:1   -   Isaiah 55:6-13   -   Psalm 43   -   John 8:26-59
 

 

    Adar 4, 5762 / Feb 16, 2002 

I Adar 10, 5765 / Feb 19, 2005

I Adar 10, 5768 / Feb 16, 2008

I Adar   8, 5771 / Feb 12, 2011

II Adar  6, 5774 / Mar  8, 2014

    Adar  6, 5777 / Mar  4, 2017

 

VaYeled Moshe / Then Moses Departed   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

(V.18) Moses went to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, "Please, let me go, that I may return to my brethren who are in Egypt." After being sustained for many years through his father-in-law, it was appropriate for Moses to go to him and ask for leave. This has very practical guidance for us, though, ultimately, we need to obey God even if the world system does not give us leave.

 

(V.21) Yahweh said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”

 

Moses had been living in Midian, in present-day Saudi Arabia. This was far south-east from his Hebrew relatives in Egypt. Yahweh had met with him at the burning bush in Midian, and ordered him to go to Egypt, where he was to meet with the leaders of his people, then go to the Pharaoh. Canaan, the Promised Land, was to the north-east of Egypt.

 

Moses was to take care to perform all that Yahweh instructed. As an imperfect picture of Yeshua, Moses did not always fulfill that command (as in striking the rock for water). Yeshua did perfectly fulfill all that the Father instructed. We, as His followers, are to take care to fulfill all of His instruction; only through His Spirit can we even desire to do this, and being led by His Spirit requires that we first have received faith, which requires knowledge of His Word.

 

The God Who created all and rules over all, said beforehand that He would harden the Pharaohs heart, to disobey. Note that God stated this before any action on the Pharaohs part. Afterward, the Pharaoh said he had neither knowledge of nor faith in Yahweh, nor any inclination to obey in any case. The Apostle Paul used this particular case as an example of how God grants faith by grace (unmerited favor), and hardens whom He will (Romans 9:14-22), without regard for any good or evil done by the recipient.

 

(V.24) Part of God’s requirement upon Moses was that his own son should be under the Covenant – indicated by circumcision on the eighth day. Moses was traveling at God’s command, and circumcision can be delayed for life’s sake, such as during travel. However, when the family was resting at a lodge, there was no excuse for delay, and God made an issue of Moses’ default. Moses’ wife, Zipporah, performed the circumcision to save Moses’ life. It seems hard for most Christians today to understand the importance God places upon observance of His ordinances – the commandments that signify our relationship to God, that teach us spiritual truths. Here we have a great example: God’s ordinances are not subject to our judgments of what is important! Zipporah referred to Moses as a “bridegroom of blood”, which seems to fit Yeshua’s position: the Bridegroom of the Covenant.

 

(V.29-31) Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the sons of Israel; and Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses. He then performed the signs in the sight of the people. So the people believed; and when they heard that Yahweh was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped. This is reminiscent of Yeshua’s time on earth 1300 years later: He spoke God’s words at the Temple and in synagogues; He performed miracles before multitudes of people – to show that He was indeed the Messiah. There were a chosen few who recognized His concern for them, and they bowed low and worshipped. Yeshua said therefore to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life” (John 6:67-68).

 

(V.5:1) Moses and Aaron came to the Pharaoh, saying, “Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go’ ”. After the Pharaoh said that he did not know Yahweh, nor would he obey Him, Moses referred to God as “The God of the Hebrews” (v.3). If the Pharaoh would not recognize Yahweh as the God, at least he should respect Him as God of the Hebrews. The request, “Please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword”, amounts to a warning, in respectful language, that Egypt would be in danger: “fall upon us” is meant for Egypt.

 

Moses was sent to deliver God’s people, but when life got harder for the people, they complained about Moses’ actions.

 

Yeshua was sent to deliver us from “Egypt”, the world of sin. But, if life here doesn’t become immediately easier, we often complain about God’s ways, or doubt His messenger, as the people did Moses. Life commonly gets harder when we become believers, because we are struggling against the world. The world expects us to live for things like pleasure and money. Sabbath-keeping is made extremely difficult by the world and its expectations of us: weddings and funerals are held on Sabbath, stores have their sales on Sabbath, etc. We may be called derogatory names by those who resent our manner of life, sometimes because we make them feel guilty, sometimes just because we are different. Too often, we just don’t want to be different – often in areas such as language and dress and entertainment.

 

David says (Psalm 43), “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; . . . Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me”.

 

Isaiah (v.55:12) fortells us, “For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

 

Moses was sent, as a prophetic type of Yeshua, to deliver God’s people. Through Moses, God’s people were delivered from slavery in Egypt. While this pictured spiritual deliverance, those without faith were still slaves to sin. Of Yeshua’s deliverance, it is said (John 8:36), “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”

 

Yeshua goes on to describe (in keeping with the beginning of today’s Torah portion – Exodus 4:21), “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:47). Note that, Yeshua does not say, “You are not of God because you do not hear God’s words”; we are not at liberty to reverse the order of cause and effect. God rules all of His creation; we do not control God.

 

Several times a day I am made to consider: Elohim, the Creator who judges His creation, is Yahweh, the Eternal who is gracious to provide for our needs, and that in order for us to serve Him, not ourselves! “Blessed are You, Yahweh Eloheinu, Ruler of the Universe . . .” He is blessed, because He provides for us sustenance, so that we can bless Him!

 

(John 8:.58) Yeshua said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” In last weeks Torah portion (Exodus 3:14), God told Moses that He was the “I Am”. Because Yeshua identified Himself with God, some Jews sought to stone Him. This does not leave much room for doubt about the proper interpretation of Yeshua’s statement, that He is the Eternal.

 

From the Haftarah we read (Isaiah 55:6-9), “Seek Yahweh while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares Yahweh. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”.

 

And then in the Apostolic portion (John 8:30-32), “As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. So Yeshua was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’

 

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. 18 Then Moses departed and returned to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, "Please, let me go, that I may return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see if they are still alive." And Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace." 19 Now Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, "Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead." 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand. 21 Yahweh said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says Yahweh, "Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 "So I said to you, 'Let My son go that he may serve Me'; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn."'"

Reader 2*  Amen. 24 Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that Yahweh met him and sought to put him to death. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and threw it at Moses' feet, and she said, "You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me." 26 So He let him alone. At that time she said, "You are a bridegroom of blood "-- because of the circumcision. 27 Now Yahweh said to Aaron, "Go to meet Moses in the wilderness." So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron all the words of Yahweh with which He had sent him, and all the signs that He had commanded him to do.

Reader 3*  Amen. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the sons of Israel; 30 and Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses. He then performed the signs in the sight of the people. 31 So the people believed; and when they heard that Yahweh was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped. 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, "Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, 'Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.'" 2 But Pharaoh said, "Who is Yahweh that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know Yahweh, and besides, I will not let Israel go." 3 Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God, otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword."

Reader 4*  Amen. 4 But the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you draw the people away from their work? Get back to your labors!" 5 Again Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are now many, and you would have them cease from their labors!" 6 So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying, 7 "You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 "But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it. Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' 9 "Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it so that they will pay no attention to false words."

Reader 5*  Amen. 10 So the taskmasters of the people and their foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, "Thus says Pharaoh, 'I am not going to give you any straw. 11 'You go and get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it, but none of your labor will be reduced.'" 12 So the people scattered through all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The taskmasters pressed them, saying, "Complete your work quota, your daily amount, just as when you had straw." 14 Moreover, the foremen of the sons of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, "Why have you not completed your required amount either yesterday or today in making brick as previously?"

Reader 6*  Amen. 15 Then the foremen of the sons of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, "Why do you deal this way with your servants? 16 "There is no straw given to your servants, yet they keep saying to us, 'Make bricks!' And behold, your servants are being beaten; but it is the fault of your own people." 17 But he said, "You are lazy, very lazy; therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to Yahweh.' 18 "So go now and work; for you will be given no straw, yet you must deliver the quota of bricks." 19 The foremen of the sons of Israel saw that they were in trouble because they were told, "You must not reduce your daily amount of bricks."

Reader 7*  Amen. 20 When they left Pharaoh's presence, they met Moses and Aaron as they were waiting for them. 21 They said to them, "May Yahweh look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh's sight and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us." 22 Then Moses returned to Yahweh and said, "O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? 23 "Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all." 6:1 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land."

 

"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 55:6-13

Reader 8*  Amen. 6 Seek Yahweh while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares Yahweh. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. 12 "For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 "Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to Yahweh, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off."

 

Psalm 43    (To be sung.)

1 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man! 2 For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places. 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God. 5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

 

John 8:26-59

Reader 9*  Amen.  26 "I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world." 27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Yeshua said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 "And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him." 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. 31 So Yeshua was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Reader 10*  Amen. 33 They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free '?" 34 Yeshua answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 "The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 "I know that you are Abraham's descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 "I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father." 39 They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Yeshua said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 "But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 "You are doing the deeds of your father."

Reader 11*  Amen. They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God." 42 Yeshua said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 "Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God."

Reader 12*  Amen.  48 The Jews answered and said to Him, "Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?" 49 Yeshua answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 "But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 "Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death." 52 The Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.' 53 "Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?" 54 Yeshua answered, "If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, 'He is our God'; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." 57 So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" 58 Yeshua said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Yeshua hid Himself and went out of the temple.

 

"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)