PARASHAT VE’EIRA (AND I APPEARED)
SHEMOT (EXODUS) 6:2–9:35
Our Scripture (Torah) portion this week opens with a wonderful reminder of who God is, His faithfulness and His endless love and grace (Exodus 6:2–13):
God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD (YHWH), I did not make Myself known to them. And I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. And furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant. Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage (Labor). I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you to Me to be My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land which I raise My hands to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as an heritage; I am the LORD.” Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.
Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land.” But Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?” Then the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
As I read the above verses, I took great comfort in the knowledge that, at the end of the day, everything will come together for those that belong to Him. What a great comfort it is to know that, in spite of the mountain we may face, the challenges, discomforts, and struggles that God sees, knows and cares. He is right here beside us. He will bring it all together in the end for our good.
Be encouraged that even Moses (who literally spoke with the Almighty God!), had moments of doubts and disbelief. Moses knew God’s entire plan of redemption for the children of Israel; yet, we see that Moses many times struggled to have faith that God would do what He said He would do, and he always tried to give an excuse for not doing that which God asked him to! We see that Moses – the great Moses – was human just like you and me, full of fears and struggles. Yet, at the end of the day, he was obedient and followed God’s call on his life.
To us followers of Messiah, He has also told the entire story of redemption. And we know the end! Let us take courage in that, and press on in doing that which He called us to. Let’s not grow weary in honoring Him. Be encouraged and take courage!
This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.
Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.
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The blood of Amir Simachon
Late one evening just over fifteen years ago, Tuesday July 13, 2003, to be exact, Amir Simachon sat with Shalhevet Okashi, a woman friend from the Tel Aviv municipality where they both worked, on the Jaffa promenade overlooking the moonlit bay and shore. About 1:40 AM a crazed terrorist ran up behind them, shouted “Alla Akhbar” and stabbed Amir in the back with a 30-centimeter (that’s one foot; twelve inches long) blade knife.
Amir managed to stand to his feet as the terrorist raised his knife to stab Shalhevet. Amir lunged forward between them, embracing Shalhevet as the knife stabbed the second time into his back. As the terrorist ran off, Amir turned to Shalhevet and said, “I feel faint.” He died a few hours later in the emergency room at Wolfson hospital. The terrorist was later captured and underwent interrogation.
Shalhevet’s response to journalists was simply, “He hugged me, and his hug saved my life.”
A Life Saving Hug
I can’t stop thinking about that embrace. An act of self-sacrificing love saved her life. Amir volunteered to have himself pierced by a satanically-inspired terrorist in order to save Shalvevet. How like Yeshua’s act of sacrificial love on the cross for us!
As Amir embraced Shalhevet, his blood from the double stabbing spilled onto her. She’ll never be able to forget the impression of that mortal, precious, scarlet, steamy blood of her co-worker. In one moment, the blood of Amir changed Shalhevet’s life for eternity. Not only saved, but changed.
Amir was a handsome young man of 24, who often volunteered for civilian guard duties. His parents’ response was, “As Amir was in his death, so was he in his life – always sacrificing himself for others – that’s just the way he was.”
What a challenge that is to us! Yeshua’s death on the cross was not an isolated incident, but rather the culmination of a lifetime of sacrificial love, service to others and absolute obedience. The blood of Yeshua not only saves us, but influences us to change. We are in Shalhevet’s position, being embraced by Yeshua’s outstretched arms on the cross.
His blood not only erases our sins, but motivates us to live a lifestyle like Him – a lifestyle of love, faith and integrity. As the imprint and impression of the blood of Amir will haunt Shalhevet every moment for the rest of her life, so are we to be traumatized and transformed by the blood of Yeshua every day. The power of the blood of Yeshua is not just in the one-time historical event of 2,000 years ago, but in the constant and continual, internal and eternal, re-recurring reminder of His sacrifice. As Shalhevet said, “He shielded me with his own body.”
One difference of course is that three days later, Yeshua rose from the dead. Imagine the shock for Shalhevet if Amir had come back to life and appeared to her saying, “Come follow me. Let us make a covenant together. Not only have I saved your life in this world, I have the power to give you eternal life in the world to come. Will you trust me? Will you lead a life of purity and love for my sake? Will you receive my spirit in you?”
Yeshua also had a few last words on the cross. The power in those words comes from the witness that his blood had been poured out. In some ways, all of the gospels are Yeshua’s final words to us that are backed up by the power of his blood. What if Amir’s last words to Shalhevet had been a request? – Such as, “Watch out for my parents.” Or “Donate some money to charity.” Do you think she would have fulfilled that request? I’m sure she would have.
Perhaps Amir’s “I feel faint” doesn’t sound that profound. On the other hand, it makes me think of Yeshua’s statement, “I’m thirsty.” Sometimes we get caught up in the theology of the cross so much, we miss the raw physicality of the event, the humanity, the guts.
By the way, why did the terrorist kill Amir? For one reason alone: he was a Jew. Again I am reminded of Yeshua, that the stated crime that He was crucified for was being “King of the Jews.”
One of Yeshua’s blood-backed declarations on the cross was for us to be forgiven of our sins. You see, we are not only like Shalhevet, in some ways we are like the terrorist. It was for our sins that Yeshua was crucified. We are like the jailed terrorist to whom Amir-Yeshua might come to say, “Even you I am willing to forgive.” Or suppose Shalhevet had been his wife who had committed adultery, to whom he would say, “I forgive you, go and sin no more.”
What repentance, what forgiveness, what freedom, what victory, what consecration, what empowerment there is, when we completely identify with the blood-soaked embrace and the life-changing message of Yeshua on the cross.
People Just Didn’t Get It
Some people did not take note of the story of Amir. They were too busy with politics and economics. But others saw in that story the most important event of the week – so important in fact that nothing else might seem to matter. Let us put ourselves in Shalhevet’s shoes: nothing else matters. Nothing else will ever matter – only that embrace, only that blood, only that life-saving sacrifice.
This article originally appeared on Tikkun Ministries International, December 30, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Asher Intrater is the founder and apostolic leader of Revive Israel Ministries, and oversees Ahavat Yeshua Congregation in Jerusalem, and Tiferet Yeshua Congregation in Tel Aviv. Asher was one of the founders of Tikkun International with Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff, and serves on the board of the Messianic Alliance of Israel and Aglow International.
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Strength and weakness
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Messiah’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Cor. 12:9
There are times when we stumble badly at temptation and blow it. We get into an angry outburst when we know we should return good for evil and turn the other cheek. And then we feel terrible about ourselves and our weaknesses and, discouraged, say:”Well, there goes our lovely testimony about the Messiah. What’s the use. I give up.”
I remember just such a day in Jerusalem. I had been up early in the morning before going to work, to water the large garden I was caring for in our apartment complex, until some irate neighbors said out their windows, “Why do you water in the morning– we can’t sleep!” So I watered in the evening, and was told by another disgruntled neighbor, “Why do you water in the evening– we can’t sit on the grass!” It had been a long hot summer day and I was tired and I exploded at the neighbor and went home. I told my wife that I had just ruined our testimony of the Messiah, and we should return to where we had come from. But then the Lord whispered to me, “Go and apologize to him.”
That is a very novel approach here in the harshness of the Holy Land, as pretty much any negative occurrence is deemed the other’s fault, without exception. To ask forgiveness is nearly as unheard-of as fish in the Dead Sea. So I pulled myself together and went down the steps from our apartment and knocked on that neighbor’s door. When it opened I just said, “I’m sorry I blew up at you, I was exhausted and…” “No problem,” he said immediately with a very surprised smile, and we became friendly neighbors from that day forth.
The principle is the same whether it is with our wives or children or our brothers in the faith. They may see us blow it, but then let them see us also fix the mess and reconcile. Perhaps if we practiced more of what we preach, we might have more unity, and a more healthy body of believers.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). In other words, this lamp is lit inside a cracked pot- the cracks of our weaknesses often being from where the light of the Lord may come forth to be seen. A ‘perfect’ pot has not a crack, and often can display only its own strength and beauty, and folks often resent ‘perfect’ people, which only challenges their own egos and weaknesses. Better, perhaps, to be a ‘crackpot’, though it may at times be rather humbling.
Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.
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New Year encouragement from this Week’s Parasha
Jewish tradition has assigned to each week of the Hebraic year a formal reading of a portion of the Torah (parasha) and other Hebrew Scriptures (haftorah). Evidence exists suggesting this practice could date back to biblical times. The relevance of the parasha to our circumstances each week is often striking.
On January 1, 2019, many will feel opportunity in the air, so to speak, to start fresh with an aspect of their lives. This sense of restart at the Gregorian New Year resonates in a promising way with this week’s parasha, Exodus 1:1-6:1.
In that passage the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob cry out and groan from their slavery in Egypt. God responds by calling Moses to deliver His people to their promised land. The humbled shepherd, however, knows he does not have the ability to perform the task. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” he asks. (Exodus 3:11)
God does not answer Moses’ question because there can be no suitable reply. Instead He tells him what the man needs to know. The next verse reads, “And God said, “I will be with you.”
Rather than bolster Moses’ self esteem, God shifts the focus off Moses and onto Himself. Israel’s redemption is not going to be about Moses or his abilities. It is going to be about God and His infinite omnipotence.
Reading between the lines, we almost hear Moses reply in verse 13, “And who exactly are you, God?”
The Creator answers, “I am who I am.” The Hebrew literally means, “I will be who I will be.” (verse 14)
In the Bible, a name defines or describes personhood. Therefore, any name other than “I will be who I will be” would limit the One who is limitless. God does not change in the essence of His character. But He is also beyond definition or restriction. In revealing His name to Moses, He is indirectly saying that He will be to Moses and the Israelites (and Pharoah) who He knows they’ll need Him to be. Similarly, He will be to you who He knows you need Him to be. No limits.
As you approach 2019 and its uncertainties, like Moses, you may feel insecure in your own abilities. Perhaps God has called you to a task you suspect—or know—that you yourself cannot achieve. Maybe He is leading you in a direction you’ve not previously gone. Or it could be that circumstances around you are changing fast and hard. (Here in Israel, major government and military shakings seem likely to occur in 2019.) If any such uncertainties apply to you, be encouraged by this week’s parasha.
Whatever God has called you to in 2019, it will not be about your abilities. It will be about His abilities, based on who He is and who He will be — the glorious, loving Creator who defies limitation. He will be who you need Him to be this coming year. And He will be with you.
God desires to glorify His Name through you in 2019. Like Moses, you need only surrender to Him. No limits!
This article originally appeared on Light of Zion, December 29, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Sandra is co-founder and director, along with her husband Kerry, of Light of Zion Ministries. Light of Zion is an Israeli Messianic Jewish, prophetic intercessory prayer ministry in Jerusalem with humanitarian outreach. Sandra is a prayer mobilizer and network leader, international speaker, prophetic liaison, professionally published author, Bible teacher, and retired attorney.
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Captivity and freedom
This morning before awakening I had my hands stretched over my head as I slept. When I awoke and put my arms down I realized that the bracelets on my arms were entangled and I couldn’t separate my arms! So for the next five minutes I tried to set myself free. Upon releasing the bracelets I heard the L-rd say, “People wake up every day in chains, crying out for freedom. These aren’t just people in jail, but prisoners in their hearts and minds. Pray for the captives to be set free.”
Chains can be decorative like my bracelets- שַׁרְשְׁרֹת [sharsherot] – these were beautiful filigree chains used in the Temple. But I believe the chains that the L-rd was referring to were אזקים [azakim] as in Jeremiah 40:1-2. People are bound אסר [asur] in chains. Another word for chains can be נְחֹשֶׁת [nechoshet] – brass, copper, metal or more specifically chains or fetters:
- Lam 3:7 – He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy.
- Judges 16:21 – Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.
- 2 Sam 3:24 – “Your hands were not bound, nor your feet put in fetters; as one falls before the wicked, you have fallen.” And all the people wept again over him.
- Jer 6:28 – All of them are stubbornly rebellious, going about as a talebearer. They are bronze and iron; They, all of them, are corrupt.
The verse that jumped off the page for me was Jeremiah 6:27 “I have made you an assayer and a tester among My people, that you may know and assay their way.”
In this same chapter it’s written in Jeremiah 6:16-17 Thus says the L-rd, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it. And I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
So I felt the L-rd was calling His watchmen to be assayers and testers among His people.
Now of course the Parashat HaShavuah would be in tune with this word – of course! I just love how the L-rd weaves all things together so beautifully.
Exodus 1:22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive.”
Then I heard the L-rd say that the Nile River was the world’s first abortion clinic.
Isaiah 27: 6 In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, and they will fill the whole world with fruit.
“This is the promise I gave to Israel.”
Isaiah 27:9 Therefore through this Jacob’s iniquity will be forgiven; and this will be the full price of the pardoning of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones like pulverized chalk stones; when Asherim and incense altars will not stand.
And then He said, “And this is how they will reach the breakthrough.”
Carolyn Margolin-Hyde was raised in an Orthodox Jewish synagogue near Chicago. She graduated from University of Illinois and as an RN she practiced nursing for many years. After making Aliyah Carolyn served as worship leader at K’tsir Asher, The Harvest of Asher Congregation, in Akko, and then led worship at Kehilat Poriya, a congregation near Tiberius. She has written and recorded many worship songs in English and Hebrew and her worship CD’s include “Just Like Joseph” and “The Latter Rain”- contemporary worship CDs; “Deep Calls to Deep” – a soaking CD; and “Fine Linen” – worship with a touch of the blues.