Sunday, November 20, 2011
Shaleeakh Toldot - "Generations"
B'reisheet (Genesis) 25:19-28:9
Humans are visual creatures. Therefore, the world view of Yeshua is formed through observing people that claim to follow Yeshua. In fact, it has been said that "actions speak louder than words". As a result, we can do great harm to the world's perception of Yeshua by the way we act. However, inappropriate actions can be changed if we are willing to serve HaShem. Acts 9:1-6 in the Complete Jewish Bible by David Stern states "Meanwhile, Sha'ul, still breathing murderous threats against the Lord's talmidim went to the Cohen Hagadol and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Dammesek, authorizing him to arrest any people he might find, whether men or women, who belonged to the way, and bring them back to Yerushalayim. He was on the road and nearing Dammesek, when suddenly a light from heaven flashed all around him. Falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him "Sha'ul! Sha'ul! Why do you keep persecuting me?" "Sir, who are you?" he asked. "I am Yeshua, and you are persecuting me?" But get up, and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do."" Rav Sha'ul began a life of persecuting believers, because he thought he was serving HaShem. Despite Sha'ul's inappropriate actions, Yeshua saw that Sha'ul's heart was open and willing to serve. Therefore, the power of the Ruach HaKodesh transformed Sha'ul into a righteous individual. Sha'ul was voluntarily ready to serve HaShem. By voluntarily giving his heart to HaShem Sha'ul's inappropriate persecution of believers ended.
A heart voluntarily willing to serve HaShem is greater than any other action. In fact, the sacrifice of voluntarily serving HaShem is greater than all other sacrifices. Tehillim 51:16-17 states "You do not desire sacrifice or else I would bring it: you are not delighted in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of HaShem are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, these HaShem will not despise." There is an enormous quantity of potential in an individual's free will. Therefore, any individual willing to submit voluntarily can be transformed into a righteous person. In Toldot, we can see how HaShem transformed Yaakov. Yaakov's position at birth would not have allowed him to inherit all the promises of Avraham. However, HaShem transformed Yaakov because Yaakov voluntarily submitted. To understand the importance voluntarily submitting we must compare Yaakov to Esau.
B'reisheet 25:23 states, "the LORD said unto her, two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." Before Yaakov was even born HaShem knew that Yaakov would grow into a more faithful servant then Esau. HaShem was not establishing a predestined path for Yaakov. HaShem knew that Yaakov would eventually change. However, the decision to serve HaShem was a voluntary decision that Yaakov had to make. Service to HaShem is most useful when the world sees that it is voluntary. Mark 10:29-31 states "Yeshua answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first." When a believer voluntarily leaves houses and family to serve HaShem it becomes a witness to the world. As a result, voluntarily serving HaShem is greatly rewarded in the life to come. Therefore, a position of being last on earth can be transformed into a position of being first in the world to come. All individuals who voluntarily serve HaShem are powerful tools in the hands of the Ruach HaKodesh. However, without the desire to serve voluntarily, the ability of the Ruach HaKodesh to work through us is limited.
One of the limitations the Ruach HaKodesh experiences when we do not voluntarily serve is stubbornness. Stubbornness allows our fleshly desires to manifest. This was one of Esau's biggest problems. When confronted with the choice between satisfying his immediate physical need or acting Godly, Esau was not flexible enough to wait. B'reisheet 25:31-34 states "Yaakov said, Sell me this day your birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright." Esau was not willing to wait for a meal. Therefore, he sacrificed his ability to serve HaShem in the future, for his immediate hunger. Esau's hunger became more important than his birthright. Esau lost all the promises that HaShem had made to Avraham. For one moment's pleasure Esau forgot how to serve HaShem. As a result Esau made a covenant with Yaakov that could not be broken. In the end Esau was to become less than his younger brother. Esau's heart was never in a place where he could voluntarily serve HaShem.
Voluntarily serving HaShem also requires fortitude. Fortitude gives an individual the ability to endure. An individual with the fortitude can endure temptations. Esau's desire was to choose a wife that pleased his eyes and not the wife HaShem would desire for Esau. B'reisheet 26:34-35 "Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah." Esau did not have the fortitude to overcome his own temptations. As a result, Esau married an individual who was not spiritually serving HaShem. Esau was bringing foreign wives and foreign gods into his camp. This made Esau susceptible to the worship of foreign gods. Esau's lack of fortitude allowed him to be overcome by temptation and prevented him from living up to his full spiritual potential. HaShem sees all individuals have potential. However, not every individual lives up to his or her potential. Esau is one individual who did not live up to his potential. Esau was always more interested with satisfying his immediate physical needs than he was in serving HaShem. Esau never lived up to his calling as the first born son. Therefore, HaShem chose Yaakov instead of Eau. Luke 14:16-24 states it this way "'A certain man made a great supper, and called many, and he sent his servant at the hour of the supper to say to those having been called, Be coming, because now are all things ready. 'And they began with one consent all to excuse themselves: The first said to him, A field I bought, and I have need to go forth and see it; I beg of thee, have me excused. 'And another said, Five yoke of oxen I bought, and I go on to prove them; I beg of thee, have me excused: and another said, A wife I married, and because of this I am not able to come. 'And that servant having come, told to his lord these things, then the master of the house, having been angry, said to his servant, Go forth quickly to the broad places and lanes of the city, and the poor, and maimed, and lame, and blind, bring in hither. 'And the servant said, Sir, it hath been done as thou didst command, and still there is room. 'And the lord said unto the servant, Go forth to the ways and hedges, and constrain to come in, that my house may be filled; for I say to you, that none of those men who have been called shall taste of my supper.'" Only an individual willing to serve HaShem can be used to his or her full potential. When we are voluntarily willing to serve, the Ruach HaKodesh can work through us. As a result, we become a living testimony through our actions.
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