Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shemot

Shemot 1:1-6:1

This weeks parasha is titled Shemot and it begins with the naming of the son’s of Israel that went down into Egypt. Hence the title of the parasha, “Shemot”, plural for name in Hebrew. Egypt’s King could not help but notice how the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied and became exceedingly numerous. The King feared that if ever a war would break out that the Israelites would join the enemy forces to defeat Egypt and leave the land. So the King devised a plan to kill all newborn male Hebrews at the hands of the Hebrew midwives. Fortunately for the Hebrews, the midwives were God fearing women who ignored the Kings command and for doing this they were blessed by God by received families of their own. So then Pharaoh gave an order to all the people that “every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, and let every girl live.”

Now, during this time of the decree of Pharaoh to kill all male born Hebrews, a Levite couple give birth to a son later to be named Moses. Moses is cared for by his family for three months and when his mother feels she can no longer hide him, she places him in a basket and puts him in the reeds of the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and has compassion for him. The daughter has Moses’s mother nurse him and then when he is older he becomes Pharaoh’s daughters son. This is when Moses is named for the meaning of “I drew him out of the water.”

After Moses had grown up he was out observing his people (the Hebrews) at their labor. He noticed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and Moses killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he came across two Hebrews fighting and he tried to stop them from fighting when one of the Hebrews said “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Moses realized that what he had done was not only his secret but others also knew. Pharaoh found out about what Moses had done and tried to kill him. So Moses fled for his life to Midian.

In Midian Moses sat at well when the daughters of Reuel came to water their fathers flocks. The daughters were driven off by other shepherds but Moses came to their rescue and watered the seven womens flocks. The daughters of Reuel returned home earlier than usual and were questioned by their father about the fast return. The daughters replied in Ex 2:19 “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.” The interesting note that I take here is the perception that Moses was an Egyptian. Just as Joseph was perceived by his brothers as an Egyptian, Joseph and Moses were both Hebrews planted by HaShem to deliver His people but looked to be Egyptians. Joseph’s brothers would be delivered from the famine by someone who would appear to be, by their understanding, a pagan worshiper or someone that did know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses would be perceived by the daughters of Reuel and more than likely by the fighting Hebrews in the same manner due to his outward appearance. The same perception could be very easily seen by the Jewish people of today and history past by the appearance of the Christian church representing Yeshua. In the factual sense, the Egyptians had no understanding or desire to know the one and only creator, HaShem. The Egyptians were just fine in their worship of things that were not gods. But HaShem planted among them a people of His own, to look like them, to assimilate to some of their traditions and to give the perception that they were not the children of God. This perception has been going on for the last two thousand years to the present. I use the term “Messianic community” very loosely here. The Jewish people have the perception that the Messianic community looks like the Christian church that teaches against the commandments of God. The Christian church has the perception that the Messianic community looks too much like a works based faith rather than a faith based religion. From both perspectives, the Messianic community could very well look Egyptian, and neither the Jews or the Christians are comfortable with that. In all actuality they are both missing their true deliverer Yeshua. A deliverer who requires His people to be a holy, set apart people according to HaShems will through His Torah and a deliverer who came as a sin offering to condemn sin in us in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met. We should take pride that HaShem choose to plant us in the midst of a false perception that we may reveal the true will and purpose of our deliverer Yeshua so He may bring the two together.

Moses ends up marrying Zipporah, one of Jethro’s daughters, and has a son named Gershom. While Moses is tending the flocks of Jethro at Horeb, HaShem appears to him in a burning bush. This is where Moses is commissioned to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt because God has heard their cries and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. HaShem reveals His name to Moses as
“I AM WHO I AM”, “YHVH”, HaShem’s name forever, the name by which I Am to be remembered forever from generation to generation. Moses receives signs and wonders to perform before Pharaoh. The staff turning into a snake, leprosy and water to blood. Moses tries to reject HaShems will for his assignment, but HaShem’s calling is irrevocable. As Moses prepares for his journey to Egypt, HaShem reminds him in
Ex 4:21 “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do”. A basic principal that many of us miss is addressed in this statement. It is HaShem that gives us any power to do any kind of wonders, but first it takes our obedience to His commands to get to the point to preform those wonders. We want the reward without the journey. Moses then stays in a lodging place on the way where he is confronted by HaShem. HaShem is going to kill his apparent new born son because of the over site to circumcise him. Moses wife performs the circumcision with a flint knife and calls Moses a “bridegroom of blood to her”. Aaron, Moses brother, is assigned to help by speaking for Moses and they meet in the desert.

Moses and Aaron meet with the elders of the Israelites and Aaron tells them all that HaShem had commanded Moses. Then Moses performs for them the wonders that HaShem gave him the power to do. At this point the elders believed and worship God.
What is interesting here is that the elders first heard, then they say the wonders, then they believed. Scripture alludes to the fact that they needed to see to be convinced. Yeshua says in Jn 20:29 “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The blessings for those of us that truly believe all of HaShems words, the Torah, the Prophets the B’rit Chadashah, without seeing the physical proof of Yeshua, those blessings must be unconceivable. Then Moses addresses Pharaoh as HaShem commanded him to do by requesting that he let His people go for three days to worship Him. Pharaoh rejects the offer by Moses and further oppresses the Israelites. Moses is confronted by his brothers about how he is responsible for even more of their sufferings. Moses addresses HaShem, and HaShem assures Moses that now he will see the work of His mighty hand.

A great example taken from this Parasha is that when HaShem calls a person to accomplish a task, no matter how difficult and hopeless in the appearance, the calling will be preformed. Just look at Jonah. As seen in the account of Moses here, the journey is long in time and in distance, the results seem unbelievable and the goal unachievable, but its the journey that will increase our faith and someday allow us to preform the miracles and wonders that HaShem gives us the power to do. We have been given an assignment to reveal the deliverer Yeshua in Mat 28:18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Lets act as if we have read this scripture barefooted standing in front of a burning bush dressed as an Egyptian and begin our journey to reveal the true biblical deliverer, Yeshua, to all the nations.

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