Monday, April 9, 2012

Chol HaMo'ed Pesach Exodus 33:12-34:26 Isaiah 10:32 - 12:6

This week is a continuation of the Pesach readings, actually First Fruits, which concludes at the end of the 21st of Nisan within Israel.  Outside of Israel it concludes on either the 21st or 22nd of Nisan, depending upon whether one is a Reform (21st), Conservative (22nd), or Orthodox (22nd) Jew living outside the land.

Since we discussed Exodus (Shemot) 33:12 - 34:26 during Ki Tisa, I thought that it would be beneficial for us to consider the Haftarah reading for the seventh day - Isaiah 10:32 - 12:6.

 As we begin, Isaiah 10:32 refers to the Assyrian (see vs. 24) who is consumed with the conquest of Eretz Yisra’el.  He shakes his hand against Jerusalem; he has every intent to bring it to submission.  However, verses 33 and 34 reveals that the Lord will bring terror upon them as He lops off their bough, hews down the hierarchy, and humbles the haughty.  The thickets will be cut down and Lebanon will fall by a mighty one.

Assyria had been an instrument of HaShem as a rod of punishment directed towards the Children of Israel (Is. 10:5 - 6), but there were two issues that the Assyrians had not dealt with.  First, they had gotten to a point of excessive cruelty as evidenced by their desire to destroy Jerusalem.  Punishment of His people is never meant to be destructive.  Secondly, they did not realize that they were an instrument of the Almighty, therefore their own pride was about to bring them down as well.  Isaiah 37:36 reveals that the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 of the Assyrians - how does that compare with the last two verses of chapter 10?

It seems to me that in both of these issues the Assyrians mirror the Egyptians of the Israelite captivity.  The people were being excessively punished, and the leadership of the host nation was extremely haughty regarding their power and authority.  Had they realized that they were simply and instrument of The Most High, the distresses brought upon them and their land could have been avoided: the same is true for the Assyrians in today’s reading.

Israel has need punished; a severe pruning had been required for them to become the fruitful plant they had been called to be.  The pruning had been to the roots, but the roots had not been cut off.  A stem, a branch, a shoot was going to sprout from the root.  As the Spirit moved over the face of the waters in the first chapter of Genesis, the Spirit was going to rest upon this root.  The Spirit was one of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and fear of the Lord - Is. 11:1 - 2.

It appears that these six characteristics are matched into three pairs with good reason.  Wisdom is putting understanding to work.  I might understand how to build a bookcase, but the actual use of that understanding is the definition of wisdom.  How can one counsel another how to endure the things this world presents to us unless the counselor has the might and history of his own endurance?  Lastly, without the knowledge that there is a Lord, how can one fear / awesomely respect Him?

As we continue to peruse this chapter we can’t help but see Moshe and David.  But if we see Moshe and/or David, both of whom were moshiachs, how much more do we see The Moshiach and the Messianic age He brings in?  He is the One Whom will bring all to fruition.

All will revert back to the way it was to have been originally with our father Adam and our mother Eve.  We will be living in a perfect world.  The Lord will have tamed the Red Sea, formed it into seven streams, and then made a dry path for men to cross (11:15 - 16).  Salvation from Assyria shall be as the salvation from the Mitzrayim as we celebrate at this time of the year.

What is to be the result of this salvation?  What emanates from the spirit of man when the Spirit of God moves as He says He will?  What was the response of the people following the crossing of the Red Sea?  In the first 15 verses of Exodus 15 the people broke into praise!  The song that Moshe led the people in from verses one through 19 was responsively answered by Miriam and the women in verse 21 as they danced.  That is the call to all of us, the plant and the grafted in ones, in Isaiah 12.

Our reading ends with praise, praise to the Holy One.  Were we not to praise Him we would be no better than a lamp hidden under a bushel.  Come Lord, Yeshua, come.

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