Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Parashat Yitro, Shemot 18:1-20:23
Parashat Yitro (Jethro)
In this Torah Portion we have seven total readings, starting with Jethro going to meet with Moses and ending with God speaking to the children of Israel with His very own word from heaven. The historical event of the “time of the giving of the Torah” also known as “Z’man Mattan Torah” is shown in this parashat. In Jewish tradition this very significant event of the giving of the Torah is associated with the Feast of Shavout.
In Shemot 19 we see a type of betrothal between God and the Israelite people. Moses being the intercessor between them both or a type of best friend of the bride groom, which in this case God himself is likened to the groom. When God tells Moses to go and speak to the Israelites with the words “if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples, for Mine is the entire earth”. This is a clear proposal statement of God taken for himself the nation of Israel. The people responding to that proposal with the confirmation of “yes that they will obey”, thus accepts the agreement before even knowing what the terms are. This is an act of obedience and willingness to be part of God’s covenantal agreement. The anticipation of belonging to someone after they had been rejected in Egypt for such a long time, only reassures them that they’re no longer rejected and that they’re uniting themselves to the God of their ancestors. In Jewish wedding traditions of today they have a similar type of ceremony, the opening section is called “kiddushin (betrothal)” where all the legal business is taken care of. Often couples include a reading of their “ketubah (marriage contract) as a bridge between the first part of the ceremony and the next part, called “nissuin (nuptials), all while being under a canopy for the ceremony.
It’s at Mt. Sinai where God had told the people that they would return to and would worship Him (Exo 3:12). Here is where we see the awesome manifestation of God by thundering claps and lighting flashes and with a load shofar blast and with a thick cloud covering the mountain. God’s giving of the Torah or His “Words” to the Israelite people is the “Ketubah” or marriage contract where they both enter into a relationship. These words are also known to us as the 10 Commandments and it’s because of Love and kindness that God gives us these instructions; ref: Deu 7:6-13 specially verse 9; Deu 4:37-40, Hos 11:1-4. Torah is the Strongs Hebrew word H:8451 which means "direction, teachings & instructions" it derives from the Hebrew word "Yarah" H3384 which meaning "to shoot an arrow" or "hitting the mark" in an archer's term. In contrast the word sin is the opposite of this meaning "missing the mark" also an archer's term. That's why the biblical definition of sin found in 1 John 3:4 "Everyone who sins breaks the law, in fact sin is lawlessness" therefore the reason why the Antichrist is called the man of lawlessness, ref: 2 Thes 2:3, contrast to the embodiment of Torah in Yeshua is who is called the "Righteous One" ref: 1 Joh 2.
These life giving instructions are full with everyday living and will be the heart of how to live a holy life, how one is to interact with a fellow Israelite in the community, the necessary instructions for temple worship and sacrifice, but most important it’ll be our demonstration of how much we love God by our obedience to them. In essence the Torah is the constitution of the Kingdom of God and the covenantal terms of the Mosaic Covenant. A blessing if kept ref, Deu 28:1-2 “And it will be if you obey the Lord, your God, to observe to fulfill all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord, your God, will place you supreme above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings will come upon you and cleave to you, if you obey the Lord, your God”. And curse if not kept ref, Deu 28:15 “And it will be, if you do not obey the Lord, your God, to observe to fulfill all His commandments and statutes which I am commanding you this day, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you”.
We’re living in the time of scripture being fulfilled like Isa 2:3 “And many peoples shall go, and they shall say, "Come, let us go up to the Lord's mount, to the house of the God of Jacob, and let Him teach us of His ways, and we will go in His paths," for out of Zion shall the Torah come forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
May God continue to teach us His ways!