Friday, June 1, 2018

The Weight of Light | Beha'alotcha | By His EVERY Word

Parashat Beha’alotcha  

פרשת בהעלתך

“When You Set Up”

Torah: Numbers 8:1-12:16
Haftarah: Zechariah 2:10-4:7
B’rit Chadashah/New Covenant: 1 Corinthians 10:6-13

Shabbat | 2 June 2018 | 19 Sivan 5778

The Weight of Light

Light is sown for the righteous, 
And gladness for the upright in heart.

Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, 
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy Name.

Psalm 97:11,12

It is not in the human soul to ever be satisfied. Thus we find our very human processional traversing time and space, often oblivious to the most glorious of miracles that attend their way. 
Exemplifying all that is common in the fabric of man, our wilderness company may move from exaltation and prophesying, to contempt and complaining in a heartbeat.
From time immemorial to this day, we witness a universal battle. Adonai beckons His beloved heavenward, but the soul enslaved to internal lust prefers the garlic and leeks of bondage to the God-given bread of true freedom.
What is it that may preserve the soul once apprehended by the love of his Master?
How can feeble legs carry the pilgrim ever upward?
Keep to the sure path, tried and true:
Faithfulness... Trust... Thanksgiving to God...

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, 
And He saved them out of their distresses. 
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, 
And broke their chains in pieces. 
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, 
And for His wonderful works to the children of men! 
Psalm 107:13-15

Join us now at the Father’s table as we keep the rhythm of Israel for more than two millennia, anticipating fresh manna from our God and King. As followers of Messiah we have added a corresponding New Covenant portion reflecting the fulfillment and crown of the Torah. 

On June 10, we remember the conclusion of the miraculous and prophetic Six Day War in 1967. For the first time in nearly two millennia, Israel regained sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, proving miracles still happen! 
Although Israel returned control of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, and gave governing jurisdiction of the Temple Mount to the Islamic Waqf (rather than raze or take over the Muslim places of worship as the Arabs do in conquered lands), Israel's victory has been a constant flash point for conflict with both Arabs and on the world stage. 

Unless one applies himself to serious research, it is extremely difficult to discern truth from the constant avalanche of deception that floods most western media, publications, and even university campuses and some church denominations.

Israel is the "apple of God's eye," (Zech. 2:8) and therefore important to all who love Him and claim His Word. 

Please pray always for the well-being of Jerusalem. (Psalm 122) And arm yourself with truth.

Following are some interesting links regarding the Six Day War:

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs | Israel’s Wars | The Six Day War

Extracts from an address by
Winston Churchill, Johannesburg
Those first moments as Jews saw and touched the ancient holy walls were recorded. Warriors broke into prayer, praise, and holy weeping, to the voice of the ancient shofar, sounded by General Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief chaplain of the IDF, signifying its liberation at the Hand of God:
“The Wall was before us. I trembled. There it was as I had known it—immense, mighty, in all its splendor...overcome, I bowed my head in silence.” –General Uzi Narkiss, Head of Central Command during the Six Day War
“I felt truly shaken and stood there murmuring a prayer for peace. Motta Gur’s paratroopers were struggling to reach the Wall and touch it. We stood among a tangle of rugged, battle-weary men who were unable to believe their eyes or restrain their emotions. Their eyes were moist with tears, their speech incoherent. The overwhelming desire was to cling to the Wall, to hold on to that great moment as long as possible.” –Chief of Staff Yitzchak Rabin
“I am speaking to you from the plaza of the Western Wall, the remnant of our Holy Temple. ‘Comfort my people, comfort them, says the Lord your God.’ This is the day we have hoped for, let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation. The vision of all generations is being realized before our eyes: The city of God, the site of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the symbol of the nation’s redemption, have been redeemed today by you, heroes of the Israel Defense Forces. By doing so you have fulfilled the oath of generations, ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.’ Indeed, we have not forgotten you, Jerusalem, our holy city, our glory. In the name of the entire Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora, I hereby recite with supreme joy, Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us in life, who has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this day. This year in Jerusalem—rebuilt! “ –General Shlomo Goren, Chaplain of the Israeli Defense Forces, at the Western Wall
“We have returned to all that is holy in our land. We have returned never to be parted from it again.” –Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, upon reaching the Western Wall

Israelis and Jews all over the world recognized this momentous event as a gift from God. A genuine miracle in our time! God had reunified Jerusalem and placed it back under Jewish sovereignty—as well as more than tripling her land—against all odds!
How does Israel survive AGAINST ALL ODDS? Modern-day Israel is truly a divine wonder of the current age. How has it triumphed through four major wars and survived relentless terrorist attacks? 

MEET THE ACTUAL PEOPLE, ARAB AND ISRAELI SOLDIERS, who lived through what can only be described as miracles of Biblical proportions, and share their remarkable stories.

MODERN DAY MIRACLE at Michmash; Shula: The Girl Who Became a Spy; The Miracle of Survival: Hitler and the Holocaust; A Boy Named Ezra; The Miracle of '48; 1967!; A Warrior Named Kahalani; The People of the Book Come Home; PA Place of Miracles? Myth or Miracles? Rescue at Entebbe; In Search of a Miracle.

Watch this inspiring production FREE on Amazon Prime! (Or purchase 6 DVD set.)

Numbers 8:1-26  Let There Be Light

The lampstand, or menorah
portrayed on the Arch of Titus,
Wikimedia Commons

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you mount the lamps, the seven lamps will give light in the front of the lampstand.’” Aaron therefore did so; he mounted its lamps at the front of the lampstand, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. vv. 1-3

Israel was called to be “a light to the nations,” (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6) aptly symbolized by the menorah—the seven branched lampstand. In every sense, Israel has fulfilled that calling—even in her failures—for she has been an example to mankind, exactly as the Bible says. I Corinthians 10:11 

Through Israel, the nations have come to the knowledge of the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Through Israel mankind received the Holy Scriptures. From Israel salvation came to the world, through Messiah Yeshua, Jesus.

Rome thought the light of the God of Israel was successfully extinguished when Jerusalem was sacked in 70AD, and the Holy Temple razed and burned to the ground. The victory is commemorated on the Titus Arch in Rome, a Triumphal Arch depicting the spoils of war borne aloft by the returning soldiers. The Temple Menorah is a prominent feature of the relief.
For a season, blindness has come to Israel and Adonai has turned His Face to the nations, fulfilling His promise to Abram. (Genesis 12:3) Yet even in this season, Israel remains a light.  
God promised to preserve Israel, (Isaiah 42, et. al,) and He has, against all odds! Every year when the giant Chanukah menorah is erected in city squares around the world by Orthodox Jewish communities, it testifies to the veracity of the Bible and the faithfulness of God.
Where Israel failed is the very same battleground those of the church fall upon—the commandment to be holy, to show forth the holiness of Adonai, and to love God by His definition of love—to obey His commandments.

In this, the call has not changed. Are you a child of light? Then you are called to live in the light.

“...what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? 
And what communion has light with darkness?” 
II Corinthians 6:14

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. 
Walk as children of light...” 
Ephesians 5:8

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, 
but rather expose them.” 
Ephesians 5:11

Numbers 11:1-34  The Graves of Lust

“We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic...” v. 5

From time immemorial to this day, we witness a universal battle. Adonai beckons His beloved heavenward, but the soul enslaved to internal lust prefers the garlic and leeks of bondage to the God-given bread of true freedom. 

“You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the LORD who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, ‘Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?’ Now a wind went out from the LORD, and it brought quail from the sea and left [them] fluttering near the camp...

"But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was aroused against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague. So he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving.” vv. 19-34

In Hebrew Kibroth-hattaavah קברות התאוה means graves of lust.
Excerpted from Matthew Henry’s insightful commentary on Numbers 11: 
“God performed his promise to the people, in giving them flesh. How much more diligent men are in collecting the meat that perishes, than in labouring for meat which endures to everlasting life! We are quick-sighted in the affairs of time; but stupidity blinds us as to the concerns of eternity. To pursue worldly advantages, we need no arguments; but when we are to secure the true riches, then we are all forgetfulness. Those who are under the power of a carnal mind, will have their lusts fulfilled, though it be to the certain damage and ruin of their precious souls. They paid dearly for their feasts. God often grants the desires of sinners in wrath, while he denies the desires of his own people in love. What we unduly desire, if we obtain it, we have reason to fear, will be some way or other a grief and cross to us. And what multitudes there are in all places, who shorten their lives by excess of one kind or other! Let us seek for those pleasures which satisfy, but never surfeit; and which will endure for evermore.”
Numbers 12:1-16  Blessed are the Humble...

Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, ‘Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?’ And the LORD heard it. (Now the man Moses [was] very humble, more than all men who [were] on the face of the earth.) Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, ‘Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!’ So the three came out. Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. Then He said, ‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?’ So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper.” vv. 1-10

In the face of murmuring, Moses is revealed as “very humble, more than all men were on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:2) Gesenius’ Lexicon adds insight to Moses’ character as one who, “prefers to bear injuries rather than return them.” A great example of this virtue is Moses’ heartfelt intercession for Miriam after the LORD’s anger caused her to become leprous for having questioned his authority and sniped about his Ethiopian wife with Aaron. “So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘Please heal her, O God, I pray!’” Numbers 12:13

As a Messianic figure, this is not surprising. Yeshua continues to impress this virtue upon His followers. It is so contrary to human nature, that the light of God shines through the renewed soul, able to overcome the base impulse to seek retribution, and instead, to bestow mercy. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44
The anger of the LORD was greatly aroused against Miriam and Aaron for speaking against Moses. In Hebraic commentary this is known as lashon hara, the evil tongue—a destructive sin throughout the Scriptures. Consider the serious exhortation in James: “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. James 1:26

He goes on to explain the seriousness of the problem: “... the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. James 3:6-10

Adonai is not finished with His work. He is ever expanding the tent pegs of His House. He resides today in earthen vessels ... cracked, repaired, bearing the scars of war. The Divine Lampstand reveals what is hidden, consumes the chaff, and overcomes the darkness, to His glory. A vessel that bears the glorious light chooses the deliberate path, paved with devotion and faithfulness rather than selfishness and self-seeking. It’s uncomfortable to the natural man. Yet there is no neutral ground. We walk one way or another.

“How long will you falter between two opinions? 
If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” 
I Kings 18:21

Haftarah Beha'alotcha
Zechariah 2:10-4:7

The Haftarah portion takes us to the book of Zechariah, a prophetic book, that for the exception of Isaiah has more Messianic predictions than any other of the prophetic books. The link between this week's Torah portion in Numbers and Zechariah 2:10-4:7 is found in the Menorah. The Parashat Beha’alotcha, our Torah portion, opens with direction on the lighting of the menorah in Numbers eight, and the Haftarah portion closes with a view to the menorah and the olive trees. But what we’ll take a brief look at in this week’s Zechariah section is of a different theme.  

At this point in Israel’s historical timeline, more than 50,000 exiles had returned from the Babylonian captivity to the Southern kingdom of Israel. The date was 538 B.C. Because of the Persian victory over Babylon allowing this return and Cyrus‘ decree, these Jews had rebuilt the foundation of the Temple by 536. At this point, however, due to local opposition the restoration stalled for about 15 years until Darius Hystaspes (1:1) reconfirmed the decree by Cyrus to rebuild the Temple. With the encouragement of both the prophets Haggai and Zechariah the Temple was then completed in 516 B.C.

It seems that doing God’s work always invites opposition from the Devil. This rebuilding process was no different. Two key figures in this story were the Davidic heir to the throne, Zerubbabel ben Shealtiel, and the high priest, Joshua. Obviously Satan was not happy about the roles each was playing and so he indicts Joshua before the throne of God. We have this account in Zechariah 3:1-7. 

Satan is busy in his efforts to discredit God’s children. Here this is seen in Zechariah’s vision of the dirty clothes on Joshua. God presides as judge and Satan as the prosecutor. In fact the word for satan in Hebrew can mean prosecutor. The text does not tell us specifically what Joshua is accused of, only that he is wearing dirty clothes. Most likely, according to the sages, he is being accused of offenses which involve the returned Jewish remnant. The remedy? God dresses Joshua in clean clothes and his prosecutor is rebuked. The devil is always ready to thwart the plan of God—here it is to rebuild the Temple—and Adonai is ever ready to enable those willing to serve Him.
And what of the work of the accuser today? It doesn’t look like much has changed. Revelation 12:10 tells us that the Devil is busy accusing the saints before God night and day. And what is our “new clothes” remedy? It is nothing short of the Messiah’s work on the cross for us.  
“Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” Romans 8:33-34
Isn’t it wonderful to know that we have nothing short of the Savior Himself as our defense attorney. And because of His blood shed for us ... He’ll never lose a case

B'rit Chadashah Beha'alotcha

1 Corinthians 10:6-13

Our selected B’rit Chadashah passage is 1 Corinthians 10:6-13, a letter that addresses troubles in the church at Corinth. These troubles were severe enough that even death for the very errant saint had been meted out by God. 11:30 
In this section of Scripture the Apostle Paul is drawing upon specific Old Testament events to illustrate potential present day problem areas; and he is saying that even if the present day issue is as big as that illustrated by these Old Testament events there is always victory available.
Verses 6 and 11 encapsulate these illustrative events. Verse 6 says, “Now these things happened as examples for us...”  and verse 11, “Now these things happened to them as an example...” So what are, “these things?” Out of a laundry list of problems the God of the Old Testament had Paul select these four.
The first is that they were idolators. Verse 7 says, “Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, ‘THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.’" This is a reference to Exodus 32:4,6, and 19. There, because of Moses’ delay in coming down from the mountain the people fell back into the old ways of Egypt, worshiping idols. Because of impatience godly leadership was forsaken and a return to the way many of them had seen it done before was substituted.

The second is that they acted immorally. Verse 8 says, “Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.” In view here is Numbers 25:1-9. Verses 1-3 read, “While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel.” Immoral—here, sexual behaviorwas how it started. That breakdown led to another, the violation of the first commandment. Because of sexual compromise the men took up worship of other gods.

The third is that they tried the Lord. Verse 9 says, “Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.” Numbers 21:4-9 records this event. It seems that food and water were the trigger points here. To be sure these are staples of life, it’s just that these folks didn’t like the menu selection or the frequency of delivery. In short they complained about what Adonai was giving them.

The fourth is that they grumbled. Verse 10 says, “Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” The meaning of this word “grumble” is interesting. It’s to murmur, mutter, say something against in a low tone. It’s associated with the cooing of doves, of those who confer secretly together, and those who discontentedly complain. My goodness. Sounds like some of our congregations as they reflect upon their assemblies’ leadership, doesn’t it. Only, unfortunately for these complainers it got much worse than just vocalizing complaint against congregational leadership.  

Paul’s reference here is to the story of the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16 and 17. There the people turn against Moses and Aaron claiming these two are exalting themselves above the assembly of the Lord. (16:1-3) Adonai then quickly and miraculously dispatches the leading rebels by swallowing them alive into the earth (16:31-34) and consuming the remaining 250 grumblers in fire. 16:35 
One might think that this would prove that Moses and Aaron were doing just what God would have them do. After all it wasn’t them that were swallowed by the earth or consumed in fire. But no, the confrontation didn’t end there.
Our text tells us in verse 16:41 that even after seeing what God had done, the Israelites chose to grumble against Moses and Aaron. In 16:5 and 10, we see that God views the grumblings against His servants as grumblings against Him. 

Now there is something for us to chew on as we identify the shortcomings of our assemblies’ leadership and share them with others; murmuring, muttering, secretly, and as the cooing of a dove. Could that be any of us as we avoid the correct process of Galatians 6:1 and Matthew 18:15-17. If so we might just fall under the wrath of God ourselves. Grumbling against God’s selected leadership IS hazardous business.  

Reconsidering now I Corinthians 10:6 and 11, we see in verse 6 that these examples were given that we as a people of God should not crave evil things. Points one through four are evil things, aren’t they. And verse 11 states that these examples were given for our instruction. Interesting isn’t it that a child of God could CRAVE any of the above four things. No, not me, you say. but what does verse 12 say? “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” I guess no matter who we are or our spiritual maturity level we could fall into any of the above sins.There is hope of relief though.

1 Corinthians 10:13 has the answer and it is an all encompassing one. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
In context this promise applies specifically to the four areas immediately above. They are: idolatry, sexual immorality, trying God, and grumbling. However, the broader understanding is that this promise applies to all temptations. Therefore, “No temptation” means every possible temptation that might come your way. And what exactly is a, “temptation?”
Our common understanding of ‘temptation” is that it is a draw to sin. In other words, if the negative outcome of whatever is drawing you is not sin, this verse is not applicable to your particular circumstance. This line of thought logically followed would mean that illness, since it does not necessarily have a draw to sin, can not apply here. Or sorrow over a lost loved one (?), also not covered here. How about overload at work? If logically followed, no, not covered here. But what does “temptation” really mean here? 

Temptation may be defined in several ways. Here are some possibilities:

(1) the trial of man's fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy
(2) an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances
(3) an internal temptation to sin
(4) of the condition of things, or a mental state, by which we are enticed to sin, or to a lapse from the faith and holiness
(5) adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one's character, faith, holiness
(6) rebellion against God, by which his power and justice are, as it were, put to the proof and challenged to show themselves

One of the basic rules of interpretation is that of “context.” True meaning must be determined by what goes before and what comes after. We already know what comes before our “No temptation” verse. But what comes after? Here’s what it says, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” (v.14) That is an overt sin issue.  So I think we must conclude that verse 13 applies specifically to matters that may lead one to sin.

But I have always felt that in the definition above, point (5), had its place in verse 13 as well. 

It’s that: “adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one's character, faith, holiness.” Is it warranted in the thought of verse 13? I think so, and this is how.
I have been privileged in recent days to make the acquaintance of an individual who has a very debilitating disease. Whereas he was once healthy, now he has—medically speaking—no chance of recovery. He will only continue to physically deteriorate and ultimately succumb to this affliction. But he is strong spiritually (I’m told he was, even before he fell ill.) and every time I see him he seems only to have grown anew in trusting and loving our Lord. I can only imagine how large in faith this dear saint will become before our Lord calls him home? I wonder if he has ever thought of his circumstance as an, “adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one's character, faith, holiness.” I’m sure he must, BUT verse 13 cannot apply, UNLESS this is a matter that may lead one to sin. Could it in this case? Yes.
Consider Job and his physical distress, not to mention his family and financial losses. Do you think verse 13 could apply to him. Certainly, because even though his immediate circumstances were not in and of themselves temptations to sin, those circumstances given their free reign might have become matters that could have lead him to sin. And out of his circumstances wasn’t it suggested to him, to sin? What did his wife say to him? “Curse God, and die.” Job 2:9

Our Lord had these same kinds of circumstances of testing. And these circumstances could have led to sin ... given it had been somebody else being tested. Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was tempted in all points as we are. The Greek base word for “test” here is the same as in Matthew 4:1 where Satan “tempted” Jesus through circumstances, as it is the same in I Corinthians 10:13 where we are told that there is no testing that isn’t common to mankind.

So the possibility of being involved in matters that are not sinful ...  in and of themselves but that could be allowed to turn into that which may lead one to sin ... is real. What can we conclude then about I Corinthians 10:13.
First, there is no temptation to sin known to mankind that God will allow to come your way, that He will not enable you to endure and ultimately escape. You are not bound to failure
Second, while all circumstances are not of a nature that one is automatically tempted to sin, they can become that if allowed. 
And third, no matter what one is going through God will show us the path to escape it becoming sin and will give us Godly endurance to bear up under it
While His purposes will always be served in our lives—perhaps in bliss, but maybe through pain, or trial, God’s love will always be present for us. It is what will carry us through. 

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? 
Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, 
or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, 
nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, 
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other created thing, 
will be able to separate us from the love of God, 
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  Romans 8:35-39

In Messiah’s Love,

His EVERY Word Ministries