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Commentary - Year 1 Sabbath 24

Genesis 26:12-35   -   Isaiah 62:8   -   Psalm 21   -   Luke 16:1-15
 

 

Elul 20, 5761 / Sept  8, 2001

Elul 18, 5764 / Sept  4, 2004 

Elul 18, 5767 / Sept  1, 2007

Elul 18, 5770 / Aug 28, 2010

Elul 18, 5773 / Aug 24, 2013

Elul 21, 5776 / Sept 24, 2016

 

Vayizra Yitschak / And Issac sowed   SCRIPTURES should be read first

 

Isaac stayed in the Promised Land, and “kept the garden.” He faithfully fulfilled his priesthood, so that others knew of Yahweh through him. God made him great, even in the eyes of other nations. It is the man Isaac, not the land or crops, with whom the blessing is associated.

 

In a relatively unfertile area, and in an unfavorable year for agriculture, he reaped an hundredfold. “A blessing is not found in that which is weighed, measured, or counted” (Bava Metzia 42a), but it was estimated on account of tithes.

 

(V. 13) “The man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy” – God adding as Isaac showed he could properly handle increased wealth. Isaac’s wealth became so great that, (a Midrash says) the Philistines declared, “Rather the manure of Isaac’s mules than Abimelech’s gold.” [James 5:3 –  Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is for the last days that you have stored up your treasure!]

 

The Philistines, in their jealousy, filled up the wells that Avraham had dug; thus they broke the covenant they had made with Avraham (v. 21:27). Isaac redug the wells, and gave them the same names that his father had given them. In God’s purpose, the wells provided water for Avraham, but not for the jealous Philistines, and then again for Isaac. The next wells, for which the Philistines fought, he named “Esek,” meaning protest, and “Sitnah” (related to “satan”) meaning enmity; Isaac left the area after this contest. He dug another well, calling it “Rechovot” – spaciousness, saying “At last Yahweh has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.”

 

The first well, Esek, is seen to represent the First Temple, which signifies contention with the nations who finally destroyed it. The second well, Sitnah, is seen to represent the Second Temple, with the greater enmity of the nations that destroyed it and sent Israel into exile. The third well, Rechovot, is seen to represent the Third Temple, which will be free of contention; God will enlarge our borders, and we will be fruitful in the land.

 

Out of fear, Isaac went up to the more central part of the Promised Land, Beer Sheba, where he was born, and where Avraham had made the covenant with Abimelech. There God appeared to him, saying, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, for the sake of My servant Abraham.” Around Gerar, after Isaac moved away, “the wells dried up and the trees bore no fruit” (Targum Yonasan), so Abimelech came to Isaac, recognizing that Yahweh was with him, to reaffirm the covenant.

 

The theme, of following God and then being blessed in material ways, is exemplified by Isaac (in the Torah portion), by Moses (in Hebrews 11, below), by the people of future Jerusalem (in the Isaiah portion), and by David and Yeshua (in today’s Psalm).

 

In the Torah portion, we note that Isaac was spiritually inclined, while Esau was worldly minded. Isaac wanted to promote worship of Yahweh (he desired the priesthood), and was blessed in minding the farm. Esau was concerned with this world, and married idol-worshipping wives (v.34).

 

In Hebrews 11, we read of Moses rejecting a role in the Pharaoh’s house of riches, in order to have a part with the Children of God. That meant forgoing some temporal pleasures of sin, and enduring some hardships, because the future was so much more important.

 

Today’s Psalm (21:10) reiterates that the wicked – David’s enemies – are going to be destroyed from earth. Ultimately, this Psalm is about Yeshua.

 

But, what about believers? What will the righteous be doing, that they should be desiring and preparing for today?

 

In either case, we will not be sitting in front of a TV or movie screen watching shows that glorify sin, or attending ball games where their entrance fees make gross salaries for proud sinners to knock a ball around. We will not be climbing the ladder of corporate success, or showing off in our sport boats or cars.

 

We will not be strutting religious titles to make a name and money for ourselves, and we won’t be acting spiritual by claiming that God showed us things that God never thought of.

 

But the righteous will remain forever (Psalm 37:11, Matthew 5:5), and delight in peace. They will not be floating on clouds, but living safely in houses, and tending gardens growing the best of foods (Isaiah 65:21-23). They will not be celebrating pagan holidays, or just fulfilling requirements of being “in church”, but will be enjoying God’s Sabbaths and memorial Feasts, and worshipping wholeheartedly.

 

So, how many really desire to walk with God, in righteousness, rather than live like sinful worldlings? How many really want to be overcomers now, and walk with Yeshua in Eden of the future?

 

(Hebrews 11:24) By faith Moses opted to serve God, rather than be rich under a worldly king. He had respect for the promised eternal future, rather than fleeting pleasure.

 

We are building an eternal house for ourselves (1 Corinthians 3:12). What kind of house are we building? We can use gold, silver, and precious stones – meaning things that will last, or we can use wood, hay, and stubble – meaning things that will be destroyed.

 

_______

 

(9/6/2001 News)  CHRISTIANITY has almost been vanquished in Britain, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor told a gathering of priests yesterday.
“A tacit atheism prevails. Death is assumed to be the end of life. Our concentration on the here-and-now renders a thought of eternity irrelevant.”
“It does seem in our countries in Britain today, especially in England and Wales, that Christianity, as a sort of backdrop to people’s lives and moral decisions — and to the Government, the social life of the country — has now almost been vanquished.”
Increasing numbers of people now gain their “glimpses of the transcendant” from involvement in music, New Age movements and green issues. “I could go on about this and talk also about the rise in New Age and occult practices and the search being made by young people for

something in which, or someone in whom, they can place their complete trust.”
People were seeking transient happiness in alcohol, drugs, pornography and recreational sex, the Cardinal said.
“There is indifference to Christian values and to the Church among many young people and, indeed, not only the young. You see quite a demoralized society, one where the only good is what I want, the only rights are my own, and the only life with any meaning or value is the life I want for myself.”
“There are many today who think that to believe in God is to limit one’s freedom.”

 

Yeshua said (Luke 16:9), “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”

 

In other words, use your time and ability and money, of this life, to buy riches for your future with Yeshua. Spend your worldly provision with a priority on the eternal.

 

Ephesians 1:18

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints . . .

 

Romans 9: 23-24

. . . that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

 

Hebrews 11:24-28

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; 26 considering the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the first-born might not touch them.

 

Isaac sowed.

 

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

Reader 1* Amen 12 Now Yitzchak sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And Yahweh blessed him, 13 and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; 14 for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. 15 Now all the wells which his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth.

Reader 2* Amen 16 Then Abimelech said to Yitzchak, "Go away from us, for you are too powerful for us." 17 And Yitzchak departed from there and camped in the valley of Gerar, and settled there. 18 Then Yitzchak dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them.

Reader 3* Amen 19 But when Yitzchak's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing water, 20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with the herdsmen of Yitzchak, saying, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, because they contended with him. 21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over it too, so he named it Sitnah.

Reader 4* Amen 22 He moved away from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth, for he said, "At last Yahweh has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land." 23 Then he went up from there to Beersheba. 24 Yahweh appeared to him the same night and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, For the sake of My servant Abraham." 25 So he built an altar there and called upon the name of Yahweh, and pitched his tent there; and there Yitzchak's servants dug a well.

Reader 5* Amen 26 Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with his adviser Ahuzzath and Phicol the commander of his army. 27 Yitzchak said to them, "Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?" 28 They said, "We see plainly that Yahweh has been with you; so we said, 'Let there now be an oath between us, even between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of Yahweh.'"

Reader 6* Amen 30 Then he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 In the morning they arose early and exchanged oaths; then Yitzchak sent them away and they departed from him in peace. 32 Now it came about on the same day, that Yitzchak's servants came in and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, "We have found water." 33 So he called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.

Reader 7* Amen 34 When Esau was forty years old he married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite; 35 and they brought grief to Yitzchak and Rebekah.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

Isaiah 62:8

Reader 8* Amen Yahweh has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm, "I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies; nor will foreigners drink your new wine, for which you have labored."

 

Psalm 21    (To be sung)  For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

1 O Yahweh, in Your strength the king will be glad, and in Your salvation how greatly he will rejoice! 2 You have given him his heart's desire, and You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For You meet him with the blessings of good things; You set a crown of fine gold on his head. 4 He asked life of You, You gave it to him, length of days forever and ever. 5 His glory is great through Your salvation, splendor and majesty You place upon him. 6 For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence. 7 For the king trusts in Yahweh, and through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken. 8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; Your right hand will find out those who hate you. 9 You will make them as a fiery oven in the time of your anger; Yahweh will swallow them up in His wrath, and fire will devour them. 10 Their offspring You will destroy from the earth, and their descendants from among the sons of men. 11 Though they intended evil against You and devised a plot, they will not succeed. 12 For You will make them turn their back; You will aim with Your bowstrings at their faces. 13 Be exalted, O Yahweh, in Your strength; we will sing and praise Your power.

 

 

Luke 16:1-15

Reader 9* Amen 1 Now He (Yeshua) was also saying to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. 2 "And he called him and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.' 3 "The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 'I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.' 5 "And he summoned each one of his master's debtors, and he began saying to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' 6 "And he said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' 7 "Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe?' And he said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.' 8 "And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.

Reader 10* Amen 9 "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings. 10 "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 "And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." 14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. 15 And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."

 


© 2004  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)