April 1, 2023: Haftorah - Jeremiah 7:21-28 - 9:22-23
This week's Haftorah reading is from Jeremiah 7:21-28 - 9:22-23. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he portrays the act of TRUE worship and what is required as an offering of oneself to ELOHIM!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – Jeremiah 7:21-28 - 9:22-23
Elohim speaks through Jeremiah and rebukes His chosen people for not understanding what He desires from them. He instituted the sacrificial offerings but desired them to be done with sincerity, with a heart of fellowship and commitment to the commandments. They would not listen to Elohim to do what He wanted them to do as the Scripture says, “They did not obey nor did they incline their ear, but walked according to their own counsels and in the view of their evil heart, and they went backwards and not forwards.” It was like they lost their faith in Elohim! They had become self-centered not listening to the Words that Jeremiah was speaking even now. In the parashah we see that the priests were diligent in training and preparing before the inauguration of the Tabernacle. Torah repeats over and over again that they did it the way Elohim commanded because they were focused on Elohim and His will. However, in this haftorah their attitude is different! In Jeremiah they are being rebuked because it is all about them, self-centered, denying the fact that they are nothing without Elohim.
In all the details of the sacrificial system it is possible to lose the larger picture. When Elohim told Pharaoh to “let His people go” it was so they could “worship Him”. The sacrificial system is about worship, and all worship, all coming or drawing near to Adonai, involves an offering. The sacrifices do not all deal with sin and forgiveness. In fact, the instructions for the first type of sacrifice, the olah or elevation offering, do not mention sin at all. However, all sacrifices do express worship of Elohim.
The Ruach is teaching us that worship always involves an offering; something we present to Him that ultimately represents us. We must bring ourselves to Adonai as an offering. We are the “living sacrifice”: holy and acceptable unto Adonai which is our reasonable service…living not dead! Since worship requires an offering, it requires fire as well, for it is by fire that the offering actually ascends to Adonai. What had happened to the children of Israel? Their offerings were tainted with self! They thought everything began and ended with them. They forgot the One who brought them out. Sometimes when life seems to be so good, we forget who makes it that way. We start to look at ourselves as our own source and thank ourselves for what we have done but in reality, what can we really do? Nothing without Elohim!
We said that an offering needed fire to be offered so in a way we see the “fire had gone out” in the worship of the Israelites. The commandment, “the fire shall not go out” is important because it represents Adonai; the ever-present and unchangeable Yah. The fire reminds Israel of their encounter with Elohim at Mount Sinai— “the sight of the glory of Adonai was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel” (Ex. 24:17). As the fire burns continually, it reminds Israel that Elohim abides in the camp throughout all their journeys.
Here we see an additional lesson for us as worshipers. We are to worship steadily and continually! Our focus should always be on Him and not ourselves. Yes, there will be high moments of worship but even when there is not, we are to keep the fire of worship burning in our lives at all times, and not let it go out. That is our responsibility…one that is important to our relationship with Elohim and actually to each other as part of His body. Jeremiah speaks to the people because their focus is off and has turned inward. They are going through the motions and offering their sacrifices but with “no fire” in their lives. Elohim admonishes them, “Let not the wise man boast of his riches. But let him that boasts exult in this, that he understands and knows me, for I am Elohim Who practices kindness, justice, and righteousness on the earth; for in these things I delight, says Elohim.”
True worship requires an offering, and a true offering represents the offer of oneself to Elohim. This worship is continual, a fire that cannot be quenched. Such worship defines the holiness to which Leviticus calls us in every chapter. It requires us to make worship the central focus of our lives and to resist the self-centered consumerist values of our day that would treat worship as one commodity among many. As Elohim had brought us out of Egypt, out of bondage of sin, not just to improve our circumstance but that we might worship Him. Like the Israelites, we need a rebuke every once in a while, because our focus gets off, we stray away and become complacent in our lives and worship. Our fire goes out! Yet, real worship means that we offer ourselves to Elohim, not just on special occasions but continually.
The children of Israel had fallen into a state of tradition without relationship which takes the focus off Elohim and onto themselves. However, what is the basic nature of worship? Worship is conversation between Elohim and man. Worship is giving to Elohim and involves a lifetime of giving to Him the sacrifice He asks for: our total selves! It is our affirmative response to the Who Elohim is, the Giver of Life, the One who sustains us. Worship is one’s heart expression of love, adoration, and praise to Elohim with an attitude and acknowledgment of His supremacy and Lordship. Worship is an act by a redeemed man, the creature, toward Elohim, his Creator, whereby his will, intellect and emotions gratefully respond in reverence, honor, and devotion to the revelation of Elohim’s person expressed in the redemptive work of Yeshua HaMashiach, as the Ruach illuminates Elohim’s written Word to his heart. Worship means “to feel in the heart”. Worship also means to express in some appropriate manner what we feel. True worship and praise are “awesome wonder and overpowering love” in the presence of our Yah with our whole being- body, soul, and spirit. Worship is fundamentally Elohim’s Spirit within us and us responding as we answer, “Abba”, deep calling deep. Worship is extravagant love and extreme obedience. However, real worship defies definition; it can only be experienced. True worship is the communion with Elohim experienced by His loved ones. It is intimacy with our true Father-YHVH!
Israel let their fire go out—has our own fire gone out? The function of true worship is more than just an outward ritual. Worship is our spirit corresponding with Elohim’s Ruach. The sought after worshipper will worship not only in spirit but in truth. It takes both spirit and truth to bring balance back into our lives. It shakes off complacency and stale rituals and produces a fire that ignites our spirits and relationship with Adonai.
Worship is simple! Worship is nothing more than opening one’s heart to Elohim and enjoying a relationship of loving communion as you walk in obedience to His Word and put your focus on Him and not yourself. Heed the words of Jeremiah— “Keep the fire going”, stop being self-centered and turn your love to the One who desires it. Stop going through the motions and refocus on the One who is deserving of worship. Pride is probably the greatest hindrance to worship. The very essence of worship is self-abasement and humility. It is time we exult Adonai and not ourselves. Stop giving Elohim lip service—give Him all you are. May Adonai never say to us what He said to Israel, “This is the nation that has not listened to the voice of Adonai their Yah. They won’t take correction; faithfulness has perished; it has vanished from their mouths.” In Jeremiah 9:24 he said, “Let the boaster boast about this; that he understands and knows me- that I am Adonai, practicing grace, justice, and righteousness in the land; for in these things, I take pleasure, “says, Adonai.” And to that I say Amen and Amen!
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Let your worship be a weapon that silences the enemy! Let the fire of the Ruach burn in your life continually. Enjoy the Sabbath as you gather with the different parts of the body to function as one. Let Yeshua inhabit you. Blessing and shalom to you
See you at the altar!