This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Yitro is taken from Exodus 18:1-20:26. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he zeros in on the life of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, whose ultimate decision immediately influenced everyone around him to turn away from idolatry! This powerful example shows us the effect of our actions and how they influence other people in our lives!
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 Parashah Torah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Yitro - Exodus 18:1-20:26
This parashah shows us the power of one life. We see Jethro, a pagan priest, turning his life to Adonai. How did this very influential man succeed in his efforts to sanctify Elohim’s name? Exodus 18:11,12 says, “And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to Elohim; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before Elohim. Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to Elohim.” As a result of Jethro’s decision, everyone immediately distanced themselves from their idolatry as they realized there was no truth in it.
Elohim’s purpose is to make Israel a nation of witnesses. He wanted the world to know that there was no other god and it would be through their lives and the examples they lead that would change the world. They were to be Elohim’s chosen people; this weight was placed upon their shoulders. This is the reason why Elohim would punish them when they were disobedient- it wasn’t just about them! The world was watching, salvation was dependent upon their walk with Elohim.
Jethro teaches us a great lesson in his journey to becoming a Hebrew, one who “crosses over”. It is not enough to think about one’s own relationship with Elohim but rather how one can affect others that are around you. The sages say that HaShem judges a person’s own actions but each person has a sphere of influence beyond himself, which includes his family, students and any person with whom you come in contact. The way you influence these people is through your own actions, and we will be judged in that area of our life as well. If by observing our behavior, they learn to improve their “avodat HaShem” (service of Elohim), then he will receive much reward. If the opposite occurs then he will be judged for his part in their sins just as he is judged for his own. This is a sobering thought! Our actions do not take place in a vacuum. We are always being noticed by others. We must be constantly aware of possible effects we can have on others without even directly communicating with them.
Elohim wanted Israel, as well as us, to be the example of a powerful relationship between Him and them (us). So the world may know what actually is a covenant relationship. In the same way our marriages are to be an example of Yeshua and His bride, the assembly, His corporate body. I Peter 2:9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Why? So that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness, a people for Elohim’s own possession. How does that happen? Remember in Exodus 6:7 Adonai told the children of Israel, “I will take you for My people, and I will be your Elohim.” This statement is an expression used in the marriage ceremony, the ancient eastern wedding formulation was, “You will be my wife; I will be your husband.”
In Hebrew it is common to speak of marriage as “taking a wife.” Elohim likened Himself to a suitor and the people of Israel to the young woman He was courting. He wasn’t content to simply redeem them from slavery, but He wanted to take them as His very own people and enjoy an intimate relationship with them. Elohim wanted to enter a covenant relationship, a contractual arrangement that specifies the terms and conditions of a relationship. This marriage metaphor is a good way to understand the covenant at Sinai. At the foot of Sinai, Elohim Himself, officially asked Israel for her hand in marriage. In Exodus 19:5 it says to be His peculiar treasure (possession). The Hebrew word for possession is “segulah”. “Segulah” was a term used to describe a king’s prized trophy! When a king’s army vanquished an enemy, the king kept the “most valuable” items for His own treasure. These precious objects were called a “Segulah”. It is a term of endearment! Even though He owns all the earth, Israel will always be His special people.
Elohim sees us as His “own treasure” and every one who turns to Him in faith and love, spirit and in truth, is added to His special treasure- His holy people. In this parashah, Elohim is the groom; Israel is His bride; the Torah is the Ketubah; Moses is the liaison, a type of Messiah Yeshua. In Jewish wedding customs, the friend of the bridegroom was the intermediary between the couple. The friend’s job was to present the bride to the groom. Moses, as a friend of Elohim, was responsible for negotiating the match. Through Moses, Elohim offered to make Israel His own possession among all the peoples.
John the Immerser is like Moses…by calling Israel to repent, John was preparing the people to meet the bridegroom, just as the friend of the bridegroom led the bride to her husband (John 3:27-30). Today, in the very same fashion, you and I, in these last days, are acting as a friend of the bridegroom as we become witnesses of His Kingdom.
We are to be kings and priests, which in biblical understanding serves as an intermediary between Elohim and human beings. When we serve Elohim, keeping His commandments (all of them) and worshipping Him as is befitting, we represent humanity. When we interact with the rest of humanity, we represent Elohim. People who do not know Elohim can look at believers of Yeshua and their behavior and learn about what Elohim is like.
What a privilege being a part of Elohim’s special people, His own possession but what a responsibility to “show-and-tell” the rest of the world who Elohim really is. We are to be a perpetual witness and testimony of the One True Elohim.
If the covenant ceremony at Mt. Sinai can be compared to a wedding, then the Sabbath can be compared to a wonderful wedding gift. This gift, wrapped in blessings and holiness, is a gift that continues to radiate the love of Elohim every week. Exodus 20:8 in Hebrew language says, “Remember”, which has a clear covenant connotation. “Remember” means “to act in faithfulness to the covenant”. Just like Elohim “remembered Noah in the Ark; Elohim “remembered Sarah when He opened her womb. Elohim is telling Israel to show faithfulness to His covenant by keeping the Sabbath. Deut. 5:12 uses the word “observe”, and Exodus 20:8 uses the word “Remember” so we keep the commandments by doing them. The Sabbath is His gift to us…our observance is our gift to Him!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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Enjoy the gift that Elohim has given to you. Give Him the praise and honor due His name. Have a great Sabbath and Remember and observe this glorious appointed day!