This week's Haftorah reading is from Jeremiah 33:25,26 - 34:8-22. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he deep-dives into the ultimate purpose of the Commandments found in the Torah and what our perspective, as Believers in Messiah Yeshua, should be!
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 33:25,26 - 34:8-22
In this Haftorah the commandments called “Mishpatim” are different from the other categories of commandments. In typical Christianity, they view the Torah (Old Testament) as a covenant of rules and regulations that cannot possibly be followed. These laws or commandments are looked upon as bondages, outdated, something that needed to be replaced by grace. If we have looked at the Word of Elohim as a “whole” we would have definitely seen it differently. We see an importance of freedom and liberty that are woven into the very fabric of Torah and how disastrous it was when Israel failed to extend freedom to others as Elohim had commanded. We discover what the basic cause of almost all anger and frustration is in our own lives and ask the question…do we really want to be free?
Elohim defines what is right in His sight – righteousness, right behavior, as opposed to unrighteousness or sin – as keeping a commandment of Torah. Elohim gave His body of instruction in righteousness and sin, Torah (which in Hebrew means: instructions, teachings) to Moses by revelation in the form of commandments. What is sad is that we have been ingrained with a negative view of Torah—why? We all know that we are saved by faith and not works! No one has even implied this was the case. We also know that faith without works is dead. Who wants a dead faith, a faith without absolutely no life? So, now that we have given our life to Yeshua, why is it wrong to learn and follow Torah? Certainly, we want to know Elohim’s definition of righteous behavior and sinful behavior. We all want our steps to be ordered by Elohim…correct? We should desire to live our lives in this temporary world in a way that is right in the sight of Adonai.
In fact, Paul told us that the things that happened to Israel in her history, happened for our sake, to be an example for us. I Cor. 10:6-11, “Now these things took place as prefigurative historical events, warning us not to set our hearts on evil things as they did. Don’t be idolaters, as some of them were—as the Tanankh puts it, “The people sat down to eat and drink, then got up to indulge in revelry.” And let us not engage in sexual immorality, as some of them did, with the consequence that 23,000 died in a single day. And let us not put the Messiah to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by snakes. And don’t grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the Destroying Angel. These things happened to them as prefigurative historical events, and they were written down as a warning to us who are living in the last days.”
We look at Judah under King Zedekiah: they were saved from slavery in Egypt before they had done anything good or bad. Elohim delivered the by the blood of the Passover Lamb before they even heard one definition of righteousness or sin. Yet, they pledged themselves to Elohim, to be His people, He asked them to walk in His ways of righteousness and to do what was right in His sight. They refused to be obedient to Him or His commands. Because of it they brought destruction on themselves. In Jeremiah 34:8-11, Zedekiah had made a covenant to set free the Hebrew slaves as commanded by the Torah, however, he transgressed and enslaved them. He changed his mind! This caused Elohim to respond and declare in Jeremiah 34:17-22 that He would set every man free to go to the sword, pestilence, and famine because of their disobedience of not proclaiming liberty to their neighbor. The result of their disobedience brought them trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth because they forsook the covenant they made with Elohim.
Elohim in verse 21 says. “He will give Zedekiah and his officials into the hand of their enemies—the king of Babylon’s army. He will command Nebuchadnezzar to return to the city, fight against it, take it down and burn it with fire.” Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem three separate times, but each time the king Zedekiah repented and Nebuchadnezzar went away from them. On the third siege, however, when Zedekiah was king, Nebuchadnezzar had enough of the rebellion of the kings of Judah and his intent was to overcome the city and remove the house of David from being king. Zedekiah sent to Jeremiah for a word from Adonai, hoping that Adonai would intervene in some miraculous way and deliver them. However, Jeremiah prophesied, “But your fathers did not obey Me nor incline their ear.”
The covenant which Adonai made with Israel when they came out of Egypt was the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, with its statutes and judgments that explained how to keep the Ten. These are the commandments of Torah. Here Adonai highlights a commandment that we might consider auxiliary, unnecessary: not something as important as one of the Ten, and says of it that it was the covenant that He made with Israel when they came out of Egypt. In other words, all the commandments of Torah, Adonai’s commandments, are part of His covenant with Israel, not just the Ten. This is because all the commandments of Torah reveal how to keep the Ten.
Re-enslaving their brothers and sisters was no insignificant matter, and they would pay for their covenant-breaking behavior with the loss of their own freedom when they were taken into captivity.
What about today? Elohim wants His children to keep their word, to follow His commandments. It is important to be sincere when we tell Him that we will serve Him and do what He wants us to do. We need to follow through and live out that commitment. Our obedience is demonstrated, in part, by keeping our word. Elohim will honor those who keep His Word and their commitments. How do we respond to Elohim’s word in our lives? Do we renege on our promises to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind? We have made our declaration to pick up our cross and follow Him, but depending on the situation do we shrink back? Where is our moral backbone? Do we care more for the things of this world than we do about the Word of Elohim? What is Elohim to do with us? How far have our hearts gone and what happen to our own attitudes toward Him? These are questions we need to ask ourselves.
We are living in the last hours and the consequences of our unrepentant hearts are about to unfold. If we were wise, we would cry out to Elohim and throw ourselves at His feet and ask for mercy and forgiveness. II Chron. 7:14, “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” What is sad is that we are just like the children of Judah…we want to be free, free to disobey Elohim and ignore His laws and we also want freedom from our enemies at the same time. We want the best of both worlds. However, there is no freedom in disobedience! Elohim gave the disobedient king and his people the only freedom afforded them—freedom to fall by the sword, by plague and by famine. I believe this fate belongs to the majority of the “church” today. I believe it is time we ask Elohim to help us not be so stubborn and hard-hearted. We need to seek His face and His Word so we won’t be so willfully disobedient and selfish. Let’s ask Him to soften our hearts and help us draw near to Him and to renew our covenant with Abba and follow Him and His commandments because “Father knows best”.
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Have a blessed Sabbath! Give Yeshua everything. Worship Him as you join the corporate body for the holy convocation. See you at the altar!