January 14, 2023: Parashat Torah Portion Shemot
This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Shemot is taken from Exodus 1:1-6:1. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he warns us about the trappings of wealth or the pressures of assimilation: The blessings turning into bondages.
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 Shemot - Exodus 1:1-6:1
We must all be aware of the trappings of wealth or the pressures of assimilation. Success and prosperity can quickly turn into bondage if we are not careful. When Ya’akov first went down to Egypt, he went only to stay there until the famine had passed. It was supposed to be temporary. However, temporary turned into a permanent residence just like his father Abraham in Haran. They settled-and yes, they prospered but began to forget their spiritual heritage. They became content with the comforts and luxuries of Egypt. They began to abandon the desires of Elohim’s Kingdom because who needs another kingdom when you have everything you think you need? In Exodus 1:8 it says, “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, He knew nothing about Yosef.” Suddenly this reverses the situation! Safety turns into harm and causes the beginning of a wake-up call. All the things that Israel became accustomed to have now become necessities. They become indispensable needs as we prosper. The blessings turn into bondages from which we can’t escape. So, while we are so focused on materialism, our spiritual health suffers!
Yeshua warned us in Matthew 9:19-24 not store up for ourselves wealth here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and burglars break in and steal. He told us we cannot be a slave to Elohim and money at the same time. While Israel was in Egypt they were lured by the Egyptian society, the longer they lived there it became more attractive to them. So, they began to assimilate into the larger culture. Their way of life became their idol. This is the same threat we as believers experience in our culture. We need to worry about assimilation then persecution. Persecution bands people together and strengthens our convictions. We need to remind ourselves that we are not part of the greater culture.
If we allow ourselves to be enticed, we lose our distinctions of Elohim’s people. This causes us to lose our identity! Don’t fall underneath the spell of our society! What it can give you, do for you, or make you feel. Some rabbis believe, from Jewish commentaries, that the Israelites went so far as to quit circumcising their sons, stop worshipping on Sabbath so that their children would “fit better” with the Egyptians. Doesn’t this sound like the Kehillah today in some aspects?
We need to ask ourselves some questions: IS that us? Are we compromising for the sake of job, money, family or even our children? Do we compromise so that we don’t feel different, left out, strange, or the “odd ball out” within our peer group? Do we even realize we are selling ourselves and our children out to Satan?
In Shemot Rabbah 1:8 it says, “When Joseph died, the children of Israel stopped the ritual of circumcision, they said, “Let’s be like the Egyptians.” Because they quit circumcising themselves, the Holy One, Blessed Be He, reversed the Egyptians friendly attitude toward them.”
What they should have done-what we should do instead of settling down and trying to fit into Egyptian culture is to press toward the mark of the High calling of Yeshua. We should be looking to return to Canaan! If we stay too long in Egypt, if we allow a Egyptian mentality to rule us, we make ourselves and our children vulnerable to the Egyptian (worldly) culture. John 17:11,14-15 says, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” We are not of this world; we are part of the Kingdom of Elohim…let’s start acting like it!
If we don’t heed the Word of Elohim, we become spiritually enslaved to a system set out to destroy us. We will then end up physically bound because physical slavery follows spiritual apathy! What is exciting is because in the middle of it all – Elohim had a plan for one man to make a difference! Through the twists and turns of life, good and bad choices, one man was in the right place at the right time…just like YOU!
In Exodus 3:1-10, Moses saw the burning bush and he “turned aside” to investigate. It is when Moses “turned aside” did Elohim reveal Himself. We need to “turn aside” and investigate. This is what Elohim is waiting for at your burning bush encounter. The time is now to “turn aside” toward Elohim so He can use you in a mighty way in His plan of redemption in these last days.
Mt. Horeb was simply Mt. Horeb, an indistinct rock in the wilderness, like so many other hills and mountains—completely ordinary! There was nothing special about it. Mt. Horeb became Mt. Sinai, the mountain of Elohim, simply because Elohim chose it! It wasn’t because it was taller, mightier, or holier. The same way He chose Abram and turned him into Abraham, Ya’akov and made him Israel or took Moses in the desert and made him a leader of a nation. Elohim called them, encountered them, and commissioned them. Again, not because they were more holy, mightier, smarter, or more eloquent than any other but because He chose them!
Elohim is in the ordinary and encounters with Elohim happen in ordinary places. However, when Elohim is encountered, the ordinary is immediately transformed into the extraordinary…GLORY! Moses is the greatest prophet of all time just because he encountered Elohim, just because he “turned aside”! Elohim transformed the ordinary man into something extraordinary. Now, most of us, do not regard ourselves as extraordinary people, we view ourselves as a fairly ordinary people with a fairly ordinary mundane life. However, from Elohim’s perspective that is perfect! This causes us to become the perfect candidate with whom He can do extraordinary things. Elohim is not looking for prophets. He is looking for normal people who are carrying on under normal circumstances.
We can look at Moses’ life as divided into three 40-year cycles. The first cycle: He spent 40 years in the palace in Egypt, living life to its fullest and enjoying an Egyptian lifestyle as a prince. The second cycle: He spent 40 years in the wilderness on the backside of the desert. He was a shepherd where his dreams died and was completely surrendered. It was only after he truly died to himself was Moses ready to be a tool in the hand of Adonai. It was time to no longer try to fulfill his dreams but to hand his life over to the Master of all lives. The third cycle: He spent fulfilling the purpose and will of Elohim. This was in him all along but covered up by self and selfish desires.
We can compare this to a carpenter who hired a young apprentice:
An apprentice was eager to get busy with building houses, too eager to take the time to learn the carpentry trade. “Very well”, said the carpenter, “If you are so certain of yourself, go ahead and build.” Halfway through the construction project, the lopsided frame he was erecting collapsed. The young apprentice turned in his tools and shame facedly said, “I have to quit. I’m not a carpenter. I can’t build anything.” “EXCELLENT”, the carpenter said, “Now you are ready to learn how to build.”
It's time we stop trying to be something special and let Elohim take us. Let Elohim turn us from ordinary to extraordinary the way He wants to do it and how He wants to do it! Remember, He is the Potter, we are just the clay! Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet you, Adonai, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter, we are all the work of your hand.”
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May the Ruach pour Himself on you this Sabbath as you gather with your Kehillah for this powerful holy convocation. May you “turn aside” to the burning bush Elohim has placed before you. Walk in purpose! Fulfill His will! Give all the praise and worship due His name.
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha and have a blessed “appointed day”. See you at the altar!