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March 12th, 2022: Haftarah - Isaiah 43:21-44:23

This week’s Haftarah portion is taken from Isaiah 43:21-44:23. Listen in as Dr. Jeffery Myers unravels a deeper essence embedded in the Shelamim (Peace) offering.

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 Haftarah:

Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftarah Portion - Isaiah 43:21-44:23

Lion of Judah Ministries

Dr. Jeffery L. Myers

In this week’s parashah we learn of the laws regulating the 5 types of sacrifices required of Adonai. The one I will focus on is the Sh’lamim sacrifice as it relates to the haftorah portion taken from Isa. 43 and 44. Since the word Sh’lamim is based upon the Hebrew root, which generally denotes a sense of “peace”, “complete”, “whole”, the traditional English translation use “peace offering”. We believe that YHVH revealed to Israel the manner in which they were to conduct their worship of Him. We accept the Scriptures as the primary foundation for Israel’s worship, allowing the sacred text to unfold both the manner and the meaning of priestly service and sacrifices.

We find something very interesting in the Sh’lamim offering, this particular kind of sacrifice that is found in the Torah, finds its basic meaning in the word “salvation”. Outside the Torah, we find two other Greek terms used for translation: “teleios”, complete and perfect and “eirenikos” peace and peaceful. But why does it also translate this word denoting “salvation” or “deliverance” translated Sh’lamim throughout the Torah?

The peace offerings seem to have as their specific import the celebration of Israel’s covenant relationship with YHVH and the benefits that this relationship brings. So, this translation could be understood to mean “a sacrifice that celebrates salvation”. This Sh’lamim offering is one that represents our willingness to give YHVH our all, the best of our lives. It also symbolizes one’s entire emotions, so it represents the inner life of the worshipper. Having symbolically designated the animal as his representative by placing his hands upon its head, the inner organs of the sacrifice represent the worshippers own inner self – his true intentions and gratitude. The fat represents the abundance of life which he has enjoyed because of YHVH’s provision. The blood dashed upon the sides of the altar represents the giving of life, reminding us that the well-being of the worshipper is the result of deliverance (salvation) gained at the cost of life.

Therefore, the Sh’lamim or peace offering is a celebration of the life that has been given by YHVH to His people, a life of abundance because it is lived in the scope of His very presence. This offering is symbolic of the joy and thanksgiving offered to YHVH for the life He had imparted to His people, which created a “pleasing aroma to Adonai”. This makes it clear that YHVH not only receives such a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, but that it is something in which He delights.

The celebration of the peace offering is not only upward, it is also communal. The community shared in eating the meat of the sacrifice, priest and non-priest alike even though the sacrifice is made by one individual, the whole community rejoices together in it. This is to remind us that no one in the community of the redeemed lives his or her life unto themselves. The life of one is cause for all to rejoice, even as the sorrow of one is cause for all to sorrow.

So, the haftorah was chosen based on verbal similarities as well as similar themes. Isa. 43:24 speaks of “the fat of your sacrifices” which no doubt has the Sh’lamim in mind, while the entire passage is dealing with the theme of sacrifice.

Here we have the prophet chastising the people because they have failed to bring the sacrifices to YHVH. WHY? Because the sacrifices were too great a burden upon them? NO, in fact, YHVH has laid no great burden upon Israel. Rather, they had burdened Him with their sin. Isaiah’s message is that Israel had taken for granted the life they had been given. Instead of bringing peace offerings to celebrate YHVH’s goodness and majesty, and the life they enjoyed because of His mercies, they were content to rely upon other nations and their false gods for their present and future needs. In their affluence, they had forgotten that YHVH is the only true source of life.

In James 1:13-15, he reminds us to take into full account that our lives are bound up with YHVH and the salvation He has made for us through Yeshua HaMashiach. How often we go through our day, completing the tasks at hand, and fail to face the fact that all we have and all that we are or hope to be, is the gift of YHVH’s grace! The reason that we have breath and life itself is because YHVH has granted them to us. All that is good in our lives flows from His goodness.

It is easy to celebrate our material comfort, physical health, our friendships, and our family. But how often does the contemplation of our soul’s salvation move us to celebration—to offering open and abundant “peace offerings” in which all may participate in our joy of knowing YHVH?

Even in the midst of life’s troubles and difficulties, Israel was never to lose sight of the redemption. YHVH had made for them, a redemption that brought them into close and lasting friendship with Almighty! They were not to take for granted that the fountain of all life’s benefits was nothing more or less than YHVH’s own presence in their lives.

The same is true for us. Have we taken such peace for granted? Have we failed to celebrate the greatness of this peace? May we be stirred to celebration on a daily basis!

Shalom Aleichem

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Have a great Sabbath!

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