This week’s Haftarah portion is taken from Jeremiah 7:21-9:23. Listen in as Dr. Jeffery Myers unravels the true essence of sacrifice.
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 - Jeremiah 7:21-9:23
Lion of Judah Ministries
Dr. Jeffery L. Myers
Let us begin by understanding that the order of the restoration of the guilty is instructive; first he must make restitution to the person who has been defrauded, and only then is he allowed to bring his guilt offering in order to be restored to YHVH. Words are cheap without accompanying actions! It is hypocritical to seek forgiveness from HaShem before one has proven repentance by making restitution to his neighbor. Yeshua teaches this same principle: Matt. 5:23-24; “So if you are offering your gift at the Temple altar and you remember there that your brother has something against you, leave your gift where it is by the altar, and go, make peace with your brother. Then come back and offer your gift.” The words of Yeshua show us why the order of these paragraphs in Lev. 6 is important. First comes the instructions for seeking forgiveness and restoration of the guilty (v. 1-7), and then the instructions for the whole burnt offering (v. 8-12). The whole burnt offering is given solely as worship to HaShem! It is completely an expression of praise to the Almighty. What do we learn? We learn that genuine worship to Elohim requires a cleansed heart. When Paul tells us to lift up “holy hands” (I Tim. 3:8), he has in mind that “Holy Hands” are a metaphor of a life that is cleansed and made fit for entrance into the sanctum of worship. We are to present these offerings as a free-will offering, not a required sacrifice. These offerings were given as expressions of praise and gratitude to YHVH for His great provision in our lives.
According to Yeshua, it is hypocritical to pretend to praise Elohim for His grace while retaining an unwillingness to reconcile with a brother who has a legitimate claim against you. If we give public expressions of how much we appreciate YHVH’s grace, we are acting hypocritically if we have failed to demonstrate grace toward our brother.
While our relationship with one another impacts our ability to worship, in the final analysis worship is focused entirely on YHVH. What has happened to us is that we have forgotten the primary lesson of the Olah offering. Worship is for YHVH, not for the praise of men.
So, in Jeremiah 7:21-28, the point the prophet is making to wayward Israel is that their expression of worship in their whole burnt offerings are not received. For the simple reason, they are bringing their whole burnt offerings with themselves in mind, not as an expression of selfless gratitude and praise to YHVH. They were bringing their offerings with the attitude: “What do I get out of this?” The basis for this judgement is the actions of the people; Jeremiah. 7:24 says, “But they neither listened nor paid attention, but lived according to their own plans, in the stubbornness of their evil hearts, thus going backward and not forward.”
Disobedience to Yah’s commands and an unwillingness to seek forgiveness betray a heart of self-centeredness and cannot be reconciled with attempts to bring Him worship and adoration. One who worships Yah in spirit must also worship Him in truth (John 4:24). Both elements are required for acceptable worship, and both elements are amply symbolized in the whole burnt offering.
In the end, it all points to Yeshua - His life and His sacrificial death; His righteous life with no deceit found in His mouth.
We want to come into the very presence of Elohim, into His holy sanctum. We desire to see Him “high and lifted up” with His train of His robe filling the Temple. When we see His worthiness, we are made aware of our unworthiness. When we see His holiness, we are aware of our unholiness, a man with unclean lips. Once we see the King, we realize how inadequate we are as we look at our sinful condition. However, we can be cleansed as our sin is overcome by the payment of a sacrifice, through which we are made clean, the sacrifice of a Yeshua. I Peter 1:18-19 says, “You should be aware that the ransom paid to free you from the worthless way of life which your fathers passed on to you did not consist of anything perishable like silver or gold. On the contrary, it was the costly bloody sacrificial death of the Messiah, as of a lamb without defect or spot.”
So, the Torah, Haftorah and Apostolic Scriptures speak in a unified message in regard to YHVH’s remedy for sin. These Scriptures warn us away from the sin of deceiving our neighbor, and teach us how to make restitution when we commit sin, but the Living Torah walks before us as an example of this teaching. Yeshua was truthful, honest, motivated not by self-interests nor covetousness, but by a pure heart to serve His Father. Yes, while we all fall short of the perfect obedience demonstrated by our Messiah, we strive to be like Him and this entails pursuing the high mark of righteousness exemplified in His life.
Moreover, Yeshua’s death is foreshadowed by the sacrifices of the Tabernacle and Temple. He is the Asham (guilt) offering, the Sh’lamim (peace) offering, the Minchah (thank) offering, the Olah (burnt) offering all in one. YHVH tells the prophet Jeremiah to rebuke the Hebrew people, saying that His primary intention in bringing their forefathers out of Egypt wasn’t the sacrificial offerings, rather in order that they be His people, and would worship and serve Him and observe the commandments. But, despite the fact that HaShem repeatedly dispatched prophets to admonish the people, Jeremiah 17:23 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.” Yah further informs Jeremiah that the people will also not hearken to these words that He will speak to them now.
We should be reminded that in Yeshua’s death He was in every way fully and completely given over to His Father. We must strive to do likewise in our lives of worship before Him. The Haftorah concludes with Yah's admonition in Jeremiah 9:22-23 saying: ”Here is what Adonai says: The wise man should not boast of his wisdom, the powerful should not boast of his power, the wealthy should not boast of his wealth; instead, 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.