May 7th, 2022: Haftarah – Ezekiel 20:2-20
This week’s Haftarah portion is Ezekiel 22:2-20. Listen in as Dr. Jeffery Myers elaborates on what it truly means to be holy.
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 – Ezekiel 20:2-20
Lion of Judah Ministries
Dr. Jeffery L. Myers
What is the major theme in this week’s haftorah? We find that HaShem repeated His commands to observe the commandments, keep the Shabbat and to stop idol worship. He spoke about the obligation to sanctify the Shabbat and reject idolatry. We have the prophet Ezekiel speaking Yah’s message, reminding the Hebrew people how He chose them as a nation, how He took them out of Egypt and promised to bring them into the Holy Land. While they were in Egypt, YHVH spoke through the prophet to abandon their worship of idols, yet it fell on deaf ears. He then gave them laws and statutes, including the sign of covenant between Him and His people, the observance of Shabbat. Ezekiel 20:13 says, “But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My ordinances, which, if a man keeps, he will live through them, and My Sabbaths they desecrated exceedingly.” Ezekiel mentions YHVH’s punishment in the desert, namely they did not enter the Holy Land. He admonishes the children not to follow their father’s ways, but to observe the laws and to sanctify the Shabbats. To be holy!
Kodesh or holy is defined in the dictionary as something especially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated. It means dedicated or devoted to the service of YHVH, the kehillah or religion: A holy place of worship, sacred place; sanctuary.
The first use of the Hebrew word holy in Scripture is found in Exodus 3:5, “And he said, Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off they feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” This Hebrew word holy-kodesh is made up of the letters, “qoof, dalet, and sheen”. The letter “qoof” means “behind, the last, the least, back of the head”; the 2nd letter “dalet” means “doorway, gate, place of decision, entrance to life or death, moving into something, moving out of something, to open up, a place where change can take place”. The final letter is “sheen”, which is the one letter that stands for Yah Almighty. This pictographic meaning of “holy” enlightens us to what it is to be holy. This view of “holy” is to follow through the doorway or path of righteousness of Yah Almighty. In other words, being “holy” requires following after the ways of YHVH! It reveals that something inferior is approaching through a barrier or gate and being consumed by something superior. It also gives the understanding that the humble man is invited to come through the door and enter into the presence of the Holy, where the humble is transformed by the purifying fire of Yah’s holiness, and by this ordeal is purified and prepared, thereafter, to have a relationship with YHVH>. I Peter 1:16 tells us to become holy for He is holy.
We as a people are commanded to be holy, not just the priests or someone in ministry position. It is life itself that is to be sanctified, holiness is to be made manifest in the way we engage with YHVH and each other. We are to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”, a people who takes the responsibility, the calling seriously!
What does it mean to be holy? More importantly, what does it mean to be holy because Yah is holy? This holiness is what separates Yah from human beings. What a paradox; YHVH is not like us, but we are commanded to be like Yah!
In years past, we would have relegated these behaviors that were abhorrent to YHVH to some ancient time but today every manner of deviant behavior is not only thought to be acceptable, but those who might raise an objection are considered deviant themselves! Righteousness and unrighteousness have exchanged places. No matter what direction society and culture have taken, as disciples, we are to live according to YHVH’s statutes which is a twofold endeavor: we must guard ourselves against ever encroaching “norms” of the pagan nations, and we must commit ourselves with increasing fervor to know and apply YHVH’s statutes.
The idea of “living by doing” is neither foreign to the message of Yeshua nor to His Apostles. Neither is it contrary to the message of forgiveness by grace taught everywhere in the Scriptures, from the beginning to the end. Yeshua offers and strengthens us both to do His will and stand firm against the decay of sin so prevalent around us.
Israel, like us, was to be different, to stand in stark contrast to the paganism they were leaving and would enter as they possessed the Land. They, like us, were to give evidence even by their outward appearance to their deep-seated belief that YHVH had created even their bodies to manifest His image; that is our happy duty as the redeemed.
We have arrived today, even in the Kehillah, winking at overt idolatry; sexual deviancy, abuse of our children, severe drug abuse and addiction, and our slavery to affluence! We hate what YHVH loves, and loves what YHVH hates. How then will we stem the tide of our decaying society and how will we both obey and guard the statutes of Yah?
We must first model the statutes of HaShem by living them out before our children, keeping our hearts pure in a world that has gone sick with immorality; loving what is pure and hating what is not; understanding that modesty is the foundation of all genuine holiness- public and private! Our young people are vulnerable to Satan’s schemes unless they see and experience the life of holiness in our homes and community. Secondly, we must maintain a strong stand against all forms of immorality, and not yield to the constant call to lower our standards in a society that already has none. Thirdly, we must be careful not to give mixed messages, we need not to take a strong stand for holiness in line with YHVH’s statutes, and then engage in media entertainment or secular music that is opposite. Finally, we must desire to sanctify YHVH’s name from a sincere and obedient heart. We must long for Him in our lives and be willing to be His humble servants both to live out as well as proclaim the message of YHVH’s grace in Yeshua before a watching world.
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha
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Have a great Sabbath and Enter His courts with praise!