Favor Isn’t Fair

The Torah reading for this week is found in Genesis 39. It is the story of Joseph being sold to slave traders and ending up in Egypt. I’ve always said, “favor isn’t fair.” Because Joseph was marked by God, God gave him favor. Genesis 39 says,

“The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.” Genesis 39:2-5

Did you catch this? THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH SO THAT HE PROSPERED.” Yes, I love it. From the time Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his household, the Lord blessed Potiphar’s house and all he owned because of Joseph.

Even when Joseph was in the pit God had a plan for him. Why, because pit stands for, Person In Training. No matter what we are going through we can know that God has a plan.

My prayer today for you is simply this:

May the Lord be with you so that you prosper. May you be marked with God’s Favor at school, work, church, wherever you live and go. So that the workplace, school, government, church, and home and family prospers because of God’s favor on your life. Shalom!

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Kislev: Trust, Rest, Provision, and Victory

This evening at sundown begins the 9th month of Biblical Calendar and 3rd month of Israel’s civil calendar, Kislev. Kislev is the month of rest and trust. It is the month to rest in all that God has promised and trust Him to bring to fruition. The name Kislev derives from the Hebrew word kesel1 (כֶּסֶל), which means either “security,” or “trust.”

Kislev is the month of dreams. During the Torah reading of this month the Torah refers to more Dreams than at any other time. Joseph was a dreamer and the Torah tells the story of Joseph dream and the drama with it but finally the fulfillment.

Kislev is the month of sweet sleep. It is the month to develop sweet peaceful sleep patterns. Sleep depends on the tranquility and restfulness that comes from feeling trust and security in God and His Divine providence. At the end of Leviticus, we find the blessing, “And you shall dwell securely in your land. And I shall give peace in the land, and you shall lie down without fear….”

To have a sense in sleep suggests something we all ascribe to achieve. The word “sense” (חוּשׁ) itself is cognate to “quickness” (חִישׁ) implying that a person who has a well-develop sleep and fall asleep quickly.

Kislev is the month of a Rainbow. Last month was the month of Noah and the flood. The Rainbow was the Covenant promise from God that He would never flood the earth again. This is the month to remember God’s covenant through Yeshua His son.

Kislev is the month when MARY was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Yeshua was born at Tabernacles. Chanukah is on the 25th day of Kislev which is nine month prior. Kislev is the month of the Holy Spirit birthing In you. Birthing new promises, business, ministry, hope, or faith. Birthing that which has laid dormant in your life.

Kislev is the month of Chanukah and the miracle of restoration and divine provision. The story of a small priestly Jewish family that resisted and over threw the Greco Roman Empire. After they cleansed the temple of the Roman’s worship of Greek mysticism, the Macubees re-established the worship of Elohim. There was only enough oil to light the lamb stand in Holy of Holies for one day until they could press enough olives. God provided oil supernaturally for eight days. This is the month to trust and rest in God’s supernatural provision and victory.

Kislev is the month of the tribe of Benjamin who were skilled archers. Like the artillary or snipers in this day, they could handle the bow and arrow decisively and quickly. They were skilled in warfare defeating the enemy. This is the month of using the word of God and prayer to defeat your enemy.

May God sanctify you and set you apart to accomplish all He has for ordained for you and your family this month of Kislev, 5779. Shalom

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As A Disciple of Yeshua We Must Desire The “Red Stuff”

This week’s Torah Reading is found in Genesis 25:19 thru Genesis 28:9

I confess I don’t like this portion of Genesis where it deals with Jacob’s manipulation of Esau and the stealing of his birthright. While reading this passage this morning my spirit was agitated. Could it be because that attitude of manipulation, hiding ones motives, and not being forthright in all ones relationships at times is self centered? After all, we all have sinned and come short of God’s best. So, after reading Genesis 26 this morning, I asked God why does this passage bother me? Because if we are not careful we all have the propensity to be like Jacob, conniving and manipulative. Last November I posted the following Blog in my Wellspring Israel Blog page. I think it answers this Dilemma.

Jacob made a stew. Esau returns from hunting, exhausted and famished. When he sees the stew he exclaims, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished!” The Hebrew is even more comical. He uses a verb more appropriate to describe “slopping the pigs.” In his desperation, he cannot quite formulate the word for soup, so he stammers around calling it, “red, red stuff.” “Quick, slop me some of that red, red stuff!” he begs. Jacob, on the other hand, replies calmly and deliberately and in clear legal terms, “Sell me as this day (from this day on) your birthright.” There are no hidden terms, no fine print, and no deceitful bait-and-switch. It is a straightforward and honest offer.

Esau should have refused. He should have been insulted that Jacob would suggest such a sacrilege. Jacob asked him to forfeit everything that Abraham and Isaac had cherished—the entire covenant, the land of Canaan, the blessings and the promises, the future destiny of the nation, all for the price of a bowl of soup.

Instead of refusing the offer, Esau briefly considered it and accepted the terms. He said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” This was hyperbole. His life was not in danger; he was not about to die. He let his appetite dictate his will. His desire for red, red stuff, at the moment, outweighed the value of being Isaac’s firstborn.

Whenever we allow our appetites to rule us, we follow in the footsteps of Esau. A disciple of Yeshua should not let his desire for “red, red stuff” dictate his decisions. Opportunities to honor or despise his birthright in the kingdom pass before him on a daily basis. He is constantly placed in positions where he must decide between what he craves and what is right. A man controlled by his appetites is a godless man. All forms of materialism and greed fall into the same category. Some people desire power, control, and prestige. Others will find that physical addictions and substance abuse dictate their decisions in life. For many men and women, sexual temptation is the “red, red stuff” for which they are willing to compromise their spiritual birthright. All of these are signs of the spirit of Esau. The writer of the book of Hebrews warns us:

Let there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. (Hebrews 12:16-17)

Disciples of Yeshua are children of Jacob, not children of Esau. Our animal nature does not rule us. We belong, not to our appetites, but to the Master. Our heads must rule our hearts: “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13).

Esau accepted Jacob’s offer. The Hebrew of the Torah artfully describes Esau’s cavalier exit with a succinct series of one-word verbs: “He ate; he drank; he rose; he left, and he despised his birthright.”

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Love and Marriage Goes Together Like Horse and Carriage

This past week’s Torah Reading was in Genesis 24. It shares the difference between a Hebrew Understanding of Love and Marriage and a Greek understanding.

Isaac took his bride into his mother’s tent. All this time Sarah’s tent had been empty and forlorn, symbolizing the absence of the eishet chayil (virtuous wife). The Torah portion began the story of Rebekah by telling us of the death of Sarah. Since his mother’s death, Isaac had been in mourning. He keenly felt her absence. Isaac taking his bride into Sarah’s tent symbolizes Rebekah stepping into Sarah’s role as matriarch over the house of Abraham. In the language of the rabbis, Rebekah became the house of Isaac.

Abraham loved Sarah, and Isaac loved Rebekah. Genesis 24:67 says that Isaac took Rebekah, she became his wife and he loved her. Notice the order. This seems backward to us. We would expect the opposite. He should have fallen in love with her, married her and then taken her into the tent. The Bible has a more sober (but no less romantic) view of marriage. Isaac did not marry Rebekah because he loved her; he loved Rebekah because he married her. Considering the folly of the human heart and the fickle ups and downs of emotions, this is the proper order of things. We should love our spouses because they are our spouses.

Love followed be marriage seems like the natural order, but it’s a bad plan. It is possible to fall in love with the wrong person. It is possible to fall in love with many wrong persons. Falling in love is a terrible criteria upon which to base a marriage. It would have been easy for Isaac to fall in love with any number of Canaanite girls.

As children of Abraham and followers of Messiah, we are to love our spouses. Paul tells men to love their wives as themselves—and more than that, to love them as Messiah loved the assembly. He warns husbands not to become embittered against their wives. It’s not a matter of the whims and inclinations of the heart; it is a duty of every husband to love his wife.

If a man or woman bases his or her marriage merely on love, it is doomed from the start. Feelings are unpredictable. They rise and fall. They come and go. Marriage must not be based upon love. Love must be based upon marriage. (Taken from FFOZ weekly portion commentary)

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The Eighth Biblical Month of Chesvan

Tonight at sundown begins the eighth Biblical month of Cheshvan. Eight is the Hebrew number for New Beginnings. Two weeks ago I had a headache for 7 days. Little did I know I was experiencing an aneurysm. We went to the emergency room on the 8th day. It was a miracle that I did not die nor have any loss of memory, speech impairment, seizures, or paralysis. On the eighth day God healed me.

This is the month of the story of Noah. Noah’s parents named him because Noah means “REST” in Hebrew. They wanted to rest from their labors.

Did you know that this was the month The Holy Flood began. Do you ever wonder about the reason for the story of Noah and the Ark? We sometimes tend to think of it as a children’s story. But the lessons are so much deeper. Here’s a short poem capturing 11 wonderful lessons.

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah’s Ark…

1. Don’t miss the boat.

2. Remember that we are all in the same boat.

3. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

4. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

5. Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

6. Build your future on high ground.

7. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

8. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

9. When you’re stressed, float a while.

10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

May this month be for you and your family a month of rest, new beginnings, and miracle signs and wonders.

Jim Laymon

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Shabbat and Millennium Reign of Christ

The Day that is Entirely Sabbath:

God created the heavens and the earth in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. Each Sabbath may be likened unto a down payment on the Messianic Era. We rest on Shabbat to symbolize the peace that we will have in the days of the Messiah.

In the Talmud, some of the sages viewed the seven days of creation as a broad outline for human history, as the Scripture says, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by” (Psalm 90:4). Accordingly, they compared each of the six days to a millennia of history. Different rabbis offered differing opinions, but they generally agreed that the seventh day, the day of the Sabbath, corresponds to the seventh millennium—the thousand-year Messianic Era. In the poetic words of the sages, the Messianic Era will be a “day that is altogether Sabbath.”

Tz’enah Ur’enah says, “Man was created on the sixth day, for within six thousand years the Messiah will come.” The apostolic community held a similar view of redemptive history. The book of Hebrews compares the age to come to the Sabbath and speaks of the Sabbath as a foretaste of final salvation and the Messianic Era. The book of Revelation speaks of a coming millennium of peace—a thousand-year reign of Messiah during which the adversary is bound in chains. The Apostle Peter reminds us that “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

Why doesn’t it say in regard to the Sabbath “and there was evening and there was morning” like it does for the other days? Because the Sabbath alludes to the world to come, and it is called the day that is completely Shabbat, and there is no night. (MinchahBelulah)

Though the Messiah may tarry, we eagerly await the coming return of Messiah, who will initiate that seventh millennium, a thousand-year era “that is altogether Sabbath.” May He come speedily, soon, and in our lifetimes.

Copied from First Fruits of Zion

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Feasts of Tabernacles Is a Reminder of the Eternal not Temporal

It has been difficult for me to focus this week on Feasts of Tabernacles since I continue to deal with an intense headache with pounding throbbing pain of 8-10 level unless I lay down in a dark room. It has been debilitating for me. I think of all the people who are dealing with health issues and consumption they have on pain, suffering, and lack of health.

My mind is reminded that during Feast of Tabernacles it is tradition for us to read Ecclesiastes. Tabernacles is a time in the fall of the year when we are to remember what God did for Israel in the wilderness. How He provided for them as they lived in Tents. Tabernacle means booths or tents. It is a time for us to be reminded that God took care of all their needs. He provided everyday manna and quail. The dew was what provided the taste. If they were hungry for lamb chops, or sweets, or a filet the dew was what caused it to taste. As they lived under and open heaven, we are reminded during this 8 day Feasts that we live under and open heaven too. It was amazing fact they never had their clothes or shoes wear out. Nor did they have any disease. They lived totally upon the Covenant Faithfulness of God.

So for these 8 days ending on this Sunday, September 30th at sundown we are reminded about God’s faithfulness in provision and blessings upon His people. Our focus should be not on material things but upon God our provider. Solomon the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote in chapter 1: 1-9,
“The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher.
“Vanity of vanities! All [that is done without God’s guidance] is vanity [futile, meaningless—a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes, merely chasing the wind].”

What advantage does man have from all his work
Which he does [a]under the sun (while earthbound)?

One generation goes and another generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.

Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
And hurries to the place where it rises again.

The wind blows toward the south,
Then circles toward the north;
The wind circles and swirls endlessly,
And on its circular course the wind returns.

All the rivers flow into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full.
To the place where the rivers flow,
There they flow again.

All things are wearisome and all words are frail;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.

That which has been is that which will be [again],
And that which has been done is that which will be done again.
So there is nothing new under the sun.”

What Ecclesiastes shows us is not that life itself or the pursuit of happiness is meaningless, but that the pursuit of pleasure simply for the sake of it is a vanity like chasing the wind. What we should strive for is not the fleeting and temporal but the eternal; we can use this life and our toil here as means to bring us to the eternal. What Ecclesiastes does is show us that the material nature of this world lacks meaning when compared to the eternal nature of the World to Come. Meaning is not found in the temporal but in the eternal.

We love our cars, food, houses, and toys. Yet, Ecclesiastes snatches them from our hands and flips them inside out to reveal their guts. By doing this he shows us that their essence is meaningless and that to pursue them for happiness for its own sake will lead to aimless wandering and depression.

Perhaps that is why we read Ecclesiastes during Tabernacles. Just as our Tent/Booth is temporary and unstable, so too, the things of this world are fleeting. But the Tent/Booth, while temporary, reminds us of and points us to the eternal nature of God and how he protects us.

During this time of Tabernacles may we be filled with life and joy from the eternal things of God.

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