Prayer of Protection and Peace

For all of our Friends and ministry partners: Today’s Torah Reading is from Exodus 14. The journey of Israel leaving Egypt. How God led them with protection and provision.

Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall ( be held in) hold your peace.”

When I read that verse this morning I prayed that promise for you all. Love, Jim and Debbie Laymon

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This coming Torah Reading starting January 20th reminds me of an incident that happened to me an my family. Several Years ago when our children were little we were headed to Florida for a family vacation. Being a type “A” personality I had to always leave on time (the time I wanted to leave) and get to Florida in 12 hours with no delays. We were going to a condo on the beach so we were not only packing our luggage but groceries. While loading the van one of the grocery bags ripped and all the bag of sugar spilled all over the floor of our van. Of, course being very immature it set me off in a tizzy. I had to clean it all up and it delayed out leaving an hour. Once we got on the road after 15 minutes on the intrastate it was bumper to bumper traffic. Just creeping along. Another hour delay. I was hot and not very happy until we came upon a very bad wreck with bodies laying on the shoulder covered in sheets. That is when the Lord spoke to me loud and clear. “I caused your delay. You and the family could of been that wreck. Your delays is me protecting you!”

This reminds me of a story I recently read: The Guy: At the end of a bad day he turns to God and says, “Lord can I ask you a question?” The Lord: answers: Of course, my friend! The Guy: Please don’t get angry with me. The Lord: I promise not to get angry with you, go ahead and ask. The Guy: Why have you made me so many difficulties today? I have had such a difficult and distressing day. The Lord: What do you mean? The Guy: It started with waking up very late. The Lord: yes, I know. The Guy: My car did not start, the battery was dead, I had to ask someone to help me start the car with cables. The Lord: O.K. The Guy: For lunch I ordered, and the waiter brought me the wrong thing. By the time that they fixed what I ordered it was so late that I didn’t have time to eat it and remained hungry. The Lord: alright please continue. The Guy: Walking out of my office my phone rang and when I pulled it out it dropped on the pavement and broke. Than I was so tired and upset that I purchased an electric Shiatzu massage chair to relax. I came home with expectations for a peaceful and relaxing evening, but was so disappointment. Nothing went well the whole day!

The Lord: I understand! Let me tell you what was happening this day behind the scenes.

This morning the angel of death was on his way to your house to take your soul. I had to send my angels to stop him. This is the reason that I let you sleep longer. I didn’t want you to be involved in this battle.

I did stop your car from starting because just around the corner of your house there was a drunk driver that would have hit your car.

As far as your phone falling and breaking. The person who called you was a well-known conman who would have cheated you from a whole lot of money with his scheme. As my friend I preferred to save you from this conman’s scheme.

As far as your new purchase of the electric Shiatsu chair you purchased there was a serious electrical problem in this chair and if you would have sat down on it – you would have electrocuted. So, I cut the electrical cord.

The Guy: Lord, I understand now that I didn’t think of all these things being for my good, and excuse me for my doubts and complaining. I just did not think of these possibilities. Thank you Lord for guarding me from all these calamities and saving me today from all the sad things that could have happened to me.” The Lord: It is o.k. my friend. You should know that everything that I do are for your good because I love you my child. I hope that now you know that all that I do is planned and in consideration of what is good for my children and the ultimate plan for the salvation of the world.

The Torah reading this coming Shabbat (January 20, 2018) is the story of the Exodus. The Parasha (portion) is called Bo (“come into Pharaoh” or “go into Pharaoh”) in Hebrew. It starts from Exodus 10:1 – 13:16. This narrative is the most dramatic part of the Exodus story. God reveals his “cards” to Moses in the first verses of this reading. God said: “I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him,and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”” (Exodus 10:1–2 NKJV) To our modern eyes and ears this sounds very strange, and unfair. In normal English this state, “I have convinced Pharaoh and his wise man not to allow you and the children of Israel to go out of Egypt so that I might make a big drama and punish Egypt so hard that you will have a relevant story to tell your children for many generations to come.” To our modern sense of justice this seems unfair. It also opens the option that God could have softened the heart of Pharaoh to immediately release the children of Israel from Egypt and let them God to freedom and return to their inheritance from God in land of Canaan.

Rabbi Joseph Shulam writes about this. He said,

“We see that The Lord knew well what was already in Pharaoh’s heart. After the 10th Plague and the death of Pharaoh’s first-born son, and after he released the children of Egypt Pharaoh change his mind and wanted to destroy Israel. The end game for Pharaoh was to destroy Israel. The slavery was only a way to break them and break their spirit and hope. This we see from the first chapter of Exodus. Please notice what was Pharaoh’s plan:

“And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigour.

Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” (Exodus 1:14–16 NKJV).

We see from this text that Pharaoh’s desire was the destroy the children of Israel. If there would be no male children of Israel born it would take one generation for there not to be Israel. If there is no Israel there is no promises to Abraham, our Father to be fulfilled. If there is no seed of Abraham there is no Messiah. If there is no Messiah idolatry and all that it carries with it will be the only force in the world. Israel’s genealogy in those days was through the male children and therefore Pharaoh’s end-game was to wipe away all of Israel. Therefore, Pharaoh gathered his chariots after he let Israel to go into the desert.

“Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. So, the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon.” (Exodus 14:5–9 NKJV)

The object of Pharaoh and his chariots was not peaceful toward Israel. He felt that they are trapped between the see and the desert and that now he, Pharaoh, can finish with them. God had another plan for Egypt and God’s plan is well described in the song of Moses (Exodus 15). What is more interesting for me is that in the book of Revelation when the crowed beyond numbering will be gathered around the Sea of Glass they will be singing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. (See Revelation 15:3). This will be the song of the final victory of the forces of God against the forces of evil that control our world.”

It is good to know that God is always in control and that everything that He does is always for the good of those who love Him and Yeshua the Messiah.

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The Red Red Stuff

Slopping with the pigs eating the Red Red Stuff from this weeks Torah Portion

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.”

Taken from First Fruits of Zion weekly E-Drash

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Falling in love is a terrible criteria upon which to base a marriage.

Having to do with this weeks Torah portion reading I found this article from First Fruits of Zion a interesting on marriage and Our Hebrew Roots.

Bashert: The Real Soul Mate

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. Why didn’t he? Because Abraham would not allow it. Abraham placed clear and specific limits around Isaac’s potential mates.

Abraham’s servant Eliezer was sent to find a wife for Isaac. He prayed that God would indicate which woman He had appointed for Isaac to marry. God miraculously singled out Rebekah. Later, when recounting the story of his encounter with Rebekah to her family, they had to admit, “The matter comes from the LORD” (Genesis 24:50). By all appearances, God had appointed Rebekah to be the wife of Isaac.

This teaches that God appoints each person’s a spouse. Some people call this appointed person a soul mate.

How do you know when you have found your soul mate? And what exactly is a soul mate? The idea is that each individual has one other person, somewhere out there, who is his or her preordained, perfect match. A person’s soul mate is the ideal complement to fulfill his or her physical, spiritual and psychological needs. Soul mates are like two halves of the same soul, and if you marry the wrong person, you will never be truly happy because you missed your soul mate. This is not a biblical idea.

In our culture, we believe that a person should marry whoever he or she falls in love with. This is 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.

The search for a soul mate sounds romantic, but how do you know if the one you are with is really your soul mate? Isn’t it possible that you missed your true soul mate, or might still encounter him or her? What if you were married previously and are now on your second marriage? Was your first spouse your soul mate, or is this one the true soul mate? The soul-mate concept is a foolish idea that ultimately discourages people from getting married because they fear that their prospective match might not be their soul mate. For people already married, the soul-mate concept can lead to discontentment and uncertainty.

The soul-mate idea does exist in Judaism. It was probably born from a misunderstanding of the Jewish concept of soul mate. Among Yiddish-speaking Jews, the term for soul mate is bashert (באשערט). Bashert is a Yiddish word that means “destiny.” A person’s ideal spouse is called his or her “destined one.” How is this different from the romantic soul-mate concept? You cannot seek your destined one, because you will not know if you are destined to be together until you marry each other. Once you are married, destiny has been fulfilled and proven your soul mate. In other words, your spouse is your destined one. The person you are married to is the person God has ordained for you. If he or she was not, you would not be married.

So don’t waste time trying to find your soul mate. She/he does not exist and will not exist until you get married. Once you are married, you can be confident that your spouse is your true bashert.

The Matchmaker

In Hebrew, a match between a man and a woman is called a shidduch (שידוך). Finding a shidduch for someone else is considered to be a great mitzvah (good deed). It is a responsibility that the whole Jewish community takes seriously—after all, the future of the nation depends upon successful matches.

Everyone remembers the matchmaker from the movie Fiddler on the Roof. A matchmaker is called a shadkan (שרכן). A person with a special talent for matchmaking is referred to as a shadkan, but it is not a field reserved exclusively for professionals. Everyone in a community is supposed to be keeping an eye out for potential matches. It is such a serious duty that even the great rabbis are known for keeping notes concerning potential mates for the purpose of making matches.

It may be true that opposites attract, but they don’t stick together very well. A successful shadkan looks for mutual compatibility. He tries to match people on the basis of personality, disposition and character as well as watching for similar family backgrounds, values, social and economic standing. It’s not an easy job, but it’s an important one. The responsibility of making matches is so important and so difficult that the rabbis claimed that God Himself has been occupied with the matter ever since creation.

In the small and splintered world of Messianic Judaism, every person needs to contribute to the effort of matchmaking.

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2 Chronicles 7:10-14, The Great Day Of Salvation

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Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, and Is your Name Inscribed in the Book of Life?

The Book of Life

by Jews for Jesus

“May your name be inscribed in the Book of Life” is the most common greeting for the Jewish New Year season.

From the time of Moses onward, the roll call of the redeemed has been closely linked with atonement (reconciliation with God). The Book of Life held much meaning for other world religions as well.

The ancient belief can also be traced to Mesopotamia. Babylonian religious writings speak of “The Tablets of Transgressions” and “The Tablets of Destiny,” which record man’s fate. If one’s name was written in the sin-recording tablets, it was blotted out of the Tablets of Destiny. According to this legend, every year all the gods got together in a special room in heaven called “The Room of Fate.” Marduk, who was the chief god, presided over the meeting. Nabu, the god of wisdom and literature, took notes, recording each man’s fate on these tablets. Again, the “Book of Life” concept appears in tablets from the neo-Assyrian period, and there seems to be a hint of the same idea in an ancient Sumerian poem.

Because of these writings, some modern Jewish “scholars” believe that the Sefer Hayyim (Book of Life) was adopted into Jewish tradition as a result of the Babylonian influence. Who’s to say, however, that the Babylonians weren’t influenced by the ancient Jewish revelation before it was transcribed by the Bible writers?

Other theories have been put forth as to the origin of the Book of Life concept. Some say it corresponds to the civil list, or register, in ancient Judea which recorded all the names of the fully qualified citizens. The idea of a heavenly register, they say, might have been derived from this earthly system so that membership in the Book of Life would mean membership in the divine commonwealth. The Mishnah states that the Book of Life records man’s deeds: “Know what is above thee—a seeing eye and a hearing ear, and thy deeds written in a book.” (Avot 2.1) The Sayings of the Fathers also compares life to a shop with its open ledger of credit and debit. Following this concept to its conclusion, good deeds can cancel out bad deeds or vice versa. Or, as R. Simeon B. Yohai put it, “Even if he is perfectly righteous all of his life, but rebels at the end, he destroys his former good deeds, for it is said, ‘…The righteousness of a righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression…’ (Ezekiel 33:12.) And even if one is completely wicked all his life but repents at the end, he is not reproached with his wickedness, for it is said, ‘…and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness… (ibid).’” (Kiddushin 40a-b.)

One of the most common interpretations on judgment and forgiveness is found in Rosh Hashanah 16b:

“Three books are opened on Rosh Hashanah: one for the wholly righteous, one for the wholly wicked, and one for the intermediates. The wholly righteous are at once inscribed in the Book of Life; the wholly wicked are at once inscribed in the book of death and the intermediates are held suspended from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur. If they are found worthy, they are inscribed for life; if found unworthy, they are inscribed for death.”

Jewish liturgical writings also mention the Sefer Hayyim: Zakhrenu Le-Hayyim (“Remember us unto life”) is a prayer that is said in the daily service from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It reads, “Remember us unto life, O King who delightest in life, and inscribe us in the Book of Life, for Thine own sake, O God of life.”

U-Netanneh Tokef, a most poignant and stirring liturgical piece, describes what the Day of Judgment will be like: “Let us declare the mighty holiness of the day, for it is solemn and awesome.” The prayer acknowledges, “True it is that Thou judgest and givest reproof, Thou discernest and bearest witness, Thou recordest and sealest, Thou recountest and measurest; Thou rememberest things forgotten. Thou unfoldest the book of remembrance, and it speaks for itself, for every man’s seal is found therein.” Up to that point, the prayer sounds very ominous, giving man little hope for a positive verdict. But then it concludes with three ways to alleviate the severity of the judgment. Teshuvah is one. It is usually translated “repentance,” however a literal translation would render it more accurately, “return.” One is not to become a new person, but to return to the “goodness” that is inherent in him according to rabbinical understanding. Tefillah is the second way to making things right. It is usually translated as “prayer” and connotes “attaching oneself.” Man is to strengthen his attachment to God. Tzedakah, the last route to forgiveness, comes from the Hebrew word meaning “justice,” and is translated “charity.” Justice demands that man give to others.

According to rabbinic thought, it is these three: Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedakah, that will insure one an inscription in the Book of Life. In Hagigah 27a we read, “At the time when the Temple stood, the altar brought atonement for a person; now a person’s table brings atonement for him (through the hospitality shown to a poor guest).” In other words, without Temple sacrifice for our sin, we can now rely on acts of charity to gain us entrance in God’s Book of Life.

Yet the Bible paints somewhat of a different picture of this ledger, its origin and its contents.

Moses knew who originated the Book of Life. When he pleaded with God atop Mount Horeb after the children of Israel committed the great sin of the golden calf, he cried, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Thy book which Thou hast written!” (Exodus 32:31, 32.) So God Himself is the author and keeper of the Book of Life.

What is recorded in the book? According to the Bible, everything! King David remarks that even his tears are entered in that heavenly journal. (Psalm 56:8.) The Psalmist also speaks of the fact that the days that were ordained him were written in God’s book before he was even born. (Psalm 139:16.)

And who will be blotted out of the book? God’s response to Moses’ plea for the children of Israel was “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” (Exodus 32:33).

But everyone has sinned against the Almighty. Does this mean that according to the Bible all will be blotted out of the book of life? No. God is just, but he is also merciful. In His mercy, He has always provided a means of atonement, so that we could choose life.

The Day of Atonement (Yom ha-Kippurim) is first mentioned in the book of Leviticus. It is a solemn day, accented by fasting and praying to God for forgiveness of the sins committed against Him. In the Temple days, the High Priest was the key figure in mediating between the people and God. This one day of the year, he entered the Holy of Holies. This one day of the year, he took a live goat, laid his hands upon its head and confessed “all the iniquities of the Israelites and all their transgressions, and even all their sins.” Thus he transferred, in symbol, the sins of the people onto the sacrifice animal. This scapegoat was made the victim, the substitute for the human sinner. In accepting the substitutionary sacrifice, God could inscribe His people into the Book of Life. Therefore, it makes sense that the liturgy for the Day of Atonement concludes with a prayer for inscription in the Book of Life, but with the plea that one be sealed in it.

With the Temple destroyed, the priesthood disbanded, and the cessation of the sacrifices, the rabbis felt they had to improvise. They rationalized, “Repentance and works of charity are man’s intercessors before God’s throne. ” (Shab. 32a.) “Sincere repentance is equivalent to the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of the altar, and the offering of all sacrifices.” (Pesik., ed. Buber 24.158; Lev. R. 7.; Sanh. 43b.) However, the Bible does not teach these as ways of being inscribed into the Book of Life, for there is no access to forgiveness without a mediator, an intercessor. Moses fulfilled that role when he pleaded with God not to blot the children of Israel out of His book. The High Priests did likewise.

Who can plead our case today? Only God Himself. And that He did, in the person of Jesus. When Jesus began His earthly ministry, the prophet John heralded Him as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” Jesus served as the substitutionary sacrifice, the “scape-lamb” of God.

In the Machzor, the prayerbook for the Day of Atonement we read:

“Our righteous anointed is departed from us: horror hath seized us, and we have none to justify us. He hath borne the yoke of our iniquities and our transgression, and is wounded because of our transgression. He beareth our sins on his shoulder, that he may find pardon for our iniquities. We shall be healed by His wound, at the time that the Eternal will create Him (the Messiah) as a new creature.”

Form of Prayers For Day of Atonement. Revised Ed. pp. 287-88. Rosenbaum & Werbelowsky, New York, 1890

With our sins upon Jesus, God’s righteous anointed, He can look upon us as righteous and worthy to be entered into the Book of Life.

Jesus told those who believed He was God’s anointed, “…rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven” (Luke 10:20.) Does it seem strange to link the idea of celebrating the inscription of one’s name in the Book of Life to the person of Jesus? The Jewish New Year expression “Le shanah tova tikatev ve-tehatem” is more than a quaint custom. It is an expression of hope for God’s acceptance and forgiveness.

At the time of Christ, the ancient Biblical tradition of atonement ceased. Was this merely coincidental? The Kapporah, or sacrifice animal, to accomplish atonement is nowhere apparent in modern Judaism—yet in original Judaism, sacrificial atonement is intrinsic and essential:

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement” (Leviticus 17:11.)

In order to fully comprehend the concept of God recording man’s eternal destiny, one cannot stop reading the Bible at the Old Testament portion. Nor can one allow himself to be side tracked into the forest of contradictory statements which is the Talmud. For understanding, one must read the continuation of the Bible, in what is commonly called the New Testament, to see the true meaning of the Book of Life and to discover how a person is permanently inscribed for eternity:

“He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My father and before His angels.”

Revelation 3:5

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adorned for her husband…and nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book life.”

Revelation 21:1, 2, 27

Had Judaism not rationalized away God’s system of sacrificial atonement, then it would not have come to regard the person and atoning work of Jesus as alien. Had it not substituted humanistic and humanitarian value for God’s value structure, would not God’s remedy of Jesus the “scape-lamb,” have made sense?

What a paradox confronts the modern Jewish person! If he would be a faithful Jew according to the Bible and not merely according to the traditions of man; or if he would be God’s kind of Jew, then he must be written in the Lamb’s Book Life and thus be a follower of Jesus, the Messiah.

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United We Stand

This past week we have heard a lot of opinions on whether we stand during the playing of our National Anthem or to take a knee.  We also heard the President in a speech call those who kneel an awful name speaking of their mothers.  Which I believe was not appropriate and uncalled for.  As the leader of the Free World you Mr. President must be held to a higher level of Diplomacy.  This kind of talk may be appropriate in your inner circle, even then I think it is un-appropriate.  Having said that, When we stand before God as the great assembly of His Son, Yeshua, “there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, there is neither male nor female;

In the Bible there are different meanings for to Stand. There is a word to Stand for honor or allegiance.  Then there is a word for Stand like In some one hitting a home run or running for a touch down. The Hebrew language has different words for standing up. The Hebrew of Deuteronomy 29:10 uses the word nitzavim (נצבים) when Moses says to the children of Israel, “You stand today, all of you, before the LORD your God.” Nitzavim implies standing at attention, more akin to the pledge of allegiance than the home run standing.

In the synagogue, there are certain parts of the service where everyone stands. Whenever the doors of the ark (the chest that contains the Torah scroll) are opened, the entire congregation rises to their feet to express their reverence for God’s Word. Certain prayers also require the congregation to stand and be mindful that they are in the presence of God. When a congregation stands together before God, it is more than a room full of individuals. By standing together to revere God, the congregation expresses itself as a single body.

In Deuteronomy 29, Moses knew that he was about to die. Before he left the children of Israel, he wanted to see them committed to the LORD. He asked the children of Israel to STAND at attention in reverence before God. He had come to the end of his long depiction of the covenant, its history, its terms and obligations, and its consequences. Now it was time to invite the children of Israel to affirm their commitment to live according to everything that he had just said.

When we stand before God as the great assembly of His Son, Yeshua, “there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, there is neither male nor female; for [we] are all one in the Messiah Yeshua, and Messiah is all, and in all” (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). As believers, both heirs and coheirs with the great people of Israel, we should always endeavor to remember that differences and distinctions of person and station are irrelevant to our standing in Messiah.  (excerpts taken from FFOZ)

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