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It’s not easy to leave one’s family, even at 75 years old, but God called Abram out of his father’s house for his own good. This was Abram’s first test.
In the Torah passage לֶךְ-לְךָ Lech Lecha/Lekh Lekha (“go forth,” Genesis 12:1-17:27), we learn that Abram’s faith came from both hearing God’s instruction and doing it. Doing matters, not just hearing. Hearing is easy, doing is much more involved and more difficult. When our life is smooth and we get instant gratification, it’s easy to continue walking in a way that brings a quick blessing. But when we are doing something that is right but we do not receive instant gratification, it’s harder to continue doing what is right.
When God tells us to do the right thing but we don’t want to do it, it’s hard to do it anyway.
Continue reading Genesis 12–17: Instant gratification is never instant or gratifying
“Man is free, but everywhere he is in chains,” wrote a French philosopher in the mid-18th century, setting off a firestorm in Europe against monarchy. But more the three thousand years earlier, a greater shockwave resounded from within the superpower empire of Mitzraim.
Continue reading Parashat Shemot (שמות): Exodus 1:1-6:1
“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11 NASB)
” ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.’ ” (Mark 6:4 NASB)
The ancient saying “familiarity breeds contempt” could easily sum up how Yosef‘s brothers treated him in his early years and how many leaders of Yisra’el treated Yeshua. The prophetic parallels between Yosef and Yeshua the Mashiakh sharpen further in this week’s Torah section, ויגש Vayigash (“he approached,” Genesis 44:18–47:27).
In it, the brothers’ contempt turns to fear when they realize their plots against Yosef have put them at his mercy. It’s also a picture of the Day of the LORD, when Yisra’el then the world must confess, “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 118:26; Matthew 23:39; Luke 13:35).
Continue reading Parashat Vayigash (ויגש): Genesis 44:18–47:27