Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ponderings of the Pentateuch #11 Dec. 11, 2010

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Pentateuch
Parashah #11 Vayigash “And He Drew Near”
Gen. 44:18-47:27
Ezk. 37:15-28

Gen. 45:5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Jewish Tradition, Midrash, The Book of Jasher, and the Hebrew words of the Torah indicate Joseph was originally a spoiled brat, a tattle tale and a Daddies boy who made his brother’s lives miserable; especially the sons of the handmaids Zilpah and Bilhah, and thus we see the brothers get him back, but go way overboard. It took all those years of slavery and imprisonment to beat the childish negative traits out of Joseph. He had to be refined in the crucible of suffering in order to be purged of his juvenile ways and be seasoned and mature to be a Patriarch, leader and savior.

I Cor. 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Many times we find ourselves in a “G-d, how could You let this happen to me” – type of situations and wonder what we have done to deserve this. But we must remember….

James 1:2-4, 12 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing… Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.  
I Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
I Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

I Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Job suffered, Abraham had his 10 trials, Joseph had his fair share of tribulation, Moses, David and Yeshua all had their wilderness experiences and Daniel and his three Hebrew companions were tested and in the midst of it, it was by far not pleasant but in the end they all came out on top and the trials made them better people and stronger vessels for YHWH’s use.

Gen. 45:5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

We see by Joseph’s statement he matured and was wise to test his brothers before he revealed himself and when he found they too had been refined we see no indication of malice or revenge in Joseph’s heart. With maturity comes revelation; Moderchai and Rav Sha’ul recognized this.

Esther 4:14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Romans 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

In our haftarah portion Ezekiel tells us the necessity of harsh exile in order for Judah and Ephraim (Israel) to be refined in order to be unified again in the future.

Ezk. 37:19-23 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

So if you find yourself in a rough patch, dry spell or between a rock and a hard place, know that Moshiach has gone before you and you are not alone.

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

As the Scriptures often say, “And it came to pass…” trials come to pass, they are temporary and we need to see them as drill sergeants who is there to toughen us up and make  us better believers for His Glory!

Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov!
-- Rabbi Yehudah

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