Saturday, December 26, 2015

Torah Trails #12 Vayechi

Torah Trails
Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Kristopher Shoemaker

#12 Vayechi
Gen. 47:28-50:26
I Kings 2:1-12
Hebrews 11:21-22, I Pet. 1:3-9, 2:11-17
Memory Verses: Gen. 49:1, I Kings 2:12, I Pet. 1:9

Gen. 49:33

Jacob came into this world clasping the heel of his fraternal twin brother Esau. In mid-life he likely grabbed the foot when he wrestled with God and won. In the end he grabbed his own feet as he, “gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost.”

Jacob’s life was marked with grabbing and fighting for virtually everything he had from Esau and Laban. Crossing land and river it was marked by feet, which, like ones shoes, tells a lot about a person, about their journey in life.

Jacob grabbed, fought and wandered right up until he through his life was over. Then he was returned with Joseph his son whom he long thought he lost his grip on and it invigorated him and gave him new life. After which you never hear of Jacob grabbing, fighting or wandering ever again, except when he, “gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost.”

Jacob’s life began with a struggle but ended in peace. It began with getting a blessing and ended up with giving a blessing. Jacob ended his life giving his sons all he spent his lifetime getting and finally gave his blessing to each and every one of his sons, even to two of his grandsons that he adopted as his own.

Jacob entered the world with one hand full of the fleshy heel of another and ended with both his hands full of his own fleshy heels.

He began insecure, grabbing for another and ended secure content and at peace embracing himself. He was now complete, full of years and at peace surrounded by his family. May we be so fortunate.

I Kings 2:1

David on the other hand left some unfinished business for his son Solomon, but because it was a Kingly dynasty it was more like the passing of the torch, the transfer of a mantle or a calling. For us who have children or even folks whom we’ve mentored, what do we have to pass on to the next one in line? Wisdom, a legacy, a ministry? Like a will, something to think about and settle today because tomorrow is not a given.

Heb. 11:21-22

What Jacob gave his sons was something he actually didn’t have. It was a blessing, a prophetic gift for the future. He evaluated their character and talents and prophetically blessed them to give them a direction, a course for a successful future. He gave them what he wished for them to have in the form of a blessing. He gave the children of Israel his very soul.

It’s vitally important that we are prepared to bless our children and these we mentor before we die. When we know they are ready to leave the nest and start a life or ministry of their own.

“Abba YHWH Elohim, bless us with wisdom to be content with what we have yet strive for Your blessing so that we may in turn are able to bless the next generation. In Yeshua’s Name we ask and give thanks, Ameyn!”

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Torah Trails #11 Vayigash

Torah Trails
Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Kristopher Shoemaker

#11 Vayigash
Gen. 44:18-47:27
Ezk. 37:15-28
Acts 7:9-16
Memory Verses: Ge. 45:8. Ezk. 37:28, Acts. 7:9-16

Gen. 45:1, 3, 4, Acts. 7:13

How did Joseph make “himself know” to his brothers? After all he was older, clean shaven and did not have the customary beard of Hebrews, his hair was covered and he was clad in Egyptian garb. He spoke Egyptian to them and had an interpreter translate. He looked like an Egyptian Ruler! There was no way they could have known it was Joseph, he was completely transformed!

So, how did Joseph make “himself known” to his brothers? He likely began speaking Hebrew, took off his head covering to reveal the wavy dark Hebraic hair. To totally convince them he might have opened his robe to reveal his circumcision, something Egyptians did not have.

When we humble ourselves and allow God to transform us and make us a new creature and when we encounter loved ones from our former life, they might not recognize us and look upon us as a foreigner or a stranger. To convince them it’s really us, we need to de-robe ourselves, become naked and genuine and bear our souls before them.

Ezk. 37:21

Yeshua has the same problem we and Joseph have. His brothers, His loved ones, didn’t recognize Him. Like Joseph whose soul was Hebrew and dedicated to God, but whose body was clad in Egyptian garments, so too Yeshua whom Gentiles call Jesus is a Jew through and through, but looks like a Greek philosopher than a Jewish Rabbi or Messiah. We must “de-robe” and take this Jesus from among the heathen and bring Him back into His proper Hebraic context and return Him, Yeshua, to the Land of His People and make Himself known as Savior, the Jewish Messiah to His brethren.

“Abba YHWH Elohim, equip and empower us to correctly and successfully make Yeshua known to His brethren, the Jewish People. In Yeshua’s Name, Amen!”

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Torah Trails #10 Mikketz

Torah Trails
Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Kristopher Shoemaker

#10 Mikketz
Gen. 41:1-44:7
I Kings 3:15-4:1
Acts 7:9-16
Memory Verses: Gen. 41:16, I Kings 3:28, Matt. 27:46

Gen. 41:14-16, 38-46

Joseph’s brothers saw him as a cocky, conceded, arrogant, know-it-all brat who was daddy’s favorite. The Rabbi’s would actually agree and state that slavery and prison was necessary and took him down a couple notches and humbled him. Humbled him to the point that he totally surrendered himself to God and allowed himself to be a vessel, a conduit for God to move, use and work through. Pride gets you prison, humility gets you to heights. Though Joseph had a prophetic dream that he would rule over his family and brothers it wasn’t that arrogant little brat that became ruler. That boy died in that Egyptian dungeon and a new man, a new humble and wise Joseph was resurrected and walked out of that prison to the Throne.

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. Gen. 41:14

We must ask ourselves; what part of me needs to die in order for me to ascend to the greatness God has ordained and called me to?

I Kings 3:15

As Joseph ascended out of the Egyptian dungeon and changed man, Solomon ascended from the depths of slumber a changed man. Both dungeon and sleep represents a type of death. Both rose from that symbolic death humble and wise. Prime for God to use and do great things through. Humility and meekness is not weakness, but power under control.

Acts 7:13

Why was Joseph “made known” to his brothers? Because they didn’t recognize him. Remember, he was a changed man and not the same boy they knew that they sold into slavery.

“Abba YHWH Elohim, we surrender and submit ourselves to You. Change us Father for the better, so You can use us. Change us to the point that our own family and friends won’t even recognize us! In Yeshua’s Name, Amen!”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Torah Trails #9

Torah Trails
Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Kristopher Shoemaker

#9 Vayeshev
Gen. 37:1-40:23
Amos 2:6-3:8
Acts 7:9-16
Memory Verses: Gen. 39:1, Amos 3:8, Matt. 1:24-25

Gen. 38

Human Jaded bias. Judgmental-ness. Having a critical spirit and jumping to conclusions. Human discernment and intuition; FLAWED! FLAWED! FLAWED! Relying on these will inevitably at some point end in embarrassing failure.

Just like science, ever-changing due to new discoveries. What was “true” and |scientific fact” 50 years ago in many cases is no longer the case today, due to advances and new discoveries in various fields. Just think how much is still wrong with science today but won’t be deemed as so until 20 years down the road. When new discoveries surface or new equipment built detects what was previously undetectable or unprovable.

I know personally of a business establishment that pretty much has a revolving door. Their employee turn-over rate is ridiculously high! The owner is so taken by the managing supervisor that she does not see that the supervising manager is the problem, not the employees she ends up firing.

In the same way, Judah couldn’t see his sons were the problem, not Tamar. She was no black widow! His sons were simply black souls! And so Tamar was treated and judged unfairly and had to resort to a ruse in order to wake Judah up to the fact there was a major problem in the family.

No one likes to be wrong and so our fallen nature always looks for a scapegoat and alibi. From Eve’s, “The devil made me do it!” To Adam’s, “It’s this woman who You gave to me God, it’s all her fault!” To today, “Oh, my Johnny/Sally would/could never do that!” Next time, before you go looking for a fall guy, examine yourself, examine your household to see if the problem doesn’t lie closer to home.

Amos 3:2

Judah and Israel’s failure and subsequent captivities and exiles are all Babylon’s fault, all Assyria’s fault! Right!? Not a chance! We all know due to the Children of Israel’s sin and breaking of the Covenant (Duet. 27-28) the Dispersion occurred. No one’s fault but Israel’s. Oh, they tried to blame other peoples and even their own prophets, but the problem was Israel’s and no one else’s.

Acts 7:9-16

A tattle-tail, a braggart! Joseph is clearly the problem, that little brat! Let’s get rid of him! Problem solved! Right!?  WRONG!

We all know it was Joseph’s brothers who were jealous. Insecure and had the problem. But despite their efforts to squash the dreamer, years later the brothers actions came to bite them in the tuchas (butt) and they realized they were the problem all along.

“Abba YHWH Elohim, hold our chin and make us face the mirror of Your Word (James 1:22-25) so that we can see ourselves in all our ugliness and flaws in order that we may go about and acknowledge and recognize such flaws and therefore be able to go about and fix them, instead of blaming others for our own faults and failures. In Yeshua’s Name, Amen!”

Friday, November 27, 2015

Torah Trails #8 Vayishlach

Torah Trails
Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Kristopher Shoemaker

#8 Vayishlach
Gen. 32:4-36:43
Hos. 11:7-12:12, Oba. 1:1-21
Romans 9:13
Memory Verses: Gen. 32:30, Oba. 1:21, Heb. 11:20

Have you ever unexpectedly walked by a mirror and saw your reflection and for a split second didn’t recognize yourself and gave yourself a scare? Or, have you ever saw a stranger in a particular station or situation in life and saw yourself and said, “That was me a few years ago,” or “That could have been me if it weren’t for the grace of God.”? Or have you seen someone you admire and succeed and saw yourself and said, “That’s going to be me in a few years!”?

The first Wrestlemania occurred in our Torah Portion at a little place called, Peniel, which means, “Face of God.”

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.  And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.  And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.  And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.  And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.  And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.  And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. Gen. 32:24-30

No one can encounter God face to face without being obviously and readily apparent, changed! Moses too spoke with God face to face and as a result it was clearly evident. Moses was in the Presence of God and changed by that encounter.

And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. Exd. 33:11

And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.  And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him. Exd. 32:29-35

Interestingly however in our Torah Portion its clear Jacob wrestled with God (32:30) but in the form of a man (32:24). Hmmm, who do we know that is God in human form? YESHUA! No one can come face to face with Yeshua and not be obviously and readily apparent, forever changed!

But why the wrestling match? Well, because we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27) and because we are God-Breathed (Gen. 2:7) we have a spark of divinity within us. So when we wrestle with God in a sense we are wrestling with ourselves.

One, we wrestle against our fallen selves, the part that doesn’t measure up to the divine reflection, the part that shames and scares us (James 1:23-25), the part we want to beat down and overcome. Two, we fight against the greatness of who we are to become in Messiah because we feel unworthy or such a change, though good, scares us. Just like Messiah seeing Peter as a Rock (Matt. 16:18), but Peter only saw himself a lowly fisherman (John 21:7)!

Jacob walked away with a limp, his walk forever changed. After one has a life changing encounter with the divine, your walk with Him is forever changed.

To be fixed, Jacob had to be broken. It’s no different with us.

Hosea 12:4
In Hebrew the word for angel can also mean messenger. But because of Gen. 32:24-30 it is obvious Jacob wrestled with God. It is a well-known established fact in theology that whenever we see the “Angel of the LORD” in Scripture that this is actually God taking on human form, or Yeshua prior to His birth through Mary in Bethlehem. So here too we can see assuredly this messenger, this angel spoken of in this passage was Yeshua, the God-man.

Oba. 1:18
This is the forever change Jacob the Heel Catcher, to Jacob/Israel the Overcomer, the one who wrestled God and won! Jacob went from wet, weak, grabbing hand to a wild fire!

Romans 9:13
We all get our shot at wrestling with ourselves and wrestling with God. Not everyone grabs that opportunity. Some are scared to face not only God, but themselves! With change comes pain and alterations. Jacob had his hip thrown out of socket and he never walked the same again.

When I was young and going through growth spurts I had what was known as growing pains in my legs. They ached and hurt so bad, but I got through them and now I am 5 foot 11 inches instead of 5 foot. The pain was necessary for my growth.

God didn’t hate Esau as a person, but hated his ways. He was weak and stubborn. He gave up his birthright, his blessing and ran from God, ran from his Peniel. He wasn’t ready for the pain and change like Jacob was. He wasn’t hungry or desperate for that change that he knew he needed.

“Abba YHWH Elohim, may we meet You head on when You bring us to our Peniel. Through it is painful, may we not let You go until we are forever changed. In Yeshua’s Name, Amen!”