Thursday, November 12, 2015

Torah Trails #6 Toldot

Torah Trails
Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Kristopher Shoemaker

#6 Toldot
Gen. 25:19-28:9
Mal. 1:1-2-7
Romans 9:6-11, Heb. 12:14-17
Memory Verses: Gen. 26:12-13, Mal. 2:2, Rom. 9:8

Gen.25:9, 21-23, 28:1-2, 7-9

Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau represent what is called in Hebrew the Yetzar Tov (the Good Inclination) and the Yetzar Hara (the Bad or Evil Inclination). Just as we read that Isaac and Ishmael were subject to and obeyed Abraham their father and Jacob and Esau likewise obeyed Isaac their father and thus the in same way, the Good and the Bad inclination are subject to God. I say Bad because such Inclination isn’t innately evil because it is from God. The Inclination is not evil, it just has the potential, if we let it to make evil decisions. For example, hunger becomes gluttony or starvation becomes theft.

Isaac and Jacob are like the Good Inclination. Ishmael and Esau are like the Band Inclination. Ishmael and Esau were not bad guys necessarily, just cantankerous and stubborn and learned things the hard way, usually putting self before God.

Isaac and Jacob ultimately wanted to please and obey their father, Ishmael and Esau did also, but reluctantly, they seemed to want to do what they wanted to do, but never the less conceded to obey their father but in an indirect, minimal or less than perfect way, or even after the fact. The Bad Inclination is the desire to fill a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. The Bad Inclination wants to put our ways first and God’s ways second.

The Good Inclination is there to help us please Our Father YHWH and the Bad Inclination does tend to appeal to our flesh, while the whole time still desires, though reluctantly, to do God’s will, or find alternative or indirect ways to do God’s will that is permissible but not perfect or beneficial. The Bad Inclination allows us, if we let it, to see and envision the negative, less than perfect and or troubled and complicated outcome of a decision aimed at satisfying self and so in its own way prods us back to the ways of God. The Good Inclination is like the school of discipline and the Bad Inclination is like the school of Hard Knocks. Both end up learning the same lesson; one is by positive reinforcement, and the other by negative reinforcement. The problem lies in the self-deception in thinking we can get away with pleasing ourselves without entangling consequences and blame the Bad Inclination when one gets in trouble. So the Bad Inclination is employed by God in order to make us stronger if we allow it, by practicing restraint and resistance.  

In a way, we are like little children who want candy, (nothing wrong with candy in and of itself) but our parents want us to eat our vegetables. The Good inclination promptly acknowledges that our parents love us and have our best interests in mind, and we find when we willingly and joyfully obey we get the candy afterwards, making Godly and fleshly satisfaction unified and complete and kosher. The Bad Inclination on the other hand, desires the candy, thinking of immediate self-gratification and is willing to reluctantly eat he least amount of vegetables necessary, but won’t like it, in order to get the candy. Our free will is like a judge, weighing he pros and cons of the Good and Bad and acting on it. If we choose Bad, we may decide to forgo the vegetables all together, even though the Bad would say, do it anyway, even though you won’t like it, and gorge on the candy and then get sick and say, “I should have ate the vegetables.” Hence, satisfying a sweet tooth becomes gluttony. Lesson learned the hard way, so the next time we’d eat the vegetables and then get the candy; bypassing the nasty stomach ache of the last time.

The Bad Inclination, if we allow it, causes us strengthen our self-control, resolve and will to do what is right.

Mal. 1:2-3, Romans 9:6-16

Continuing the theme of the Good and Bad Inclination, we can see this verse from the standpoint that God didn’t literally “hate” Esau, but if we read carefully and take Genesis and Malachi in proper context, we see that God loved the ways of Jacob and hated the ways of Esau. I can have two sons and love them both equally, but I can love or approve of how one does things over the other. One can be straight and the other a homosexual. I still love them both but could only love the ways of one and hate the ways of the other. Because Esau’s ways were not godly but fleshly and thus not perfect, we see him and his descendants suffer the consequences of poor decision making.

Heb. 12:14-17

Esau representing the Bad Inclination; puts self before God, only later to weigh and regret the consequences of such actions.

“Abba YHWH Elohim, train us to use the Bad Inclination and or temptations when they come along to cause us to look at the consequences instead of focusing on self-gratification so that we can end up making good choices that please You and better ourselves. And remind us that poor decisions lies souly on us. You never accept the excuse, “The Devil made me do it.”
In Yeshua’s Name, Amen!”