Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Torah Trails #7 Vayetze

Torah Trails
Rabbi Yehudah “Tochukwu” ben Shomeyr
Kristopher Shoemaker

#7 Vayetze
Gen. 28:1-32:3
Hos. 12:13-14:10
John 1:43-51
Memory Verses: Gen. 32:1-2, Hos. 14:9, John 1:51

Gen. 30:31-43, 31:36-42

Being a person of morals, loyalty, integrity and sacrifice does not mean you are weak or that you open yourself up to draw the short straw and get taken advantage of. Quite the opposite, it means you are a person of wit and strength.

Jacob, due to his name (Heel Catcher) and reputation in his family (Esau and the birthright and blessing of the firstborn) was someone others tended to watch themselves around. Laban, Jacob’s uncle, was no exception. Laban may have had a worse reputation than Jacob or he thought, “I’ll out trick the trickster,” and decided to deal dirty and underhanded with Jacob. Yet despite all this, Jacob was loyal to Laban, worked hard and sacrificed for Laban and his livestock. Yet all the while, even playing by Laban’s ever changing rules, managed to work hard for himself and accumulate a sizable nest egg for his family by fair and square means. Also, to boot, God was on Jacob’s side and protected him from Laban’s constantly broken word. Laban was just upset that no matter what he did, he couldn’t get one up on his wily nephew. Being a man or woman of God does not mean you can’t be aggressive in business, protecting your own interests all the while remaining loyal to your employer.

Hosea 13:6, 14:1

Though it is okay to be aggressive in business and even though there is away one can protect one’s own interests, all the while remaining faithful to your boss, there is a danger in prosperity. When one becomes prosperous and one’s needs decreases and we become “self-sufficient” it’s easy to have God and His Word become more distant and disconnected in our thoughts and actions. No matter what, we must always put and keep God first. After all, He is the reason for our success and Jacob is an example of one who never forgot that fact.

John 1:47, Luke 16:1-9

Nathanael, like Jacob was a man of integrity, no guile (falsehood) in him.

In Yeshua’s parable of the shrewd manager, in the end such a manager was praised for his shrewdness. I like the way Eugene Peterson in The Message puts Luke 16:8-9

“Now here’s the surprise: the master praised the crooked manager and why? Because he knew how to look after himself… I want you to be smart in the same way – but for what is right – using adversity to stimulate you to creative survival…”

Isn’t this exactly what Jacob done with Laban?

“Abba YHWH Elohim, help us, as Matthew 10:16 says, to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” to do what’s right by those in authority over us, yet all the while looking out for ourselves and our families. In Yeshua’s Name, Amen!”