Friday, January 24, 2014

Shabbat Thought: Parasha Mispatim

Each week in the Synagogue, a different portion of scripture is studied.  The Torah (Old Testament) is broken into portions which are read over the course of a year.  At the end of the year, it starts over again so the Bible is read annually.
This week, Parasha Mishpatim, is from Exodus 21:1.-24:18 (my italics):  
20 I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have made ready. 21 Pay heed to him and obey him. Do not defy him, for he will not pardon your offenses, since My Name is in him; 22 but if you obey him and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes.
23 When My angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I annihilate them, 24 you shall not bow down to their gods in worship or follow their practices, but shall tear them down and smash their pillars to bits. 25 You shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will remove sickness from your midst. 26 No woman in your land shall miscarry or be barren. I will let you enjoy the full count of your days.
27 I will send forth My terror before you, and I will throw into panic all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn tail before you. 28 I will send a plague ahead of you, and it shall drive out before you the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites. 29 I will not drive them out before you in a single year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply to your hurt. 30 I will drive them out before you little by little, until you have increased and possess the land. 31 I will set your borders from the Sea of Reeds to the Sea of Philistia, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and you will drive them out before you. 32 You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. 33 They shall not remain in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me; for you will serve their gods — and it will prove a snare to you.

As the Israelites enter the promised land, God makes it clear that they don't have to worry.  Just as He led them with pillars of cloud and fire, he promised to go ahead of them with His angels and His terror, and they will be taken care of.  God makes a point of encouraging the people that He will be with them.  They're not working in their own power.

God even thought ahead enough not to drive out the other people all at once so that the land would become wilderness.  He cared enough for His people that He drove out the inhabitants of the land little by little, so they could take over the farming.

Are you working in your own power?  Or can you be certain that God has sent His angels or His terror before you?  

Messiah Yeshua also addresses our worry.  He says (Matthew 6:31-33):
Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
What are you worried about today?  God can handle it.  Actually, readjust your thinking for a moment.    If God set His angel and His terror before the Israelites as they entered Caanan, and if Messiah Yeshua tells us not to worry, then I need to trust that He will blaze the trail in the direction He is leading me.  

Do you know your direction?  The nation of Israel had a clear direction: travel from Egypt to the promised land.  That direction seems clear.  But now, in 2014, how can I say what your direction needs to be?  Seek God's kingdom, and God will give you direction and comfort.

It gives me great peace to know God blazes the path for me!  

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