Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Apostolic Writing: Luke 4:14-22; Matthew 16:20-28
Reading #7 - Leviticus 27:16-34
I am assuming that the tenth of the crops and animals that are dedicated to Hashem in this passage are actually given to the Tabernacle for the priests to manage. I do not understand all the details of this, except that Hashem asks His people to do this. And if you think of it -- it makes sense. We have crops, animals, blessings, only because Hashem has given to us. So, to give back to “Him” or to the service for Him, is appropriate and actually an honor. It reminds us that everything is His. He owns “all the cattle on the hill”.
We may not have instructions here for how to give a tithe of the things we own when there is currently not a Temple, but we can figure out a way to honor these commands in our life. We can “tithe” to people and organizations that serve Hashem and His Torah to the best they are able. That’s my challenge for you today. Are you giving “back” to Hashem at least 10% of what He has “loaned” to you in this life? There are many wonderful organizations in Israel that support aging Holocaust victims, the poor, the Temple, small businesses in the areas where Jews are not highly populated and of course the wonderful ministries in our own country that help people who are not fortunate. Pray and seek out how you can financially help someone else or a ministry that serves Hashem. You will be blessed in return and you will be obeying His Torah.
Reading #7 - Leviticus 27:16-34
27:16 “‘If a man dedicates to Hashem part of the field of his possession, then your valuation shall be according to the seed for it. The sowing of a homer of barley shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. 17 If he dedicates his field from the Year of Jubilee, according to your valuation it shall stand. 18 But if he dedicates his field after the Jubilee, then the priest shall reckon to him the money according to the years that remain to the Year of Jubilee; and an abatement shall be made from your valuation. 19 If he who dedicated the field will indeed redeem it, then he shall add the fifth part of the money of your valuation to it, and it shall remain his. 20 If he will not redeem the field, or if he has sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed any more; 21 but the field, when it goes out in the Jubilee, shall be holy to Hashem, as a devoted field. It shall be owned by the priests.
22 “‘If he dedicates a field to Hashem which he has bought, which is not of the field of his possession, 23 then the priest shall reckon to him the worth of your valuation up to the Year of Jubilee; and he shall give your valuation on that day, as a holy thing to Hashem. 24 In the Year of Jubilee the field shall return to him from whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land belongs. 25 All your valuations shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs to the shekel.
26 “‘However the firstborn among animals, which belongs to Hashem as a firstborn, no man may dedicate, whether an ox or a sheep. It is Hashem’s. 27 If it is an unclean animal, then he shall buy it back according to your valuation, and shall add to it the fifth part of it; or if it isn’t redeemed, then it shall be sold according to your valuation.
28 “‘Notwithstanding, no devoted thing that a man devotes to Hashem of all that he has, whether of man or animal, or of the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed. Everything that is permanently devoted is most holy to Hashem.
29 “‘No one devoted to destruction, who shall be devoted from among men, shall be ransomed. He shall surely be put to death.
30 “‘All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is Hashem’s. It is holy to Hashem. 31 If a man redeems anything of his tithe, he shall add a fifth part to it. 32 All the tithe of the herds or the flocks, whatever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to Hashem. 33 He shall not examine whether it is good or bad, neither shall he exchange it. If he exchanges it at all, then both it and that for which it is exchanged shall be holy. It shall not be redeemed.’”
34 These are the commandments which Hashem commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.
In verse 17:6 we read that man is cursed who follows man not Elohim. In 17:7 we read that the man who follows Hashem is blessed. Simple isn’t it? If we follow Hashem we will be happy and fulfilled, if we do not -- then we will find life hard and barren. What do you choose? To follow or not to follow? I choose Hashem!
Verse 16:19 ways Hashem is a “refuge” in the day of affliction. That means when things are really going wrong you can run to Him and He will comfort and shelter you. But, only if you are following Him. Obeying His Torah, loving and serving Him. It’s like you can feel whether He is there for you or not. If you sin, it seems He leaves the room. If you do things to please Him -- it seems like He is ever present. My challenge to you today is if you are going through a difficult time, to look for Adonai. Try to trust in your heart, that He is there for you. That He does have a plan, it’s just that His time is different then our time. Try to be patient. And start praising Him for things you have asked Him to do. I am confident He will hear you. And also try your hardest to follow Torah to the best of your ability. He will reward you!
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
16:19 Hashem, my strength, and my stronghold,
and my refuge in the day of affliction,
the nations will come to you from the ends of the earth,
and will say,
“Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies,
vanity and things in which there is no profit.
20 Should a man make to himself gods
which yet are no gods?”
21 “Therefore behold, I will cause them to know,
this once I will cause them to know My hand and My might.
Then they will know that My name is Hashem.”
17 “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron,
and with the point of a diamond.
It is engraved on the tablet of their heart,
and on the horns of your altars.
2 Even their children remember their altars
and their Asherah poles by the green trees on the high hills.
3 My mountain in the field,
I will give your substance and all your treasures for a plunder,
and your high places, because of sin, throughout all your borders.
4 You, even of yourself, will discontinue from your heritage that I gave you.
I will cause you to serve your enemies in the land which you don’t know,
for you have kindled a fire in my anger which will burn forever.”
5 Hashem says:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man,
relies on strength of flesh,
and whose heart departs from Hashem.
6 For he will be like a bush in the desert,
and will not see when good comes,
but will inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
an uninhabited salt land.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in Hashem,
and whose confidence is in Hashem.
8 For he will be as a tree planted by the waters,
who spreads out its roots by the river,
and will not fear when heat comes,
but its leaf will be green,
and will not be concerned in the year of drought.
It won’t cease from yielding fruit.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and it is exceedingly corrupt.
Who can know it?
10 “I, Hashem, search the mind.
I try the heart,
even to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his doings.”
11 As the partridge that sits on eggs which she has not laid,
so is he who gets riches, and not by right.
In the middle of his days, they will leave him.
At his end, he will be a fool.
12 A glorious throne, set on high from the beginning,
is the place of our sanctuary.
13 Hashem, the hope of Israel,
all who forsake you will be disappointed.
Those who depart from me will be written in the earth,
because they have forsaken Hashem,
the spring of living waters.
14 Heal me, O Hashem, and I will be healed.
Save me, and I will be saved;
for you are my praise.
Yeshua is prophesied in Isaiah 61. He fulfills this prophecy, even in detail. He has been sent to “preach the good news to the poor.” We were taught this meant the “good news” was His death and resurrection. Yes it is wonderful He was resurrected and ascended into heaven. But, I believe His “good news” was that of the Torah. He taught the “heart” of Torah, how Hashem loves us so much He gave us guidelines how to live and serve Him. And how we must return to Hashem, so that He will return to us. (Malachi 3:7) That was the good news! That by following Torah we have life!
In Matthew 16:24 we are told that if we are to follow Yeshua and the Torah we are to “deny” ourselves. Why is that? Because when you have to follow rules, sometimes you must give up things that you would rather do! So, you deny yourself and obey Hashem. My challenge for you today is to review your life (once again) and see if you are “denying” yourself of fleshly desires and mental wishes. If you are not having to deny yourself of anything then chances are you are not really following some instruction in Torah. Or it could mean that maybe you have progressed far in your spiritual walk and have already “given up” your fleshly desires. You have already denied yourself so many times, that following Torah and Yeshua come naturally. Check out your life. If something is getting in the way of following Yeshua and Torah, then give it up today!
Apostolic Writing: Luke 4:14-22; Matthew 16:20-28
Yeshua returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding area. 15 He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
16 He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of Hashem is on Me,
because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted,
to proclaim release to the captives,
recovering of sight to the blind,
to deliver those who are crushed,
19 and to proclaim the acceptable year of Hashem.” (Isaiah 61:1-2)
20 He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
22 All testified about him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth, and they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Then he commanded the disciples that they should tell no one that He was Yeshua the Mashiach.
21 From that time, Yeshua began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.
22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from you, L-rd! This will never be done to You.”
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of Elohim, but on the things of men.”
24 Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will render to everyone according to His deeds. 28 Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.”