Shemot, שְׁמוֹת - Names
Torah Portion: Exodus 1:1-6:1
Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23
Apostolic Scriptures: Matthew 2:1-12
Reading #7 - Exodus 5:1–6:1
Trouble and storm before deliverance. That is what I am thinking today. Things got way worse for the Hebrews before Hashem led them out to freedom. Why? Is it a matter of faith, of testing? At the time of this writing our country (the USA) is probably going through one of its most difficult times in its history. To look at what is happening makes you feel like you are in an “alternate” universe! Yet many, many strong believers know that Hashem is going to deliver us out of this trouble. Sometimes He waits until the very last moment. And that’s when many believers fall away. I must admit this is a very strong test of faith for myself. I am trying hard to keep my eyes on Hashem, the author and finisher of my faith. To not look to the right or to the left, but only to Him. And to keep praying that His Truth will reign!
If you are going through what seems like an impossible time right now, or you know of someone who is -- I encourage you to look to Hashem. I remember when one of my daughters was young and had a very serious medical problem. We were waiting to get test results and a diagnosis. I was a mess, but my husband remained steady in his faith. I remember him out in the hospital hallway praising Hashem for everything. I sat numbly next to him and tried to do the same. It was hard. The next day we found out her tests were negative and she did not have cancer. Then it was easy to praise Him. But, during the deepest part of the situation it was very, very difficult.
So, if you are someone you know is going through a difficult time, start praising Hashem. Think of all the wonderful things He has done for you and give him praise and thanks. No matter how hard it is, thank Him for what He is doing even in your difficult situation.
“Holy Elohim of the universe, we praise Your Name and thank you for all you are doing that we do not see with our eyes. We thank you for all the beautiful things you have done in our lives and the things that are about to come. You are gracious and kind. You are the Almighty. Amen.”
Reading #7 - Exodus 5:1–6:1
5 Afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said to Pharaoh, “This is what Hashem, the Elohim of Israel, says, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’”
2 Pharaoh said, “Who is Hashem, that I should listen to His voice to let Israel go? I don’t know Hashem, and moreover I will not let Israel go.”
3 They said, “The Elohim of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Hashem, our Elohim, lest He fall on us with pestilence, or with the sword.”
4 The king of Egypt said to them, “Why do you, Moses and Aaron, take the people from their work? Get back to your burdens!” 5 Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens.” 6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 You shall require from them the number of the bricks which they made before. You shall not diminish anything of it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, saying, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to our G-d.’ 9 Let heavier work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it. Don’t let them pay any attention to lying words.”
10 The taskmasters of the people went out with their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go yourselves, get straw where you can find it, for nothing of your work shall be diminished.’” 12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The taskmasters were urgent saying, “Fulfill your work quota daily, as when there was straw!” 14 The officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and were asked, “Why haven’t you fulfilled your quota both yesterday and today, in making brick as before?”
15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants? 16 No straw is given to your servants, and they tell us, ‘Make brick!’ and behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.”
17 But Pharaoh said, “You are idle! You are idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to Hashem.’ 18 Go therefore now, and work; for no straw shall be given to you; yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks!”
19 The officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble when it was said, “You shall not diminish anything from your daily quota of bricks!”
20 They met Moses and Aaron, who stood along the way, as they came out from Pharaoh. 21 They said to them, “May Hashem look at you and judge, because you have made us a stench to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us!”
22 Moses returned to Hashem, and said, “Hashem, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it that you have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has brought trouble on this people. You have not rescued Your people at all!”
6 Hashem said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh, for by a strong hand he shall let them go, and by a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land.”
What an encouraging reminder in verse 13. On that day we will be gathered and returned to Jerusalem to worship on His holy mountain. There He will be, His glory emanating from the Holy Temple. Shouldn’t we be getting ready for that day? Shouldn’t our hearts be prepared? Repent, give restitution, pray and ask Hashem to come back. Ask Him to come back to the new Temple prepared for His glory in Jerusalem. The Temple that either we or He prepares for His residence. This is real. Study about Hashem’s returning glory. You will be blessed.
Most every day I challenge you to examine yourselves for sin and an unrepentant heart. Today I will do the same. Take a moment of silence and go before Hashem. Ask Him for forgiveness for what you have done and strength to correct it. Ask Him for a way to make restitution. And then carry out what He tells you. Do not delay. He may come back at any time. You must be ready. I must be ready.
Haftarah: Isaiah 27:6-28:13, 29:22-23
27:6 In days to come, Jacob will take root. Israel will blossom and bud. They will fill the surface of the world with fruit. 7 Has he struck them as he struck those who struck them? Or are they killed like those who killed them were killed? 8 In measure, when you send them away, you contend with them. He has removed them with his rough blast in the day of the east wind. 9 Therefore by this the iniquity of Jacob will be forgiven, and this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: that he makes all the stones of the altar as chalk stones that are beaten in pieces, so that the Asherah poles and the incense altars shall rise no more. 10 For the fortified city is solitary, a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness. The calf will feed there, and there he will lie down, and consume its branches. 11 When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off. The women will come and set them on fire, for they are a people of no understanding. Therefore he who made them will not have compassion on them, and he who formed them will show them no favor.
12 It will happen in that day that Hashem will thresh from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt; and you will be gathered one by one, children of Israel.
13 It will happen in that day that a great trumpet will be blown; and those who were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and those who were outcasts in the land of Egypt, shall come; and they will worship Hashem in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.
28 Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fertile valley of those who are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, Hashem has a mighty and strong one. Like a storm of hail, a destroying storm, and like a storm of mighty waters overflowing, He will cast them down to the earth with His hand. 3 The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden under foot. 4 The fading flower of His glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fertile valley, shall be like the first-ripe fig before the summer; which someone picks and eats as soon as he sees it. 5 In that day, Hashem of Armies will become a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the residue of His people, 6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
7 They also reel with wine, and stagger with strong drink. The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink. They are swallowed up by wine. They stagger with strong drink. They err in vision. They stumble in judgment. 8 For all tables are completely full of filthy vomit and filthiness.
9 Whom will He teach knowledge? To whom will He explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts? 10 For it is precept on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little.
11 But He will speak to this nation with stammering lips and in another language, 12 to whom He said, “This is the resting place. Give rest to the weary,” and “This is the refreshing;” yet they would not hear. 13 Therefore Hashem’s word will be to them precept on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little; that they may go, fall backward, be broken, be snared, and be taken.
29:22 Therefore Hashem, who redeemed Abraham, says concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall no longer be ashamed, neither shall his face grow pale. 23 But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in the middle of him, they will sanctify My name. Yes, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the Elohim of Israel.
This reading certainly ties in with waiting for Hashem for deliverance. His people had been given a promise of a Mashiach and they had waited for a long time. When He came there was great joy among those who believed. And wonderful miraculous signs were given. As we wait for the Mashiach to return, as the King and Deliverer, we must be sure we have studied and know how to recognize Him. It is imperative to know Hashem’s Word and His promises. Ask Him today for revelation of this.
Take a moment to pray and ask Hashem to give you a special picture of the Mashiach coming and leading from His Temple in Jerusalem. Picture Him seated on the throne as we read in Ezekiel. Study the prophets to know in your heart what to expect. Prepare and be ready. Let us not be deceived as to how this will happen and what it will all entail. We must become just as sure of His return and we are of His first coming.
Apostolic Scriptures: Matthew 2:1-12
2 Now when Yeshua was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who is born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.” 3 When King Herod heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Mashiach would be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is written through the prophet,
6 ‘You Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are in no way least among the princes of Judah;
for out of you shall come a governor
who shall shepherd My people, Israel.’” Micah 5:2
7 Then Herod secretly called the wise men, and learned from them exactly what time the star appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child. When you have found him, bring me word, so that I also may come and worship him.”
9 They, having heard the king, went their way; and behold, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them until it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Opening their treasures, they offered to Him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 Being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country another way.