Vayeira וַיֵּרָא - And He Appeared
Haftarah: 2 Kings 4:1-37
Apostolic Scriptures: Luke 17:28-37
SHABBAT READING #7 - Genesis 22
Abraham gets “tested” in verse 1. This is the hugest test anyone can imagine, to sacrifice his only son. And Abraham appears to be doing exactly what Hashem is asking of him. But, I believe that while he is the process Abraham actually has great faith that Hashem will somehow pull through at the very end. That his son will not die, but that Elohim will come to the rescue. The obviously amazing thing is that Abraham has to wait until the last SECOND to see this. His knife is raised and ready to sacrifice to his son, when the angel speaks to him from heaven.
Could you wait until the last minute to see Hashem answer a prayer? How extremely difficult would that be? Do we even have a tenth of that kind of faith to pass such a “test”? Something to meditate on.
At the last second, Hashem provided a “substitute” answer for Abraham -- a ram. It makes me think, how many times do I look for a substitute way to do what Hashem has asked? Sometimes I get a strong impression that Hashem is asking me to do something I really do not want to. So I start looking for “excuses” or substitutes to His request. Something I can do instead of what He asked me to do. I challenge you that the next time you feel Hashem is asking you to do something and you really don’t want to do it, because it will be too hard or whatever -- that you do it anyway. As you might already do, the reward is amazing! When you step out and do what seems impossible for Hashem, you will see a mighty move from Him. And it will all be worth it in the end. I promise.
Reading #7 - Genesis 22
22 After these things, Elohim tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
He said, “Here I am.”
2 He said, “Now take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go into the land of Moriah. Offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of.”
3 Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his donkey; and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which Elohim had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place far off. 5 Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there. We will worship, and come back to you.” 6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. He took in his hand the fire and the knife. They both went together. 7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father, and said, “My father?”
He said, “Here I am, my son.”
He said, “Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 Abraham said, “Elohim will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they both went together. 9 They came to the place which Elohim had told him of. Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, on the wood. 10 Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to kill his son.
11 Hashem’s angel called to him out of the sky, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
He said, “Here I am.”
12 He said, “Don’t lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear Elohim, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and saw that behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place “Hashem Will Provide”. As it is said to this day, “On Hashem’s mountain, it will be provided.”
15 Hashem’s angel called to Abraham a second time out of the sky, 16 and said, “‘I have sworn by myself,’ says Hashem, ‘because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 that I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your offspring greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the gate of his enemies. 18 All the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring, because you have obeyed my voice.’”
19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba. Abraham lived at Beersheba.
20 After these things, Abraham was told, “Behold, Milcah, she also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Uz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” 23 Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
THIS WEEK’S HAFTARAH:
This story in 2 Kings is amazing and beautiful. It is a story of extreme faith and miracles. Elisha in his close walk with Hashem seems to have very special prophetic and healing powers. When he meets the Shunammite woman he shows compassion and gives her a very special answer to prayer -- a son. How many times in Scripture to see a barren woman given the gift of life? Over and over.
Could these stories be representative of people who for some reason do not have faith in Hashem, but then Hashem “births” faith into them? At different times in our lives we can lose or start to lose our faith. Our spiritual life becomes “barren”, empty and void. Then Hashem comes to us in a very special way -- sometimes through another person -- to restore or give “birth” to a new faith. I have seen it happen many times. Just like in these stories of barren women, Hashem can and will birth new faith in those who ask. It is a beautiful thing.
The Shunammite woman is probably excited beyond understanding when she is presented with a son. So when her son dies, it can only be the most devastating thing in the world. Interesting that she goes back to Elisha for help. She returns to the place of the origin of her miracle. And she asks for another miracle. Hashem obliged her request and her son is restored to life.
My challenge today is to think of the time when your prayers seem to be answered, and then seemed to be taken away. That is the time to pray and remember. Remember and give praise to Hashem for what He did and ask Him to restore the first miracle. He can do it and many times will -- if only we ask.
2 Kings 4:1-37
2 Kings 4 Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead. You know that your servant feared Hashem. Now the creditor has come to take for himself my two children to be slaves.”
2 Elisha said to her, “What should I do for you? Tell me: what do you have in the house?”
She said, “Your servant has nothing in the house, except a pot of oil.”
3 Then he said, “Go, borrow empty containers from all your neighbors. Don’t borrow just a few containers. 4 Go in and shut the door on you and on your sons, and pour oil into all those containers; and set aside those which are full.”
5 So she went from him, and shut the door on herself and on her sons. They brought the containers to her, and she poured oil. 6 When the containers were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”
He said to her, “There isn’t another container.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 Then she came and told the man of Elohim. He said, “Go, sell the oil, and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
8 One day Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a prominent woman; and she persuaded him to eat bread. So it was, that as often as he passed by, he turned in there to eat bread. 9 She said to her husband, “See now, I perceive that this is a holy man of Elohim who passes by us continually. 10 Please let’s make a little room on the roof. Let’s set a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp stand for him there. When he comes to us, he can stay there.”
11 One day he came there, and he went to the room and lay there. 12 He said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” When he had called her, she stood before him. 13 He said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Behold, you have cared for us with all this care. What is to be done for you? Would you like to be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the army?’”
She answered, “I dwell among my own people.”
14 He said, “What then is to be done for her?”
Gehazi answered, “Most certainly she has no son, and her husband is old.”
15 He said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the door. 16 He said, “At this season, when the time comes around, you will embrace a son.”
She said, “No, my lord, you man of Elohim, do not lie to your servant.”
17 The woman conceived, and bore a son at that season, when the time came around, as Elisha had said to her. 18 When the child was grown, one day he went out to his father to the reapers. 19 He said to his father, “My head! My head!”
He said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.”
20 When he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees until noon, and then died. 21 She went up and laid him on the man of Elohim’s bed, and shut the door on him, and went out. 22 She called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the servants, and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of Elohim, and come again.”
23 He said, “Why would you want to go to him today? It is not a new moon or a Sabbath.”
She said, “It’s all right.”
24 Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward! Don’t slow down for me, unless I ask you to.”
25 So she went, and came to the man of Elohim to Mount Carmel. When the man of Elohim saw her afar off, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Behold, there is the Shunammite. 26 Please run now to meet her, and ask her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with your child?’”
She answered, “It is well.”
27 When she came to the man of Elohim to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi came near to thrust her away; but the man of Elohim said, “Leave her alone; for her soul is troubled within her; and Hashem has hidden it from me, and has not told me.”
28 Then she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? Didn’t I say, ‘Do not deceive me’?”
29 Then he said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand, and go your way. If you meet any man, don’t greet him; and if anyone greets you, don’t answer him again. Then lay my staff on the child’s face.”
30 The child’s mother said, “As Hashem lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.”
So he arose, and followed her.
31 Gehazi went ahead of them, and laid the staff on the child’s face; but there was no voice and no hearing. Therefore he returned to meet him, and told him, “The child has not awakened.”
32 When Elisha had come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and lying on his bed. 33 He went in therefore, and shut the door on them both, and prayed to Hashem. 34 He went up, and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, and his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. He stretched himself on him; and the child’s flesh grew warm. 35 Then he returned, and walked in the house once back and forth; and went up, and stretched himself out on him. Then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36 He called Gehazi, and said, “Call this Shunammite!” So he called her.
When she had come in to him, he said, “Take up your son.”
37 Then she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground; then she picked up her son, and went out.
THIS WEEK’S APOSTOLIC SCRIPTURE
This is a curious prophecy. The Christian church will often use this as an example of the “rapture”. They insist that the one taken out of the bed and the one taken from the grain mill will be “raptured” to heaven. I strongly disagree. In other Scripture Yeshua says that it will be like in the days of Noah, where people were removed. They were removed because of sin. In all instances in the Bible, where there is sin, people are taken out -- expelled -- dispersed. I believe when Yeshua is speaking about people being “taken” (at the time of His return to earth) that they are being removed because of sin. The people that remain are actually those who follow Hashem and obey Him. The way I understand it is that there is no “rapture” to heaven. The only “rapture” is the “gathering” of Hashem’s people back to Israel, where Yeshua will rule and reign from the Temple. It is prophesied over and over in Scripture of Hashem gathering His people back to Himself and to His land. Very important that we study and know this.
Love to hear your comments on this story!
Look up verses in the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) about the “gathering” of Hashem’s people back to Israel. Here is one:
“For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers. “Behold, I am sending for many fishers, declares Hashem, and they shall catch them. And afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks.”” (Jeremiah 16:15-16)
17:28 Likewise, even as it was in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from the sky and destroyed them all. 30 It will be the same way in the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 In that day, he who will be on the housetop and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away. Let him who is in the field likewise not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever seeks to save his life loses it, but whoever loses his life preserves it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed. One will be taken and the other will be left. 35 There will be two grinding grain together. One will be taken and the other will be left.” 36
37 They, answering, asked him, “Where, L-rd?”
He said to them, “Where the body is, there the vultures will also be gathered together.”