Friday, December 28, 2012
English: And He drew near
Haftarah: Ezekiel 37:15-28
Brit Chadashah: Luke 6:9-16
Today’s Parasha speaks about the re-encounter of Joseph and his brothers.
God Always Has a Plan
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? These were some of the last words of Yeshua before His death. He had been separated from whom He so much loved, His Father, in order to save us. Joseph had also been separated from His loving father, Jacob, so he could be used to save many people and all his family from famine. God is always making a way for our salvation. God always has plans of peace to give us a good end.
Joseph manifested himself to his brothers as also did Yeshua. Joseph’s brothers despised him but God allowed it for good. Yeshua was despised and rejected, acquainted with grief, afflicted. He was wounded and bruised for our transgressions and iniquities to give us peace and healing.
Joseph suffered much in the hands of his brothers. He endured hardships. God was forming a leader out of him, a man fit for God’s plan and purpose. But the separation from his father, his brother Benjamin and even the rest of his brothers, was extremely hard for him. Separation hurts. Divorce hurts. Rejection hurts, to be mocked hurts, to be disliked hurts… very much. But the wounds are healed with love.
Joseph’s brothers come to him from Canaan in order to buy food. After a series of events, Joseph reveals his identity to them. There was lots of forgiveness and consolation. His brothers cried, asked for forgiveness and humbled themselves before their little brother who was now a great authority figure before their very eyes. As the prophetic dream said, his brother’s sheaves bowed to Joseph's sheaf.
Strength in Unity
I come from a family of 9 children. We had a large dining table, I remember at the table my father used to tell us that separated we were not strong, but as the fingers of a hand, if we stood together, we formed a fist that was very strong. There is strength in unity and there is victory in unity. In oneness.
God multiplied Jacob’s descendants as He had promised and agreed with Abraham. He kept them together. God made the re-encounter of Joseph and his brothers possible and orchestrated their reconciliation.
There is strength in unity. When the disciples were united, 'all in one accord' and in fervent prayer, the Holy Spirit was sent down and God's powerful movement of announcing salvation to the world through the Messiah was started. Psalm 133 says that it is pleasant for the brethren to be together, the oil, meaning the Spirit is given us, the dew meaning the abundant blessing of God is given us, even more, God commands a blessing for us.
In this congregation, we are a mishpocha, a family. God wants us to be together, echad. The New Testament/Brit Chadashah gives us rich instruction on unity, respect, honor, encouragement and love towards one another. The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 is very much related with how we treat each other. The fruit of the Spirit is shown on how we treat each other. God rejoices when we love one another. The Spirit of God is grieved when we do not love one another. Yeshua was one with the Father, and He prayed in John 17 that we would be one with Him as He was one with the Father. This concept was given high importance by Yeshua. He prayed for them then and for us now. We are a body. We need each other. A body needs all its parts and when one hurts, the whole body hurts. When we do not obey God's will in His commandment to love each other, we are just making noise. That means we are not being effective in God's work.
One New Man
We are jew and gentile together. God himself broke down the barrier that used to separate us. The enmity has been abolished. We are one new man and God has given us His peace.
In Ezekiel 37 God speaks about how He will bring the kingdoms of Judah and Israel together under one pastor. God is in the business of mending broken hearts, broken relationships. He is in the business of healing, bringing together and unifying us. One in the Messiah.
Keeping the Unity in the Bond of Peace
There is much more to say about this theme, but for now I close with some verses of Ephesians 4.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Messiah forgave you.