From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Saturday, November 05, 2011 12:32 PM
Subject: Shabbat Shalom Bjoern, Lech Lecha (Go Forth!) is the Torah Portion this Week
Shabbat Shalom Bjoern!
Welcome to this week’s Torah portion called ‘Lech Lecha’ – God’s call to
Abraham to Go Forth!
These are the Scriptures which will be read in synagogues around the world
during the Shabbat (Saturday) service.
LECH LECHA (Go Forth!)
Genesis 12:1-17:27; Isaiah 40:27-41:16; Romans 4:1-25
The Caravan of Abraham, by James Tissot
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go (lech lecha) from your country, your
people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.’” (Genesis 12:1)
This Shabbat’s parsha (Torah portion) is about journeys – specifically
journeys that take us home.
Lech Lecha, roughly translated as “Go!” or “Leave!” or “Go ye”, carries one
of the most exciting messages in the Bible – the call to aliyah – (literally to go
up or to ascend) –to leave country, kindred, and home and go to the
The prophet Isaiah, foretold a day in the end times when many people from
the nations would say, “‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to
the Temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may
walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from
Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3)
Today, the word ‘aliyah’ in Hebrew means to immigrate to the Land of Israel.
A person who ‘makes aliyah’ (immigrates to Israel) is called an ‘oleh’ (m) or
‘olah’ (f) – one who ‘goes up.’ Abram was the first ‘oleh’ in Biblical history.
This magnificent Aaron Kodesh (which holds the synagogue’s Torah
Scrolls) rests next to the restored Wilson’s Arch at the Western “Wailing”
Wall in Jerusalem. It can hold over 100 Torah scrolls.
Leaving the Security of the Comfortable
“For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah and the word of the Lord from
Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3)
God called Abram to leave all that was familiar, secure, comfortable
and beloved, in order to go to an unknown land where he would dwell
as a stranger. This parallels the call of God to many in our generation to
‘come home’ to the Land of Israel.
God promises in His Word to bring His people home from all four directions
of the earth and He is fulfilling His Word in our very day – this is exciting!
God is bringing back to His Land the exiles of Israel, never again to be
uprooted from the land that He has given us!
“‘I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the
waste cities and inhabit them… I will plant them in their land, and no longer
shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,’ says the Lord your
God.” (Amos 9:14-15)
Olive trees on a hilltop near the West Bank village of Yanoun, near Nablus,
which is the area known in the Bible as Shechem (which the Romans
razed to the ground around 70 CE to scatter the Jewish People).
Leaving behind everything that is familiar and heading straight into an
unknown future certainly stretches our faith in the Almighty, but He is faithful.
The call to Abraham is a call to each and every Jewish person in this
hour: Lech Lecha! Go!
Interestingly enough, Yeshua’s last words to His disciples before His
ascension were also ‘go forth!’
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations….” (Matthew 28:19-20)
This doesn’t mean that we must all become missionaries. Obeying the call
of Lech Lecha may not necessarily require a geographical change either, but
God is calling each of us to step out of our comfort zones and be willing to
follow His Spirit on a journey to a place that He will show us.
Will we trust Him enough to take this leap of faith as did Abram in
order to receive the reward?
Torah scroll being displayed on Shabbat at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
Goy Gadol (Great Nation)
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your
name great, and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2)
In Genesis 12:2, God promises Abraham that he would become a great
nation –a ‘goy gadol’ in Hebrew. The word goy is used for nation, but can
also mean a Gentile (non-Jew), and gadol means either big or great.
We can keep in mind, however, that at this point, Abraham was, in fact not a
Jew. He was a man living in Babylonia, who entered into covenant with His
Creator. The important part of the equation is the covenant, not our
Abraham, through this covenant with God, was to be blessed, and to be a
blessing to all humanity.
Interestingly, the Hebrew word for blessing may be changed to ‘spring of
water’ with just one minor vowel change. God is the source of all blessing,
and Yeshua is the fountain of springs of living water.
Waterfall in En Gedi, Israel
Blessings and Curses
“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and
all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:3)
In Genesis 12:3, God makes a profound promise to Abraham that
whoever blesses him will be blessed and whoever curses him will be
cursed. This promise, which was extended to Isaac and then Jacob (Israel)
and his descendants, was proven true throughout history and still holds true today.
The totality of European history throughout the centuries teaches one lesson:
those nations which have dealt fairly and mercifully with the Jews have
prospered. However the nations which have oppressed and mistreated the
Jewish people have written out their own curse.
Is anyone seeking God’s blessing? A sure way to receive His blessing,
according to the Word, is by blessing Israel and the Jewish people.
How would all the families of the earth be blessed through Abraham?
Through Abraham came the Messiah, a lion from the tribe of Yehudah (Judah).
He came as a light in the darkness:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light… For unto us a
Child is born, unto us a Son is given….” (Isaiah 9:2, 6)
The Messiah was not sent only to save Israel, but all of mankind:
“It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of
Jacob, and to restore the preserved one of Israel; I will also give You as a
light to the Gentiles (goyim), that you should be My salvation to the ends of
the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)
Men praying at the Western “Wailing” Wall in Jerusalem
The Blessing of Abraham
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male
and female, for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. If you belong to
Messiah, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
There is another aspect of the blessing of Abraham that Believers need to
comprehend: anyone who is in the Messiah is considered the ‘seed of
Abraham’ and an equal heir to the blessings of Abraham as well.
That means that one does not need to be the physical seed of Abraham to
receive the blessings!
The book of Galatians declares that because of what Yeshua did, the
blessing of Abraham can be ours, whether Jew or Gentile, male or
female, bond or free, through our faith in Yeshua haMashiach
(Jesus the Messiah).
Reading the Word of God from a Sefer Torah on Shabbat
God actually swore by His own self, for there was none greater, promising
to bless and multiply Abraham, who patiently endured and received the
promises. (Hebrews 6:13-15)
“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promises.” (Hebrews 6:15)
So, too, if we will also patiently endure and stay in faith, God will bring to
pass His promises of blessing, increase and multiplication, just as He did
It’s also noteworthy that Lot prospered simply because he went with
“…and Lot went with him.” (Genesis 12:4)
The Word of God warns us to be careful about choosing our companions.
Do we follow those who are walking with God, or those who are ‘walking
curses’? As someone once said, “If we want to fly like an eagle, we had
better stop hanging around with turkeys!”
Kippah (Jewish head covering) and a map of Israel: When God promised
the Land of Israel to Abram, it was inhabited, which did not negate the
promise of God, or God’s right to make the promise.
The Promised Land was Inhabited
“At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites.” (Genesis 12:6)
When God promised the land of Israel to Abram, the land was not an
uninhabited. So too, the fact that some Arabs may have been living in the
Land that God promised Israel is no reason for Believers to doubt that the
land still belongs to the people of Israel.
Why does the Bible start with the account of creation? It is to establish God
as the creator of the heavens and the earth.
The whole earth belongs to the Lord.
God, the Creator of every inch of land on this earth, has every right to give
a portion of His land to whomever He pleases, no matter who happens to be
living in the land at the time.
Although Shechem (a place where Abraham offered a sacrifice – Genesis 12)
is now in the ‘Palestinian Arab occupied territory,’ the area still Biblically
belongs to the people of Israel.
Both Abraham and Lot had livestock. When an argument arose among
their herdsmen, Abraham found a solution that resulted in Lot having the
better pasture land.
Blessed are the Peacemakers
“There was a strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the
herdsmen of Lot’s livestock: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite lived in the
land at that time.” (Genesis 13:7)
In chapter 13 of the Book of Genesis, we see that there was strife between
the herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abraham.
Because Abraham understood that strife would destroy the blessing of
God on his life, as lover of peace, he sought for a solution.
He decided that he and Lot must separate. The fact that Abraham was such
a radical peacemaker could very well be one of the reasons why God chose
him to be the Father of our faith.
Abraham was willing to give up anything Lot asked for, just to have
peace (shalom) restored in his life.
“Better a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife.”
Sometimes separation is the only answer, as it was for Abraham and Lot.
Abraham passed on a heritage of peacemaking to his son, Isaac, as well.
When the Philistines unjustly challenged him over his father’s wells, Isaac chose
just to walk away for the sake of peace.
This was weakness on either Abraham or Isaac’s part. It was humility. It
was also the wisdom to know that we must absolutely have peace in
order to walk in the blessing and anointing of God! We must treat
strife as we would the plague.
Arguing, bickering and contention bring in confusion and every evil thing!
In order to restore peace, however, like Abraham, we may need to sacrifice
something important to us and even be willing to accept an unjust situation,
trusting God to make it up to us in His way and time.
God’s Promises to Abraham, by James Tissot, on display at the Jewish
Museum in New York.
Living by Faith
“I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants
as a permanent possession.” (Genesis 13:15)
Abraham gave Lot first pick of the land and accepted whatever was left
over. Lot chose according to his natural sight.
The land he chose looked lush and green and fertile. He gave Abraham the
leftover brown, barren, dry land.
Abraham, however, walked by faith and not by sight. He was unmoved by
the appearance of the land leftover because he trusted in God.
The land that Lot chose ended up completely destroyed due to its depravity
(Sodom), but Abraham prospered in the Land because he believed God’s
God’s promise to Abraham, clearly an everlasting covenant, is still in
ffect today. God’s promise to Abraham for the land is forever and God is
faithful to His covenant.
Green paths in the desert not too far from Sodom.
To believe otherwise calls into question the very nature of God.
God is a covenant keeper!
He did not break His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). He
punished Israel for her sins, but once the time of the punishment was over,
He kept His promise to restore the Land and bring His people home.
“But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my
people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and
will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply
the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The
towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.” (Ezekiel 36: 8-10)
This prophetic scripture is happening in our very generation.
The land is now blossoming and its cities inhabited as He promised.
The set time to favour Zion has come!
Shabbat Shalom from all of our ministry staff.
“For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3)
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