Fra: Messianic Bible [mailto:email@example.com]
Sendt: 17. desember 2011 13:36
Emne: Shabbat Shalom Bjoern, this week’s Torah Portion is Vayeshev (and he lived) – Keeping the faith during trials
Shabbat Shalom Bjoern!
Welcome to Vayeshev (and he lived), this week’s Parsha (Torah Portion).
We know that you will be blessed as you read with us the portion of Torah
that will be read in synagogues around the world during this week’s
Shabbat (Saturday) service. Enjoy!
VAYESHEV (and he lived)
Genesis 37:1–40:23; Amos 2:6–3:8; Matthew 1:1–6, 16–25
“Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.”
In this week’s Torah study of the story of Joseph, we are reminded that God
is sovereign and governs the affairs of man, even during those times when we
are tempted to question whether God is really in control.
The Children of Jacob sell their Brother Joseph, by Konstantin Flavitsky
When we are engulfed by confusion and chaos, we may be totally in the dark
about why strange and fiery trials are happening to us; however, through this
story, we can be reassured that God is guiding our footsteps.
Joseph must have been confused by the trials he faced. Imagine being
thrown into a pit by your very own brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt!
“Then some Midianite traders passed by, so they pulled him up and lifted
Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of
silver. Thus they brought Joseph into Egypt.” (Genesis 37:28)
As the favored son of Jacob, Joseph went from the heights of privilege to the
depths of humiliation in the blink of an eye.
Nevertheless, God was with him, and as a slave in Potipher’s house, he was
favored by Potipher and became overseer of his house.
“So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal servant; and he
made him overseer over his house, and all that he owned he put in his
charge.” (Genesis 39:4)
This Torah scroll, protected by a beautifully embroidered needlepoint
Torah cover, is resting on an amud (lectern) covered in a blue tablecloth.
The blue and scarlet are reminiscent of the blue, purple and scarlet clothes
of service used by the priests in the Temple.
Still, in Potipher’s house he was a slave and not a free man.
And just when we think his circumstances couldn’t worsen, Joseph resists
the advances of Potipher’s wife.
Is he rewarded for doing the right thing and for honoring God? Is he better
off? Quite the opposite! He is thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t
commit and left there to rot year after dismal year. Oy vey!
“So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the
king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail.” (Genesis 39: 20)
Is God really in control here in Joseph’s life?
Yes, we will see at the end of the story, as Joseph also came to realize, that
God is most definitely in control.
A scribe finally fills in the remaining words of the Torah (Genesis through
Deuteronomy) after many months of meticulous work on the scroll.
Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of
his old age; and he made him a varicolored tunic.” (Genesis 37:3)
Joseph had a special destiny to rule and reign, as foretold in his dreams. His
father must have had some knowledge of this also, since in the Patriarchal
age, Semitic chiefs wore coats of many colors as an insignia of rulership.
Jacob, in giving Joseph a coat of many colors, marked him for the
chieftainship of the tribes at his father’s death.
Joseph, however, probably did not use wisdom in ‘boasting’ about it to his brothers.
It seems that Joseph, in his youthful pride and zeal, needed some preparation
in order to occupy that position of leadership. He needed a few more spins
on the potter’s wheel to rub off some of those rough edges.
Jewish man beseeching God in prayer at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
Prophets in Training
“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites
and refine them like gold and silver.” (Malachi 3:3)
During his time in the PIT, Joseph was a ‘Prophet in Training’.
He needed to undergo the fires of purification in order to be refined into a
vessel God could use.
We see this in the lives of many of the great Bible characters. David, Moses,
Yeshua (Jesus) —they all spent time in what we call the wilderness becoming
prepared for the great task God had for them before fulfilling their destiny.
Bjoern, this can be true in our own lives as well. We may have a unique
calling from God and a special destiny.
We may wonder, “What am I doing stuck in this PIT?”
How could the people so close to us, those who we trusted, hurt and betray us?
The answer is simple. We are being prepared, purified, refined, and made
ready to rule and reign with Yeshua as kings (melachim) and priests
(cohanim) with Him in His Kingdom.
If Yeshua baptizes us with the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and with fire,
should we be confounded by the preparation?
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is
more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
A silversmith is melting silver in a small crucible for making jewelery.
The Fires of Purification
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you
are Mine… When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor
shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2)
If we allow ourselves to submit to the fires of purification and trust God that
with Him by our side we will not be burned, then God will exalt us in His
perfect way and perfect time to fulfill our destiny.
Although the fire can be uncomfortable and even painful, it can be the very
thing that sets us free.
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have
had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven
genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even
though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Messiah
Yeshua is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Molten gold being poured into ingots: the genuineness of our faith is of
greater value than gold.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego also experienced fiery trials. They
were thrown bound into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow
down to the golden image.
But God was faithful and a fourth man was seen to be walking in the fire
When they emerged, they were free – the bonds that tied them had been
loosed. Not only were they not burned, they didn’t even smell like smoke!
“He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and
unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25)
When we walk through these fiery trials with God and Yeshua by our side,
we’re going to come out of it better off than before, and if we will stay
faithful, we’re not even going to smell like smoke!
People won’t even be able to tell that we’ve gone through anything.
We’re not going to look all beat up and worn out. People are going to say,
“Wow! You’re looking great! What have you been doing lately?” And we
can answer, “Oh, just spending time with God and Yeshua.” Hallelujah!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, by Simeon
A Comparison of Yoseph and Yeshua
The other beautiful thing about the story of Joseph is its clear prophetic
message. The similarities between Yoseph (Joseph) and Yeshua (Jesus)
- They were both shepherds of their father’s sheep
“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11)
- They were both their father’s beloved sons
“This is my beloved son in Him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
- They were both sent by their father to their brothers
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
- They were both hated by their brothers, rejected, and treated with injustice
- Others plotted to harm them
- They were both tempted
- They were both taken to Egypt
While Joseph was sold into slavery and taken into
Egypt, Yeshua was taken into Egypt by his father, who
was warned by an angel to go there to save Yeshua’s life.
- They both had special robes that were taken from them
- They were both sold for the price of a slave
- They were both bound in chains
- They were both falsely accused, but were innocent
- They were both placed with two other prisoners, one who was saved and the other lost
- They were both 30 years old at the beginning of their public recognition
- They were both exalted after suffering
- They both forgave those who wronged them
“Father forgive them.” (Luke 23:34)
- They both brought salvation to their nation Israel
- They both brought bread to the people
“I am the living bread” (John 6:51)
- What men did to them God turned to good – even salvation of many people
- They were both considered dead but later found out to be alive
- Their brethren vowed never to bow down to them but eventually did
- Their brothers at first don’t recognize them, but later come to understand who they are
These last two points, especially, give us such hope as a prophetic promise
of what will take place between Yeshua and His brethren – the Jewish people.
Just as Joseph’s brothers mocked him and vowed they would never bow
down to him, so do Yeshua’s Jewish brethren also refuse to bow to Yeshua.
The idea that Yeshua could actually be the promised Messiah is, to most
Jewish people, still a preposterous notion. They laugh and mock at our
faith; but eventually, one day, every knee shall bow and every tongue will
confess that Yeshua is Lord.
“…at the name of Yeshua, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth
and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:10)
Joseph recognized by his brothers, by Léon Pierre Urbain Bourgeois
And just as Joseph’s brothers eventually came to recognize his true identity,
when he declared, “Ani Yoseph” (I am Joseph), so will the Jewish people,
Yeshua’s brethren, one day come to see Him as the true Messiah of Israel
and savior of the world.
One day a great reconciliation will take place and He will say to His Jewish
brothers, “Ani Yeshua Hamashiach” (I am Yeshua the Messiah) and they will
see him for who He truly is.
Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him as an Egyptian. He looked like an
Egyptian and he spoke like a foreigner. Similarly, the image of Yeshua has
been changed over the centuries into a foreign, Gentile god, making it nearly
impossible for the Jewish people to recognize Him; but the day will come
when His true identity will be made known.
Just as Joseph’s brothers wept in sorrow and fear, so will the Jewish people
mourn for him as an only son.
“…they will look on me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for him
as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for him as one grieves for a
firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)
Please pray for the Jewish people to see Yeshua in his true identity as our Jewish Messiah.
An Orthodox Jewish man praying from the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer
book, which is filled with prayers based on the Hebrew Scriptures.
“For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3)
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