- Torah – Genesis 37:1-40:23
- Haftarah – Amos 2:6-3:8
- Brit Hadashah– Acts 7:9-16, Revelation 12:1-17
Last week’s parashah (VaYishlach) was loaded! Its hard to summarize everything that was presented in the account of Jacob’s (now Israel’s) return to Haran to be with his father. But the prominent event in my mind was the wrestling with the “Angel”, and the resulting boldness that Israel seems to muster as he regroups his camp and leads the march to meet Esau. It seems that it was facing Esau and the possible threat of death that Jacob needed to come to terms with his past behavior, and finally become the man God desired him to be, Israel. And as an act of repentance or Teshuvah תשובה Jacob appears to restore the blessing that he stole from Esau. Every action that he takes as he approaches his brother, the giving of the flock, the bowing and submitting, everything that he did I believe was not just to soften Esau, but to right the wrong.
In Jewish tradition, the process of atonement has four clearly defined stages:
- Regret. Realize the extent of the damage and inwardly adopt of feeling sincere regret.
- Ceasing. Immediately stop the harmful action.
- Confession and restitution. Verbalize the mistake and ask for forgiveness, either from God or from the wronged party. If possible, the wrong must be righted through compensation. If the sin is against God, acts of charity may be considered as restitution.
- Resolution. Make a firm commitment not to repeat the sin in the future.
All four of these attributes are apparent in Jacob life after his encounter with the Angel, and as a result of his confession of who he was, “Jacob – a supplanter” he was finally able to move past that and become Israel. Likewise, it is the same with us. Until we get to the place where we finally recognize who we are before a Holy God, YHVH the Elohim of heaven and earth, and confess our sins, we cannot become the person God wants us to be. We simply have to let go of our sinful ways before God can use us.
In this weeks parashah, we are focused in on the life of Joseph, Jacob’s eldest son with Rachel. Jacob seems to have made no attempt to hide the fact that he favored Joseph over his other sons. Apparently the damage that the favoritism his parents Isaac and Rebekah showed between him and his brother had faded from memory. And to compound the issue, Joseph had a habit of telling his dreams where his brothers would bow down to him and give him honor, which only provoked their anger.
In the life of Joseph there are many parallels that can be drawn, since he seems to be a definite type of, or picture of our Messiah Yeshua. Below is a link to a PDF showing 60 different similarities. This list is not exhaustive, but has some really good scripture references to tie things together.
The story takes a detour into Judah’s life to give the account of his two sons death and the furtherance of the line of Yeshua. Early on Judah takes a wife from the Canaanites which was obviously not a good idea, and one could say even, prohibited.
“And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.” Genesis 38:2
Based upon the text, It is obvious that God is not pleased at all with the first two sons from this union, and they were looked upon as evil in the sight of God, and as a result God kills them. Sometime after Judah’s wife dies, and he goes to town, seeing Tamar along the way and believing her to be a prostitute, he lays with her, she conceives and bears Pharez and Zarah by Judah. I believe this was allowed or even ordained by God to preserve the lineage of Yeshua. Had Judah’s sons not died, and had Judah’s lust not driven him to lay with Tamar, his lineage would have been tainted with Canaanite blood. I still find it amazing how God can use even sinful behavior and bad decisions to further His purpose and plan. He truly is amazing.
The story resumes with Joseph being carted off to Egypt and being sold to Potiphar. The story that unfolds over the next thirteen yeas as Joseph’s life is wrecked with false accusations and imprisonment, to his eventual promotion to second in command, shows the amazing sovereignty of Yah! It also reassures us that God is in control, and according to Romans 8:28 “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The key to that verse, which is often overlooked is that it is to those who love Him. Yet many while claiming to love him and referencing this verse while facing trials, neglect what it actually means to love God.
1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
However, it is obvious by Josephs actions throughout this account, that his heart was toward God, and that even when faced with great temptation, he refused to sin against God.
I hope that we can all learn a little something as we study Joseph, and know that when we find ourselves in a tough place, that if we are dedicated to God and to walking in His way, because we love Him and because we have faith in His Son Yeshua, He can and will work those situations out for good. I have learned through trials that I have faced, that even though those trials may involve us, they may have been ordained for the benefit of others as well. So be patient and faithful, because if we are patient and faithful like Joseph was, we have a lot to gain as we too walk in the footsteps of the Messiah.
Below are the lings relating to this weeks Torah parashah. Enjoy!