Archive for March, 2007

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To my fellow Bereans…

March 9, 2007

  A Letter to my Fellow “Bereans”,

Paul told Timothy to “Preach the Word” at a time when there was no “new” testament.   As I have shared with you before, my reason for writing “Seeds of Restoration” is to encourage God’s people to dig into Scripture, all of it.  I believe this is so important now, and in the perilous days ahead.  If we don’t know the truth of Scripture, how will we be able to recognize those who will “depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons”? (1Timothy 4:1) How will we know when there are false teachers among us? (2 Peter 2:1) Or, how will we know when we are walking among the very men who have “crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness..)? (Jude verse 4) 

For you husbands and fathers out there, consider the family that God has entrusted to your care.  Are you being the Spiritual leader that they need? Are you sharpening your children so that they will be able to slice thru the lies of the enemy? Are you being a watchman on the wall or are you putting your complete trust in another man to teach your family those things which have eternal consequences?  In 1st Thessalonians Paul tells us to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good”.  In love I ask you to put down the latest greatest “Christian” book and pick up your Bible. Let us tremble at His Word. 

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Exodus 12:36

March 9, 2007

“Now the Children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.  And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight o the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested.  Thus they plundered the Egyptians” Exodus 12:35-36 

Here we find that not only does God plague Pharaoh to the point he tells the children of Israel to leave…but God also uses Egypt to bless Israel with much wealth as a going away present!  What an awesome God we serve! With all of this in mind…let’s take time to review what we have seen happen so far in the lives of Jacob’s children…starting from the time they came to be in Egypt…to the time they came out of Egypt. We will do so by highlighting seven key events from the story thus far.  Here we go…  

1) There is a famine in the land.  (Gen 42:5) 2) There is a journey down to Egypt by God’s chosen. (Gen 42:1-5)   3) Time passes and in the book of the Exodus, we find a Pharaoh who does not recognize the God of Abraham, or know that Israel is His chosen bride. (Exodus 5:2)   4) Pharaoh brings Israel into his servitude. (Exodus 1:13)   5) God plagues Pharaoh and Egypt because of His people Israel.  (Exodus 3:19-20).  6)  Finally, Pharaoh tells Israel to go!! Get Out!! (Exodus 12:31)   7) When they go, they plunder Egypt as we just saw, leaving with silver, gold, and other riches. (Exodus 3:22, 12:35-36)   8) Finally, (fast forward) Moses gets to see the Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 32:48-49)  

Now…pay special attention as we go back in time a bit and look at seven key events from the lives of Abram and Sarai as found in Genesis chapter 12.  Notice the similarities… 1) Verse 10 There is a famine in the land; and 2) Abram went down to Egypt.  3) Verses 11-13 The Pharaoh of Egypt does not know that Sarai is Abrams wife.  4) Verse 15 Pharaoh takes Sarai into his servitude.  5) Verse 17 God plagues Pharaoh because of Sarai, Abrams wife.  6) Verse 19 Pharaoh tells Abram to take his wife and Go! 7) Verse 16 They leave Egypt with much wealth. 8)Now jump ahead a little to Genesis 13: 14-15 and you will see God showing Abram the Promised Land!!   Coincidence? I believe not.

In Isaiah 46:8-10 God gives an interesting instruction concerning things of the past.  He says…”Recall to mind, O you transgressors.  Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done”.  As I have shared before, Paul twice informs us that these events from the lives of our fathers were written down for the children…those upon whom the ends of the ages fall.  That’s us.  God has been revealing parts of His prophetic plan thru the events of our ancestors. From the very beginning…literally…God had a plan and He has everything under control.  All we have to do is trust, obey and watch, as the past unfolds before our very eyes… Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst.  For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem…Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives…Judah also will fight at Jerusalem And the wealth of all the surrounding nations Shall be gathered together; Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance”.  Zechariah 14:1,14:3 and 14:14 Tim’s Torah Take—Seeds of Restoration    

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Exodus 6:2-9

March 9, 2007

And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD.  “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD (YHVH I was not known to them.I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage in which they were strangers.  “And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. 

In the bible… names have meaning.  The name spoke to the character, the events or the calling in the life of a person. Abraham for instance means “father of many”. While many may refer to our Master as Jesus…His real Hebrew name is actually Yeshua which literally means “salvation”. Knowing His real name brings the text to life when you read “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name “Salvation” for He will save His people from their sins.”(Matthew 1:21), or when you hear Moses say “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today“. (Exodus 14:13) By knowing the true name of Messiah, we understand a great truth concerning His mission among His people.  It is no different with God’s Holy Name.  While Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew what God’s Holy Name was… (Genesis 15:7-8) Moses and the children of Israel were about to gain a better understanding of what His Holy Name means.  God was about to reveal that “The Name” keeps His promises…He fulfills His covenants…He is faithful and trustworthy. The children of Israel were going to see firsthand the fulfillment of something that had been foretold for generations…their redemption from Egypt by great judgments.   Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.  And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions”. (Gen 15:13-14) 

In Exodus 6:6-8 Moses is instructed to share the good news with the children of Israel. The time had come…their redemption was finally at hand! Sadly however, this good news was unable to be received.  “So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage”. Exodus 6:9 It would seem the children of Israel were unable to believe the words of Moses after so many years of suffering and heartbreak. After all, they had buried whole generations of those who had spoken of this great redemption…this “exodus” from Egypt… yet the children of Israel remained as slaves under the burdens of Pharaoh. After so many years of affliction, Egypt had taken its toll on the faith of Israel.  

As I write this…there are many of us as God’s children today, the redeemed of Israel, who are struggling to hear and receive God’s promises. Because of our own “anguish of spirit” we are unable to really believe that “Salvation” is coming…that our redemption from this totally messed up “Egypt” is certain and true. Sure, we have read what is written concerning our final deliverance from “Egypt” when God pours out His judgments on this earth. We have heard the prophecies…we know the teachings of Messiah and can quote Peter and Paul as they encourage us to stand strong to the end looking forward to God’s great restoration.  Yet often, the words can seem very distant and elusive to us as we toil and struggle with the realities of “life outside the garden” as my good friend Jim Denman might say.   Once again…Egypt is taking its toll.  The Pharaoh of this world is pulling out all the stops to break our spirit and to crush the hope we have been given by faith in God thru Messiah. Distractions…deception… persecution…wars and natural disasters are becoming and will become the normative for all who live in these last days. It will become increasingly difficult for those who are grounded in the Word of God to stand firm in their faith…to hold onto the promises of God…to actually believe while witnessing the world fall apart around them and their families. But for those who have only heaped up for themselves teachers who tickle their ears once a week…for those who do not learn from the examples God gave us in His Torah, (1Cor 10:11) it will prove almost impossible. 

Our Master tells us in Matthew 24:12 that “because lawlessness or “Torah-less ness” will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved”.   As we walk out these final days in Egypt, may we remember what our forefathers learned concerning the Lord. May we dig into His Word and learn that our God is a faithful God…He always keeps His promises and He always remembers His covenants with His people. We who have trusted in Him will see the dawning of the day when Messiah reigns on earth and all tears are wiped away.  We will enter into the Promised Land and live forever with Him. No matter what happens in the days ahead…no matter how bad things appear…keep looking up.  Yeshua…our Salvation is coming…  Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near”.  Luke 21:28 Tim’s Torah Take—Seeds of Restoration   

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Exodus 5:1-12

March 9, 2007

Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.” And Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? Exodus 5:1-2Then the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.” So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves.  And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before.  You shall not reduce it.  For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words. Exodus 5:4-9 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. Exodus 5:12

As we continue on in the book of Exodus we now find the children of Israel living a land where the king no longer knows of Joseph or his God…the God of Israel. It is a land of many so called gods…including Pharaoh! It is a land full of trials and great oppression for God’s people. Yet, in the midst of this bondage and affliction, the children of the Living God are given instruction to keep a pilgrimage “feast” in the wilderness.  Didn’t God know the difficulties that would result from this instruction?  Couldn’t He see how Pharaoh would react…how life in
Egypt would become still more difficult for those who seek to follow the God of Abraham?

If you listen, you will hear the lives of our fathers, who lived as strangers in Egypt, echoing thru the years into our lives, as we walk thru this world. There are those today who have been given the responsibility of understanding that as the “seed of Abraham(Galatians 3:29) as disciples of Messiah…we too have instruction to keep “feasts of the Lord” (Leviticus 23) including His 7th day Sabbath…no matter the consequences.  Jesus said that if we love Him, we should keep His commandments.(John 14:15) In the midst of a world which for the most part no longer recognizes the God of Israel or His Torah…we are called to walk in ways which seem very foreign to most.  Is it any surprise that we should encounter some difficulties as we seek to worship our Father as He instructed? Is it any wonder that the god of this world, the system which seeks to keep us in servitude, is vehemently opposed to our being obedient to any other?  Is it any wonder that our enemy does not want us to be gathered together in worship of our Father in “spirit and in truth” but instead wants us to be scattered throughout the land…chasing after “stubble”?

The Bible teaches us that His Commandments are not burdensome. (1John 5:3)  Our sufferings come not from His instructions…but from the fallen world in which we live. Let us be encouraged as we remember how our fathers were brought out of Egypt…rescued from their bondage and redeemed with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. (Exodus 6:6) “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them”. Exodus 7:5

Tim’s Torah Take—Seeds of Restoration

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Exodus 1:7

March 9, 2007

“But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty;’ and the land was filled with them”. Exodus 1:7“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. Exodus 1:12

As we begin to move thru this Torah portion from the book of Exodus…we suddenly find five descriptive terms in just one verse bursting forth with the faithfulness of God’s promises. Could it be we are to take special note for some reason? Are we to understand that even in the midst of Israel’s affliction in Egypt, His word is faithful and true?  In just one verse…we are allowed to witness a prophetic preview, to the fulfillment of a promise God made to our father Abraham. Unlike us thankfully, He keeps His promises.

God had told Abraham “I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you and kings shall come from you. Genesis 17:6 Because of Abraham’s obedience (Gen 26:5) Isaac, the son of promise was also told “And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Genesis 26:4 In Genesis 28:14 Jacob is told by God that his “descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Then in last week’s portion we saw Israel (Jacob) bless Ephraim and Manasseh, adopting these two grandchildren as his own sons, (Gen 48:5) bestowing upon Joseph in effect…a double blessing.  In a continuation of the promise made to Abraham…Jacob’s blessing upon these sons of Joseph once again speaks prophetically to our future…the future of Israel. In Genesis 48:16 he said “And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth”. Of Manasseh and Ephraim he said “He (Manasseh-which means “forgetfulness”) also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother (Ephraim-which means “fruitfulness”) shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a “multitude of nations” or “melo hagoyimGen 48:19.

I believe Paul references these very same physical descendants, the “melo hagoyim”who would fill the earth in Romans 11:25-26. Speaking of the future Israel being reunited and saved Paul says “For I do not desire brethren that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the “fullness of the Gentiles” or (“multitude of nations” or “melo hagoyim”) has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written…”

Today as you and I seek to live according to God’s Commandments in the midst of “Egypt,” life can be very lonely and tiresome. As we journeyed thru the life of Joseph…it was impossible not to notice his weeping…his heartbreaks…the false accusations and the separations. In short…it was a difficult life. Can you relate? If so…be encouraged and remember, Joseph was “sown” into Egyptto save many people” (Gen 50:2) … what the enemy meant for evil…God means for good! So too have we been sown into Egypt” that in the end…according to His will… “all Israel will be saved.” May the light of Messiah shine bright in each of us!

Be assured, God’s word is true…a bountiful harvest is approaching. (Hosea 1:10)  He who has been “declaring the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10) has once again been “filling up” the land of “Egypt” right under the very eyes of “Pharaoh,” “multiplying” the “Israel of God”, even in the midst of affliction and trial. I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back. Because I have mercy on them.  They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; For I am the Lord their God.  And I will hear them.  Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes their children shall see it and be glad, their heart shall rejoice in the Lord. I will whistle for them and gather them.  For I will redeem them: And they shall increase as they once increased. Zechariah 10:6-8

Tim’s Torah Take-Seeds of Restoration