Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Looking At Words (David Russell)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is the second day of Spring or Autumn depending on what side of the equator one is on. I am on the side favoring Spring. I love many of you on the Autumnal side though. I appreciate a couple of you who have subscribed to my blog from the UK.

A few weeks ago I subscribed to the Weekly Prayer Letter by author and teacher, Joseph Shulam. He is based in Israel, and has an international ministry but this particular newsletter has been of interest. I share the content with you as it fits in our current look at faith heritage. I title this post, Looking At Words, because that is what this reflection by Mr. Shulam is largely about. I hope you enjoy and are also informed.
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The Jerusalem Prayer List – February 23, 2017
By Joseph Shulam  – From Belo-Horizonte, Brazil
We have been in Brazil for a week.  In the city of Vitoria we had the privilege of inaugurating a new congregation.  The name of the new congregation is Hesed V’Emet – Grace and Truth.  The text is taken from John 1:14, 17.  In the English Bibles and in other Christian Bibles you will find this term only in John chapter 1:14,17 – but if you check the Hebrew Bible you will find it more than 20 times.  The key to understand this term is in Exodus 34:6-7.  The reason that you don’t find this term in most Christian Bibles in the Old Testament is that the Christian translators decided that it would be confusing for Christians to find “Grace and Truth” in the Old Testament since the text in John 1:17, says: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  So if Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ – there must have not been Grace and Truth in the Torah or the Prophets or the Writings (the Old Testament).  Wherever there was “Grace and Truth” the translators masked it by using synonyms like: Gen. 24:49 “if you will deal kindly and truly” – Ex. 34:6 “abounding in goodness and truth” – 2Sam. 15:20 “Mercy and truth be with you.” – Psa. 25:10 “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” – Psa. 40:10 “Your lovingkindness and Your truth.” – Psa. 85:10 “Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed.”   These are just a few examples from the Old Testament.  The translators masked the fact that the Torah and the Prophets and the Writings – the whole Tanach – is full of Grace and Truth, and they did it by using synonyms.  So, we have a new congregation associated with Netivyah in Israel by the name Grace and Truth – Hesed V’ Emet.  We took a Torah Scroll as a gift for the new congregation and they have built a wonderful Torah Cabinet and a reading table.  However, the most wonderful thing about this congregation is that it is made up by young families full of energy and zeal to please God and to do His will.  Most of the members – are survivors of a previous congregation that we had a hand in establishing in the same city – a congregation that developed spiritual and moral mold and an abusive leadership of directed by women.  So, praise the Lord that gave Noah and his generation an boat to ride out the storm, and not in the city of Vitoria – there is God’s Hesed V’Emet – His grace and truth – to provide a home and a community for healthy growth and godly leadership that will work together and network with all brothers and sisters in that city and in Brazil.
This week the Parasha is Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18), The Haftarah (Reading from the Prophets is: Jeremiah 34:1-22, and the reading from the New Covenant is Mathew 15:1-14.
Immediately after God gave HIS instructions for everyone at the foot of Mt. Sinai – God expands his instructions (The Ten Commandments) and details the laws and the statues for the children of Israel and for every civilized society. The text starts with the laws of how to handle the weakest link in the society at that time, how do deal with a Hebrew slave.  The Torah sets limitations to power and authority.  When there is a person who out of circumstances in life had to become a slave – and even if you are a master – you can’t do with your slave as you wish.  You can’t abuse the slave, and you must remember that the slave is your “brother.”  There are so many interesting laws that God has given his children to regulate and have a society that is responsible for the weak and for the strong, and treats the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, righteously and with disregard for the social position or political power.  Please read the the Torah and the Prophets and the passage in the New Testament and ask yourself the following questions: 1) Why did tradition chose the following readings in the Prophets and in the New Testament to accompany the reading of the Torah?  2) What are the principles and benefits that I can glean from these texts that would help me become a better person and a more faithful servant of God?

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These are questions we can all use in whatever portion of G-d's Word we are considering. Until next visit, Kevod Yeheveh, may the presence of G-d be very real to you and me!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

1 comment:

Rebecca Coffman said...

Hi, David, Just taking a peek. It is at the end of a very long day tonight, but as I'm scanning thru, I'm thinking this will be a wonderful blog to visit on Shabbat afternoon when I'm more focused. I love the topic. I will definitely share.