Week ending August 18, 2018 by Rabbi Jeff Grillo
Torah – Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 Haftarah – Isaiah 51:12-52:12
Brit Chadashah – John 1:19-27; Acts 3:22-23
This is probably the one parashat (portion) that I quote throughout the year, more than any other. It is simply too important to ignore in the times in which we live. So, to begin I will reiterate the main point I challenge anyone who will listen to pay close attention and make application. Then, I will introduce something new I have not pointed out before.
Shoftim translates as “judges.” We are instructed in the opening words of this study to place judges at the gates. On the pashat, or surface level, of the text they were told to do exactly what it says. We make application by putting into practice the principle that is contained in the instruction. Now that Yeshua (Jesus) has made the once for all time Atonement for our sin and sent the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit), we are the Temple in which His Spirit dwells. We make application by appointing judges, or standing watch over our gates and being very picky about
what we allow in our “gates.” These gates being our eyes and ears, and even our mouth. Our eyes, because we need to be careful what we allow ourselves to look upon. We avoid looking at things that may cause us to lust, covet or otherwise draw us from the all out pursuit of G-d and His Holy Word and Will for our lives.
Our ears, because likewise we need to avoid listening to gossip, coarse joking, music that leads us away from worship of our King and other such snares.
Our mouth, because we should guard against speaking anything that is contrary to the Word of G-d or that may cause harm to anyone else. All these things are especially important in this the beginning of the second week of the month
of Elul, a special time of repentance ahead of Rosh HaShanah, also known as Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets.) As we “clean house” and set ourselves right with His Will and return to Gd, we really need these judges in place to help keep us on the right path. This year I want to look at the Haftarah and Brit Chadashah portion and offer up some focus and encouragement. Especially as we as a Congregation are preparing for our next outreach in a matter of about two weeks.
Isaiah 52:7-11, “How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good [things], Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your G-d reigns!” 8 Your watchmen shall lift up [their] voices, With their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye When the L-RD brings back Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, You waste places of Jerusalem! For the L-RD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The L-RD has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of
all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our G-d. 11 Depart! Depart! Go out from there, Touch no unclean [thing]; Go out from the midst of her, Be clean, You who bear the vessels of the L-RD.”
Also, let’s quickly look at John 1:22-23, “Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said: “I [am] ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the L-RD,” ‘ as the prophet Isaiah said.” Yokhanon (John) was a malech. The word malech is typically translated into English as the word “angel.” A more correct translation is simply “messenger.” While many times a malech was indeed a celestial, Holy being sent from G-d, it is also important to note that human
malechim were also used. I point out these Scriptures and explain the word malech to remind you that whether you are a member of the Rock of Israel Congregation, or you are a person reading this post on the
internet, or in a book format down the road you need to know the L-RD has intended for YOU to be a malech! Blessed is the feet of those who bring good news! The Gospel/Good News is something we all ought to herald to the world around us as often as we possibly can. Our times of corporate evangelism is a wonderful thing; however, it is not intended to be the only time we share the Good News. It is training, encouragement, motivation, instruction to offer up a few of the intentions behind why we do this. Ultimately, it is to train you to be able to
do it effortlessly wherever your daily life takes you. Whoever you are, and wherever you are take advantage of this time during the month of Elul to
get back on track with G-d, but as a new beginning of sorts when it comes to your personal evangelism. Shalom!