SHARING A HEBREW PERSPECTIVE! GOD BLESS

English: Moses Speaks to Pharaoh, c. 1896-1902...

English: Moses Speaks to Pharaoh, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902), gouache on board, 7 7/16 x 11 1/4 in. (18.9 x 28.6 cm), at the Jewish Museum, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dealing with Discouragement

December 23, 2013

Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.” — Exodus 6:9

The Torah portion for this week is Va’eira, which means “and I appeared,” from Exodus 6:2–9:35, and the Haftorah is from Ezekiel 28:25–29:21.

If you’re like the rest of us, no doubt you have experienced discouragement, maybe even today. It could be a goal you never seem to reach or an expectation that didn’t come to fruition. Sometimes it seems like things will never get better and it’s all too easy to give up and despair.

This week’s Torah reading picks up the story of Israel’s redemption. Just a few verses earlier, the process had already gotten underway. Moses accepted God’s mission to free the people and went to speak to Pharaoh. However, Pharaoh’s response was less than encouraging. Not only did he answer Moses’ plea to “Let my people go” with an emphatic “no,” Pharaoh also made the Israelites’ conditions even harsher and impossibly demanding.

At that point, Moses was extremely discouraged. He said to God: “Ever since I went to Pharaoh … he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people …” (Exodus 5:23). In other words, things are only getting worse, God! Last week’s reading ended with God encouraging Moses with the promise that everything would work out in the end.

This week’s reading begins with an encouraged Moses who returned to the Israelites to tell them that redemption is near. However, “they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.” Once again, Moses was left feeling deflated and discouraged.

What a disheartening section. However, within this tale of discouragement, we can find a cure for the ailment of despair.

First, let’s start with the cause. The verse tells us the source of the people’s inability to embrace hope. The cause, which is translated from Hebrew as “discouragement and harsh labor,” literally means “short spirit and hard work.” In other words, the Israelites suffered from a crushed spirit because of how hard life had been. In addition, they suffered from physical exhaustion due to overworking. Both of these factors kept them mired in despair.

However, there is a way out. The first step is to rest. When our bodies are physically strong, our spirits are stronger. We need to take care of our bodies with proper nutrition and sleep. The second step is to believe in God’s promises for the future. God reiterated His promises to Moses, but in time, Moses had to learn, and we all have to model, how to remember God’s promises and trust them on our own. We can reinforce our faith through daily prayer and study.

Once we nurture our bodies and spirits, we can leave despair behind – and turn our discouragement into the courage to persevere and be redeemed.

With prayers for shalom, peace, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein Founder and President

DON’T HARDEN YOUR HEART

Scourge for slumbering souls

THE THIRD TEMPLE

˜Woe to them that are at ease in Zion.  Amos 6:1

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 3:7- 4:2

I think it was Christmas Evans who used the simile of the blacksmith’s dog, which, when his master first set up in trade, was very much frightened with the sparks, but at last he got to be so used to them that he went to sleep under the anvil.  ˜And so,  said the good preacher, ˜there be many that go to sleep under the gospel, with the sparks of damnation flying about their nostrils.  And certainly there are such. I am told that when they are making the great boilers at Bankside, when a man has to go inside for the first time and hold the hammer, the noise is so frightful, that his head aches and his ears seem to have lost all power of hearing for a long time afterwards; but I am also told that after a week or two a person can go to sleep in the midst of these boilers while the workmen are hammering outside, and he would sleep none the less soundly for the noise. So I know there is such a thing as going to sleep under the most thundering ministry. I know that men get used to these things, used to being invited, used to being warned, used to being thundered at. They have been pleaded with until they sleep under it; I doubt not they would sleep even if the world were blazing, if the sun were turned into darkness, and the moon into blood; and I think that even the trumpet of the archangel would not suffice to wake them from their lethargy, if they heard it long enough to be accustomed to it. Shall we give you up as hopeless? I think we almost may. If you have heard so long, and been unblessed, there is no great likelihood that you ever will be blessed; but you will go on as you have been going, till at last you perish.

For meditation: Faithful gospel preachers sometimes get accused of hardening the hearts of their unbelieving hearers. That is the equivalent of blaming Moses for repeating a message from God (Exodus 5:1,3; 6:11; 7:2,16; 8:1,20; 9:1,13; 10:3) which led to Pharaoh hardening his heart (Exodus 8:15,32; 9:34). Beware of apportioning blame like this ”those who harden their hearts against the gospel will not be able to hide on the day of judgment (Romans 2:4–5).

Sermon no. 417 3 November (1861)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

July 04, 2013 NOW AND THEN

Morning

The ill favoured and lean fleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine.”
Genesis 41:4

Pharaoh‘s dream has too often been my waking experience. My days of sloth have ruinously destroyed all that I had achieved in times of zealous industry; my seasons of coldness have frozen all the genial glow of my periods of fervency and enthusiasm; and my fits of worldliness have thrown me back from my advances in the divine life. I had need to beware of lean prayers, lean praises, lean duties, and lean experiences, for these will eat up the fat of my comfort and peace. If I neglect prayer for never so short a time, I lose all the spirituality to which I had attained; if I draw no fresh supplies from heaven, the old corn in my granary is soon consumed by the famine which rages in my soul. When the caterpillars of indifference, the cankerworms of worldliness, and the palmerworms of self-indulgence, lay my heart completely desolate, and make my soul to languish, all my former fruitfulness and growth in grace avails me nothing whatever. How anxious should I be to have no lean-fleshed days, no ill-favoured hours! If every day I journeyed towards the goal of my desires I should soon reach it, but backsliding leaves me still far off from the prize of my high calling, and robs me of the advances which I had so laboriously made. The only way in which all my days can be as the “fat kine,” is to feed them in the right meadow, to spend them with the Lord, in His service, in His company, in His fear, and in His way. Why should not every year be richer than the past, in love, and usefulness, and joy?–I am nearer the celestial hills, I have had more experience of my Lord, and should be more like Him. O Lord, keep far from me the curse of leanness of soul; let me not have to cry, “My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!” but may I be well-fed and nourished in thy house, that I may praise thy name.

Evening

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.”
2 Timothy 2:12

We must not imagine that we are suffering for Christ, and with Christ, if we are not in Christ. Beloved friend, are you trusting to Jesus only? If not, whatever you may have to mourn over on earth, you are not “suffering with Christ,” and have no hope of reigning with him in heaven. Neither are we to conclude that all a Christian’s sufferings are sufferings with Christ, for it is essential that he be called by God to suffer. If we are rash and imprudent, and run into positions for which neither providence nor grace has fitted us, we ought to question whether we are not rather sinning than communing with Jesus. If we let passion take the place of judgment, and self-will reign instead of Scriptural authority, we shall fight the Lord’s battles with the devil’s weapons, and if we cut our own fingers we must not be surprised. Again, in troubles which come upon us as the result of sin, we must not dream that we are suffering with Christ. When Miriam spoke evil of Moses, and the leprosy polluted her, she was not suffering for God. Moreover, suffering which God accepts must have God’s glory as its end. If I suffer that I may earn a name, or win applause, I shall get no other reward than that of the Pharisee. It is requisite also that love to Jesus, and love to his elect, be ever the mainspring of all our patience. We must manifest the Spirit of Christ in meekness, gentleness, and forgiveness. Let us search and see if we truly suffer with Jesus. And if we do thus suffer, what is our “light affliction” compared with reigning with him? Oh it is so blessed to be in the furnace with Christ, and such an honour to stand in the pillory with him, that if there were no future reward, we might count ourselves happy in present honour; but when the recompense is so eternal, so infinitely more than we had any right to expect, shall we not take up the cross with alacrity, and go on our way rejoicing?

All right belong to the collection of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

 

June 24, 2013 The Courage of Stephena

JOHN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

JOHN 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Acts 7:1-21

Stephen’s Speech to the Sanhedrin

7 Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”

2 To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran.3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’

4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Harran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even enough ground to set his foot on. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child.6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

9 “Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace.

11 “Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our ancestors could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our forefathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph’s family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all.15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our ancestors died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

17 “As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased.18 Then ‘a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.’19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our ancestors by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die.

20 “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for by his family. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.