24 Sh'vat, 5781
Welcome to Yitro, this week’s Parasha (Torah Portion).
· Exodus 18:1–20:23
· Isaiah 6:1–7:6; 9:5–6
· 1 John 5:1–11
“Now Yethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything YAHUVEH had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how YAHUVEH had brought Israel out of Egypt.” (Exodus 18:1)
In last week’s Torah study, YAHUVEH brought Israel out of Egypt and parted the Red Sea to save them from Pharaoh and the Egyptians. ELOHIM provided for the needs of HIS People in the wilderness by raining down manna from Heaven and bringing forth water from a rock.
This week, in Parasha Yitro, Moses’ father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro), comes from Midian along with Moses’ wife and two sons to meet him at the Israelites’ camp after hearing of all the great miracles that YAHUVEH had performed to deliver HIS people.
Moses Learns How to Delegate
“So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?’” (Exodus 18:14)
Yitro rejoiced with Moses over all that YAHUVEH had done for them; but the next day, when Yitro saw Moses spending long hours judging the people, he was concerned about the strain on Moses.
Moses’ father-in-law wisely advised him to appoint other men to occupy positions of leadership to help carry the burden, lest Moses wear himself out.
We must also be careful not to allow our work, no matter how demanding, to occupy so much of our time that our well-being and relationships suffer as a result.
We must find others to whom we can delegate some of our duties in order to give more balance to our lives.
The Word of YAHUVEH tells us which qualities to look for in choosing potential leaders: capable, GOD-fearing, honest people.
“Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear GOD, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” (Exodus 18:21)
Life is not designed to be a “quick sprint.” It is a marathon. If we are to endure to the end just as Jethro advised Moses, we must not overwork ourselves.
“Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:4–5)
Thankfully, Moses listened to his father-in-law, which reveals Moses’ beautiful character trait of humility. We should be grateful, and not defensive, when YAHUVEH sends someone into our lives to give us necessary correction for our own good and the good of others.
The Voice of YAHUVEH
“Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel … ‘Now if you will obey ME and keep MY covenant, you will be MY own special treasure [segulah] from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to ME.’” (Exodus 19:3, 5)
In this Parasha, the children of Israel camp opposite Mount Sinai, and Moses goes up the mountain to meet with ELOHIM.
On the mountain, YAHUVEH instructs Moses to tell the “House of Jacob” and the “Children of Israel” that HE is making a special promise to the people: they are to be HIS own special nation – a Kingdom of Priests (mamlechet cohanim) and a Holy Nation (v’goy kadosh).
If the people of Israel listen to YAHUVEH’s voice and keep covenant with HIM, then YAHUVEH will embrace them as HIS special treasure. In Hebrew, the word used is ‘segulah’, which comes from the word ‘sagol’, meaning ‘purple’ – the color of royalty.
In the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant), all Believers in YAHUSHUA are Sons and Daughters of the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords; therefore, we are all royalty – Kings and Priests unto YAHUVEH.
“He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to HIS GOD and Father – to HIM be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:6)
The people of Israel agree to keep YAHUVEH’s Commandments and to obey HIM:
“Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that YAHUVEH has spoken we will do.’” (Exodus 19:8)
Moses consecrates the people of Israel and prepares them to meet with YAHUVEH to receive the TORAH at Mount Sinai.
This was the whole purpose of the exodus from Egypt, for Israel to receive YAHUVEH’s Torah (instruction).
“When you will have brought the people out from Egypt, you shall serve YAHUVEH upon this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)
A Special Place for Women
“Therefore YAHUVEH HIMSELF will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call HIS name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
“To us a CHILD is born, to us a SON is given; and the government shall be upon HIS shoulder, and HIS Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty GOD, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
While YAHUSHUA taught many women, we know from Scripture that another Miryam became the first eye-witness to YAHUSHUA’s resurrection from the dead – the absolute sign of YAHUSHUA’s Messiahship and victory over sin.
“Now after HE had risen early on the first day of the week, HE first appeared to Miryam of Magdala, from whom HE had cast out seven demons.” (Mark 16:9)
In a culture where women witnesses were not thought to possess credibility, this is an extraordinary event that the RUACH HAKODESH (HOLY SPIRIT) wanted us all to know.
Meeting with ELOHIM at the foot of the Mountain
Standing at the foot of the mountain on the third day, the people of Israel met with ELOHIM, as HE descended with thunder, lightning, thick clouds, and the loud sound of the shofar (ram’s horn).
The whole mountain was covered with smoke, since ELOHIM came with fire, as it is written, ‘ELOHIM is a consuming fire.’” (Deuteronomy 4:24)
It was such a fearsome sight that the people trembled and told Moses,
“You, speak with us, and we will listen. But don’t let ELOHIM speak with us, or we will die.” (Exodus 20:19)
Thankfully, we have not come to such a mountain of darkness, fire, and deafening, fearful noise, but to Mount Zion, the city of the living GOD, the Heavenly Jerusalem and to our Heavenly PARENTS – YAHUVEH, YAHUSHUA & RUACH HAKODESH!
“We are, therefore, entering a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. We are entering “the city of the living GOD, heavenly Yerushalayim; to myriads of angels in festive assembly; to a community of the firstborn whose names have been recorded in Heaven; to a Judge who is GOD of everyone; to spirits of righteous people who have been brought to the goal; to the mediator of a new covenant, YAHUSHUA; and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better things than [the blood of Abel].” (Hebrews 12:22–24)
Even though we are under the grace of the New Covenant, in which the Torah of YAHUVEH will be written on our hearts, the Commands of YAHUVEH, written with HIS very own finger on tablets of stone are eternal and true for all people in all covenants.
Keeping HIS Commandments is how we show our love for YAHUVEH. His Commandments provide a guide for a healthy, happy, productive, and harmonious life in relationship with YAHUVEH and with other people.
“For this is love for GOD, to keep HIS Commandments. And HIS Commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)
YAHUSHUA has not set us free from sin so that we can live lawless lives. The Word of YAHUVEH even warns that our prayers may not be heard if we are walking in blatant disobedience to YAHUVEH’s laws.
“One who turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, even his prayer is an abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)
The Torah of YAHUVEH guards our relationships.
The first tablet containing the first part of the Ten Commandments deals with our relationship to YAHUVEH. The second set of Commandments deals with our relations with our neighbor. That is why YAHUSHUA said that loving YAHUVEH and loving our neighbor sum up the Commandments. (Matthew 22:37–40)
The GOD of Israel is not an impersonal “force,” but a GOD of love who becomes intimately involved with the affairs of mankind to save, rescue, redeem, and deliver. This is the GOD who is worthy of our love and devotion, and no one else.
Jealousy and Faithfulness
We see from the second Commandment that anything we place first in our lives other than GOD is idolatry. YAHUVEH is, by HIS own admission, a jealous GOD. The Hebrew root of ‘kanna’ (jealous) means ‘just indignation of one injured’.
When we choose another over YAHUVEH, HE is injured, as a husband or wife is injured by an unfaithful spouse.
Today the world is filled with idols: wealth, fame, power, position, money, work, sexual relations, celebrities, sports, relationships. We so often make these desires our priority, tending to put our trust and confidence in other things or people to help us meet those desires.
However, only YAHUVEH, YAHUSHUA & RUACH HAKODESH are absolutely trustworthy and THEIR desires for us are pure and holy.
YAHUVEH’s prophetic Word promises that one day HIS People will no longer tolerate any idolatry in their lives, but the day will come when YAHUVEH shall say, “What have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you.” (Hosea 14:8)
May this be the generation that seeks the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and may we become united in the love of MESSIAH, worshipping the One True GOD in Spirit and Truth.
"It is too small a thing for you to be MY servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that MY salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6)
"Israel will be saved by YAHUVEH with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting." (Isaiah 45:17)
SHABBAT SHALOM FROM TORAH KEEPER!
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