Thought for the week

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Parshiot for Rosh Hashanah – the L-rd our Saviour

 

2 Samuel 22:2-3: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My Saviour” 

 

This week we are going to look at the ‘parshiot’ for the first and second day of ‘Rosh Hashanah’ (the Jewish New Year).

 

Reading for First Day ‘Rosh Hashanah’

 

The ‘parsha’ reading on the first day of ‘Rosh Hashanah’ deals with the birth of Isaac; the banishment of Hagar and Ishmael and the covenant Abraham made with Avimelech.

After three angels visited Abraham and Sarah and delivered G-d’s promise that a son shall be born to them, Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son.

The boy was named Isaac and, when he was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him as G-d had commanded him.

Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born to him.

 

Abraham already had a son, Ishmael, born 14 years earlier to Hagar, the Egyptian maid whom Sarah urged him to marry in her barren years.

As had been predicted by G-d in Genesis 16:12, Ishmael grew to become “a wild man”. Sarah, fearing Ishmael's negative influence upon her son, urged Abraham to banish Hagar and her son.

Abraham was reluctant to do so until G-d intervened, telling him to listen to Sarah and banish Hagar and Ishmael saying to him in Genesis 21:12: “for in Isaac your seed shall be called.”

 

The ‘haftorah’ on the first day of ‘Rosh Hashanah’ is found in 1 Samuel 1:1–2:10.

 

The ‘haftorah’ describes the birth of the prophet Samuel to Elkanah and his wife Hannah, who had been childless for many years. This echoes the story in the ‘parsha’ reading about Sarah giving birth to Isaac after many years of childlessness.

 

During one of her annual pilgrimages to Shiloh, the site of the Tabernacle, Hannah tearfully and quietly entreated G-d to bless her with a son, promising to dedicate him to His service.

Eli the high priest saw her whispering and berated her, thinking that she was drunk. After hearing Hannah’s explanation that she had been whispering in prayer, Eli blessed her that G-d should grant her request.

Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son whom she called Samuel. Once the child was weaned, she brought him to Shiloh and entrusted him to the care of Eli.

 

The ‘haftorah’ ends with Hannah’s prayer, wherein she thanks G-d for granting her wish, extols His greatness and exhorts the people not to be haughty or arrogant.  She then prophesies regarding the Messianic redemption – 1 Samuel 2:10: “The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.”” 

 

Reading for Second Day of Rosh Hashanah

 

The ‘parsha’ reading on the second day of ‘Rosh Hashanah’ deals with the binding of Isaac.

 

G-d tested Abraham telling him to take his only son whom he loved, Isaac, and offer him as a burnt offering in the land of Moriah.

We read that Abraham rose up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, took two of his young men with him as well as Isaac, broke up wood for the burnt offering, rose up and went to the place of which G-d had told him.

 

Abraham then went with Isaac to Mount Moriah and, on the third day, took Isaac to sacrifice him.

Abraham built an altar there, put the wood in place, bound Isaac and laid him on the altar upon the wood; Abraham then took the knife to slay his son.

An angel of G-d called to him out of heaven, and told him not to slay Isaac nor sacrifice him. He also told Abraham that now He knew that Abraham feared G-d as he had not withheld Isaac from G-d.

Abraham then saw a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in place of his son.

Abraham named that place ‘Adonai-Yireh’ (G-d will be revealed or G-d will provide).

 

The ‘parsha’ reading concludes with report of a granddaughter born to Abraham's brother, Nachor, named Rebecca, who was destined to become Isaac's wife.

 

The ‘haftorah’ on the second day of ‘Rosh Hashanah’ is found in Jeremiah 31:1-20.

 

The ‘haftorah’ talks about G-d’s everlasting love for His people, Israel (the Jewish people), and the future ingathering of their exiles.

In the last verse of this hauntingly beautiful ‘haftorah’, G-d says, “Is Ephraim (the Jewish people) My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the LORD”. 

This follows one of the primary themes of the ‘Rosh Hashanah’ prayers; the attempt of Jewish people to induce G-d to remember us in a positive light at this time of Judgment.

Jeremiah begins by affirming G-d’s love for the Jewish people “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” - Jeremiah 31:3.

Because of this love, G-d assured His nation that they have a very bright future awaiting them - “Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.” - Jeremiah 31:4.

 

Jeremiah then describes the ingathering of the exiles, when all of Israel will be returned to the Holy Land: “You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the ends of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and the one who labours with child, together; a great throng shall return there. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn… Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together; For I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow” - Jeremiah 31:5-13.

 

Finally, Jeremiah describes the heavenly scene, where the silence is broken by the sound of bitter weeping as our Matriarch, Rachel, refuses to be consoled, for her children have been exiled. G-d responds: “Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD, And they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the LORD, That your children shall come back to their own border.” - Jeremiah 31:16-17.

All three ‘parshiot’ and ‘haftorot’ speaks of the L-rd as our Rock - Deuteronomy 32:4 and 32:18, 2 Samuel 22:1-2.

2 Samuel 22:2-3, found in ‘Haftorah Ha’azinu’ goes on to say that the L-rd is also “our fortress; our deliverer; the G-d of our strength in whom we will trust; our shield; the horn of our salvation; our stronghold; our refuge and our Saviour.”

 

How true this is!

G-d was faithful in giving Abraham and Sarah a son, Isaac. He was faithful in giving Elkanah and Hannah a son, Samuel. He was faithful to provide a ram as a sacrifice in Isaac’s place so that His promises for the redemption of the Jewish people and the Gentiles could come about through Abraham and His seed – Isaac, then Jacob (who was renamed ‘Israel’)

If you ever doubt the faithfulness of G-d, just look at the above three ‘parshiot’ and ‘haftrot’.

Also, look at ‘Eretz Yisrael’ (the Land of Israel). G-d has faithfully re-established modern day Israel according to His word; He has faithfully brought His people, the Jewish people, back to the Promised Land, Israel, according to His word.

 

If G-d has been so faithful to His word regarding Isaac, Samuel, the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, will He not be faithful to you? 

You see, G-d IS your rock and fortress and deliverer; He IS the G-d of your strength; He IS your shield and the horn of your salvation; He IS your stronghold and your refuge.

Only believe! Only trust Him!

Finally, as 2 Samuel 22:3 tells us, the L-rd IS your Saviour!

 

Scripture records that Yeshua became the perfect sacrifice for the redemption of mankind when He died on the cross, shedding every last drop of His blood thus taking our sins upon Himself; guaranteeing all who believe in His death and resurrection and who invite Him to become L-rd of their lives, eternal life in heaven. 

Joel 2:32, found in the Old Testament, tells us that “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” 

Acts 4:12 declares: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (but Yeshua)." 

2 Peter 1:11 declares: “for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 

 

I now want to address my Jewish brethren:

Jewish people believe that on ‘Rosh Hashanah’ the destiny of all mankind is recorded by G-d in the “Book of Life”; on ‘Yom Kippur’, the judgment entered in the “Book of Life” is sealed. ‘Yom Kippur’ is, essentially, the last appeal; the last chance to change the judgment; to demonstrate repentance and make amends. 

As you read this, we are in the ‘Yamim Noraim’ (Days of Awe) or the ‘Asseret Yemei Teshuva’ (Ten Days of Repentance) – a final opportunity for Jewish people to “make it right” before G-d.

‘Rosh Hashanah’ is characterized by the blowing of the 'shofar’, intended to awaken the listener from his or her “slumber” and alert them to the coming judgment. 

Are you ready for the Coming Judgment? Are you ready to stand in judgment before the Messiah?

 

At this time of the High Holy Days, are you really sure of your eternal future? If you died today, where you will go? In fact, on what basis should G-d let you into heaven?

No amount of prayer, petitioning or penitence and no amount of fasting or spending the day in synagogue will grant Jewish people (or any people) forgiveness of sin and everlasting life in heaven.

Only through Yeshua can one truly be written in the “book of Life” – and this applies to both Jews and Gentiles.

 

To ensure that you will have eternity in heaven, all you need do is accept Yeshua as your L-rd and Saviour by believing in His death and resurrection; confessing your sins and repenting of them and inviting Him to be L-rd of your life. 

To do this, simply pray the prayer of salvation found on this webpage.

 

G-d’s amazing plan of the redemption of mankind, which began with Abraham, came through Isaac and Jacob and, ultimately, through the Jewish people shows that the L-rd is truly our Rock – His name is Yeshua.

 

We love you. 

 

Shalom.

 

Scripture of the week: 2 Samuel 22:1-3: “Then David spoke to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 And he said: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; 3 The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Saviour…”. 

2 Sam 22:1-3 (NKJV)

 

 

SALVATION PRAYER

 

Thank you Yeshua for Your love for me.

Thank you for giving up Your life on the cross for me and for taking my sins upon Yourself.

I confess that I have sinned.

I repent of my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.

I invite You to come into my life as my Messiah, my Saviour.

By Your grace I will serve You all the remaining years of my life.