Rabbi Yochanan Hammond, Ph.D., firstname.lastname@example.org
WORDS OF WISDOM.
Chapter Twenty Five.
I was reading the commentary on the Torah Portion Lech Lecha, written by my good friend Rabbi Mordecai Silver [I encourage all to view these] and was drawn to the statement, “man has always been destined for something far greater than he realizes or understands”.
Not only does this ring true for “man” but it certainly rings true for the nation of Israel. May I ask the question; “Is there a greater destiny than to represent the Holy One of Israel, blessed be His name?” We the Children of Israel are called to fulfil this awesome task. Now I must also ask if we truly understand this calling and task! Do we realize the enormity of this undertaking, given to us by HaShem? How do we go about fulfilling this role if we are failing to grasp and understand the awesome and wonderful opportunity this presents us with? Needless to say we must rely on HaShem to provide the guidance and tools for us to study and follow. Baruch HaShem He has promised to provide us with all we require.
1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. 3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6 A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD. 7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house. 8 Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? 9 For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful. 10 Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favor I have had mercy on you. 11 Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut, that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. 12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste. 13 The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious. 14 The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15 Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age. 16 You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. 17 Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. 18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. 19 The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. 21 Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. 22 The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it. Isaiah 60:1-22 [ESV]
None the less we must connect with HaShem via the way He has ordained His people to connect to Him. If we do not connect with Him then we will never realize or understand our destiny, whether that destiny be “good” or “bad”. How do we do this? It is through prayer, prayer and more prayer. To know the will of our Father in heaven we must open the lines of communication. Yes, we have His Word in written form, but we must extend our relationship with Him through our prayer.
Make no mistake HaShem is well able to communicate with us through our prayers. We can hear the still “small” voice of HaShem through the act of prayer. None the less it would be remise of me not to mention the dangers of hearing other competing voices in this time of prayer. Our biggest danger is hearing our own voice justifying what we want instead of following the guidance and direction of HaShem. Unfortunately we have a history of ignoring the voice of HaShem. Yet despite this we have a Father who is faithful to us and will never withdraw His promises from His people, even when we stray far from Him. However we must follow His instructions to be worthy of receiving these wonderful blessings from above. Pondering these important issues I am reminded of the following.
“When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.” Deuteronomy 4:30-31 NKJB
Baruch HaShem, we have a Father who is forever merciful to His people and constantly awaiting our presence through the act of faithful prayer. If we are in constant prayer with our Father through the door that has been opened for us via Yeshua HaMoshiach then we can be confident that we are under the guiding Hand of HaShem. Our lives may be in turmoil at times, but we must hang onto the following promise.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
We must never take our position before HaShem for granted. We must show our appreciation through the voice of prayer.
Perhaps more importantly it is through prayer that we show our faithfulness and the understanding of our faith in Him.
Prayer is a vital ingredient in our nutrition for life. Prayer helps the building blocks of torah to sprout and grow, providing protection against parasites and pathogens that can quickly form and destroy us. Neglecting prayer is a risky business!
It is so easy to become entangled in the responsibilities of life, of which there are many. However, is not communicating with HaShem through daily prayers far more important than any other responsibility that we have? Prayer is a personal responsibility. It must be a priority in our lives. Perhaps for the Child of HaShem it should be THE priority in our lives! Friends, the enemy will do everything in his power to remove you away from the blessings attached to a prayer filled life. Biblical love, understanding, power, authority, direction, stability, faithfulness and the list goes on, are the results of a life in prayer, coupled with embracing Torah. Torah is a guiding light for our prayers. Torah helps us to guard against the intrusion of other voices into our lives. I have witnessed many fine people praying to HaShem to bless them in an area that is opposed by Torah. Often these people know no better, because they have no knowledge of Torah or have rejected it.
We are not only responsible for praying to HaShem but we are responsible for the very prayers we offer up. This responsibility should sober us a little, as we can quickly find that we have opened the door to a whole range of unnecessary trouble. Selfish prayers are a problem. Very seldom do such prayers result in a painless journey. Take the responsibility of prayer seriously. HaShem will not be mocked and He cannot be fooled, even for a moment.
It is essential that we Children of Israel grasp the necessity of prayer in our lives. This vital ingredient provides life for us as individuals and as a nation. Let us be encouraged to enter into an ever improving prayer life, communicating with our Father in heaven through the matchless name of Yeshua our Moshiach.
May the grace, love and wisdom of HaShem and Yeshua HaMoshiach be with you!