There is always, when we refer to the Word of God, just so much in here.
We could talk about God’s repetition of His covenant: first to Abraham, then to Yitzchak, and now this third time to Jacob. This was the last time (that I can recall) God repeated this covenant directly to anyone. Jacob is the last of the Patriarchs. In all our prayers that reference the Patriarchs it is always, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There must be something in that.
We also have a lesson about the need to live honest lives and receiving retribution, in that we reap what we sow. We see this in how Jacob fooled his father to gain the blessing, then Laban fooled Jacob to gain more of his servitude, then Rachel fooled Laban to get the family gods. There is a lot for us to learn about human nature and how God intervenes to use our nature to fulfill His plans.
The thing that struck me, and what I would like to talk about today, is Genesis 28:16. Right from the start of this Parashah I sensed a message in what Jacob said when he awoke from his dream about that place being a house of God, and he wasn’t aware of it.
The Soncino version of the Chumash has a footnote about this, which states popular belief is that the presence of God was restricted only to particular, or sacred, places. Many people still see the church, synagogue or some place of worship as a holy location, more sacred than the home, or some “normal” place.
We see this here, and we see it also when Naaman was cured of leprosy by Elisha (well, actually by God through Elisha) in 2 Kings. Naaman takes soil from the land to bring back to Aram so that he can worship the God of Israel. He assumes the dirt is especially holy, placing a geographical restriction to God’s abilities and presence. I think it is still a practice of people making a trip to Israel to bring back some of the dirt of the Land.
God is not restricted to geography. He is everywhere, all the time. I read once the Rabbi’s of old used to say that God could not “go down” to a place or “go up” from somewhere because He was already there.
I have known Conservative Jews who are Kosher in their homes, but at Denny’s will go for the bacon lover’s special. I know other people who say they worship God but ignore those laws they don’t want to follow, explaining that they are no longer valid for one reason or another.
Hypocrites! Liars! Faithless and foolish people.
Don’t get me wrong, in that I think I am an example of righteousness- oh no! I do not follow every commandment, either. I try to follow them, and there are some, I confess, I do not want to follow. I know this, and the difference between me confessing I sin voluntarily and those I am talking about above is that I acknowledge the laws are just and right and I am the one who is wrong and sinful. These people do not confess their weaknesses or their sin; what they do is attack God’s laws as old and no longer valid in today’s world, or unjust, or misogynistic, or unfair to certain types of people. Or worse!- they say Yeshua did away with “the Law.”
They do not say they are in the wrong for failing to obey God, but instead declare that God is in the wrong for asking them to do these things! Oy!! What a bunch of meshuganahs!
Jacob demonstrated that age-old idea that God is not omniscient when he thought he was in a uniquely holy place after awaking from his dream. God is everywhere, all the time; He always has been and always will be. He is right here, within arm’s length. Just reach out to Him; His hand is always open and reaching out to you. You don’t need to go to a building to get close to God. You don’t need to travel to Ha Eretz (the Land) to be close to God. All you need to do is acknowledge Him, reach out to Him, and be willing to be led by Him, through the Ruach (spirit) we receive that indwells after we have acknowledged and received the Messiah He sent, Yeshua.
I do not like and have no patience for the hypocrites who blame God for their lack of faith. I say lack of faith because disobedience is a symptom of faithlessness, just as obedience is sign of faithfulness. Remember that Yeshua said if His Disciples loved Him then they would obey Him. After we sing the Sh’ma in services we repeat the Ve’ahavta, which tells us we should love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, all our soul and all our might. It is in Deuteronomy 6 and in Numbers, as well, Go find it and see for yourself.
God is everywhere, and if you profess to worship Him then when you fail to do what he says, please don’t be a hypocrite and blame Him for your failure. When we sin, we need to confess it. I believe, after worshiping God for nearly 19 years, and reading the Bible dozens of times, and training to be a Messianic Minister, that God would prefer an honest confession of my failure to obey any one of His commandments, then to hear me rationalize my failure by blaming His laws to be outdated or unfair. King David said, in Psalm 51, that a contrite heart God will not turn away. A prideful and arrogant heart will not provide a pathway to forgiveness, and will separate us from the salvation that God has provided.
The Enemy convinced Eve (and through her, Adam) to sin by saying that God’s law was unfair. He taught them how to rationalize God’s commandment to fit their desires. Let this be a warning to you: if you are being taught any commandments are outdated or unfair, you know one thing absolutely- you know who the teacher is. I wouldn’t stay in that class if I were you.
God is everywhere, His laws (ALL His laws) are just as valid today as they were when He gave them to Moshe, and they are valid for all our generations- none have ever been changed. Even the laws regarding sacrifice are still valid, which is the very reason we can’t perform them- they are supposed to be done at the Temple and the Temple is not there anymore.
Do not listen to those who teach that any of God’s laws are invalid or don’t apply, or were done away with when Yeshua was risen. That is from the depth of Sheol and those teachings will not bring you closer to God but will serve the Enemy of God. Read the Bible, accept His sovereignty and His rule, and listen to Him.
Yeshua said we are all slaves to something; either to God or to sin. Choose your Boss wisely.