Parashah Beshallach 2019 (It came to pass) Exodus 13:17 – 17

The Israelites are now out of Egypt, and roaming in the desert. God places them against the Red Sea and Pharaoh decides he wants them back, so sends his entire army against them. God splits the sea and the Israelites walk safely across, with the army of Egypt following. God brings the waters down on the Egyptians and they are destroyed.

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After this miraculous salvation, Moses composes a song of praise to the Lord. The people continue on, and start to complain about no food or water. God sends manna and quails for them to eat, and when they come to a large pool of poisoned water God shows Moses how to make it potable. The parashah ends with the attack upon the Jews by Amalek, and through God’s help, Amalek is defeated.

Before I talk about today’s message, I would like to share a bit of interesting information regarding Amalek and the Torah. Some of you may be familiar with the stringent requirements for writing a Torah, which is done by a specially trained scribe called a Sofer. To test the ink and the quill pen used, the Sofer will write the name “Amalek” on a piece of parchment and then he crosses it out with a number of strokes in order to fulfill the commandment of blotting out the name of Amalek, in accordance with what is written in Deuteronomy 25:19.


What I want to point out from this Torah reading are the events just before the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10-16), which is when the Israelites saw the army coming after them and cried out to Moses, asking why he brought them into the desert to die. Moses, faithfully believing God will do something, tells them not to cry to him but to wait for the salvation that God will provide. Then what does God do? He asks Moses, essentially, “What are you waiting for?  Raise your rod and part the sea, then walk across it.”

We are continually told throughout the Bible to be faithful and trust in God, which Moses unquestionable did when in the face of certain destruction he told the people to wait for God to take care of them. But God wasn’t happy with that- he chided Moses for not taking action. That is a problem I see with too many people who profess to trust in the Lord, but who really think he is a God of enablement. He is not! He is a God of action.

In Isaiah 40:31 we are told to wait upon the Lord for renewed strength, but that doesn’t mean to literally sit around on your tuchas and wait for God to do something. Yes, sometimes we are to be patient and wait, such as when waiting for an answer to prayer, but for the most part, we are to walk in faith (2 Corinthians 5:7.)

We have all heard the expression “Take a leap of faith”, but what does that really mean? Does it mean to trust someone without any reason to do so? Yes, it can. Does it mean to take a chance and hope for the best? Yes, it can mean that, too. Does it mean to blindly rush into a situation and pray to God that he will make it come out alright? Well, that might be a little further than I would take it, but I suppose you could do that as well. I wouldn’t recommend it, though.

A real leap of faith is when we trust God, as he tells us we should, but not to the point where we are foolishly taking chances and expecting him to make it turn out well- that isn’t faithfully walking, that is testing the Lord. And we all know that is not something we should do (Deuteronomy 6:16, and again in Matthew 4:7.) What we should do is to trust in God by asking for his help in what we have discerned is the right thing to do, then instead of throwing the fleece before the Lord, we should just go ahead and start doing what we ask God to bless. If we are doing what is right, he will support and help us. If what we are doing is not in his will or is wrong in his eyes, we will fail. But, either way, we should be walking in faith by taking that first step to getting the ball rolling, and trusting in God to provide as we go.

Do not be like those people who always seem to be complaining that they are cursed or the Enemy is ruining their chances to do anything: sometimes they may be right, but in my experience I believe that most of the time people are just making up their own excuses and faithlessly waiting for some sign from God that he approves. They want to do something but are, in truth, afraid and faithless, so they blame God for their inaction by saying they are waiting for his sign of approval.

They will probably be waiting a long time- God wants us to walk and he will clear the path, but not until we start walking. It is our act of faith that generates God’s provision.

Therefore, if you have something you want to do that you believe is a calling from God, don’t be like the man in Matthew 8:22 who told Yeshua he wanted to follow him but first had to bury his father; if you feel a calling from God to do something, get out there and do it! Don’t wait for confirmation from people or from God- just get started. If God is with you, you will know it. And if God is not with you, then you will know that, too. I believe that when you ask for guidance and discernment from the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), both before you start and all during your work, God will answer you.

We are to walk in faith, not sit around waiting in faith, so as the old song lyric says, “Boots- start walking!”

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Tonight begins Shabbat, so Shabbat Shalom and Baruch haShem!

Finally got the Jew in Jew-rusalem!

Today was the day I entered the City of Jerusalem, went into the Old City and walked around in the Jewish Quarter.

This is one of the highlights of my life, as I always wanted to visit Israel, and being in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, where David walked 3,000 years ago, was great. Of course, it looks a little different today than it did then, but the walls that David knew are still there, today. The original have had to be rebuilt, of course, and that was done in a wonderful way: by using the same rocks that the Romans left lying around when they destroyed it, which makes it look today almost exactly as it did then.

I am not surprised that the Jews won so many battles and were so tough- these streets are murder! If any of you reading this have been here, you know what I mean. Up the steps, down the steps, up the street (steeply angled street, that is) and then up the steps. I think now I really know why we say go “up” to Jerusalem- that’s the only direction there is here. Oy!

We had an interesting discussion at dinner: it started with some of the God-loving Christians (no doubt about that with this group) admitting that they never realized how poorly Christianity has been treating the Jews, the very source of their salvation. They wanted to know which is the “correct” day for the Shabbat, and do Christians need to follow the Torah, and even why don’t Jews accept Messiah Yeshua? After all, it was pointed out that God says “we” often throughout the bible. If He says we, He must mean Him and His son, Jesus-right?

I can easily answer that from a Jewish point of view- maybe God was speaking about Him and His Messiah, but even so, that doesn’t mean it was Jesus He was talking to.

Personally, I believe that God has no gender or physical presence- He is spirit, and only spirit. Any physical presence He may need, such as for talking with Abraham or saving Daniel from the lions, can be made as He needs it. And who we call His son, Jesus (or Yeshua, if you want His real name) may not be a ‘who’ but a ‘what’- a manifestation of God in the flesh, but still God, even though He was 100% human. Maybe, and I think this is the case, the whole Trinity thing is for our benefit, so that it is understandable to us 3-dimensional humans, living in a physical plane. After all, you can’t really expect someone living 5,000 years ago to understand physics, let alone metaphysics, such as String Theory, to explain how God can talk things into existence. Heck- we don’t understand that, today!

Another question was whether or not Christians are accountable for following the Torah, such as with Shabbat and the Festivals. Although Gary Cristafaro, my friend and the senior-most Pastor on the tour (and the one who organized it) was answering, he let me take this one. My answer was that the laws God gave about the festivals, as with all his laws, are for all our generations. God also said that anyone who sojourns with His people Israel (which means they live with them and accept the Jewish God as their God) must be treated the same as any other Jew. In other words, when someone connects themself to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they are sojourning with the Jews, and have all the rights under the law that the natural-born Jews have. That also means they have the same obligations and are subject to the same commandments the Jews are, as well. Therefore, any Christian who has been grafted into the tree is subject to the same laws the natural branches are subject to. Add to that the fact that Yeshua said He isn’t changing anything (Matthew 5:17), and the answer is: Christians are accountable to God, just as the Jews are, to obey the Torah.  

 This discussion also included that we shouldn’t obey for personal gain or just to go through the motions, but as a love response to what God has requested of us, as a love response to wanting to please Him, and as a love response to show Him we love Him.

It is all about the heart’s intent and not about the body’s action.

Friday I will try to get a blog out. We are leaving very early from the hotel to go home, so I will probably work on it on the plane and post it later in the day. I don’t think I will be doing a Parashah teaching, but will instead review what we have leaned on our tour, for your information and edification.

It has been educational, believe me. Yosi our guide is a wonderful example of the practical exercising of God’s word in someone’s life. We get too spiritual, and spirit is fine….if you’re a spirit, that is. We are not spirit, we are flesh, and our example to the world should be a practical demonstration of God’s word. Walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

We’ll be talking about that talking thing in the next blog.