Torah Portion For Monday 17th October 2021 is Genesis 12-17: Prophetic Isaiah 40 New Testament :Hebrews 11.
The Torah, which is the first 5 books of the Bible written by Moses, is the foundation on which to build the House of God and our Christian lives. Jesus only ever quoted from the Old Testament because the New Testament had not yet been written but He also led us to greater heights of revelation and understanding.
The Torah portion this week is all about the story of Abraham and we are going to look at chapter 12 – The Journey of Faith from Ur of the Chaldeans in Babylon to Haran and on to Canaan – The Promised Land.
The Torah Portion is called “Lech Lecha” which means “Go beyond yourself”. God was calling Abram to make a move from what was familiar to him – his home, his lifestyle, his work and his surroundings – even his Father’s House!
Genesis 12 reads: “Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.”
Here, God is challenging us to make such a transition in our lives encouraging us to “go beyond ourselves” to a place He has shown us. He is calling us to make a shift in our spiritual lives - maybe in the way we worship. He may be speaking to some of you to make a move out of your comfort zone into something different. Perhaps God is asking you to leave something behind before He can open a window of opportunity that leads you onwards and upwards starting something new.
God is calling us to leave our Father’s House, and go to the place He has shown us. He is calling us to take a journey, to leave and embrace a whole new level of intimacy with Him in prayer and the Word. To experience a whole new dimension of the prophetic, healing, miracles, signs and wonders. It is going to be different, and we haven’t walked this way before.
In Genesis 12 God is wanting to get Abram to a different place to talk to him on a different level. He can’t really talk to him in the babble of Babylon – He needs him to come to a place – a special place where He can have a deep and meaningful conversation with him. God is calling Abram to take a journey in which he can find out who he really is in God.
That is what we need to do. Where can we go to get away from all the hustle and bustle and distractions of life. A place where we can really be true to ourselves and walk with God .
A long walk is a great place to be with God. Many people go on Pilgrimage for this very reason – One summer my late husband and I packed up our tents and sleeping bags and cycled the Pilgrim route called “The Way of St. James” on the Camino Trail in Spain from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela. We met all sorts of people along the way seeking the meaning to their lives, - some were diagnosed with life threatening illnesses – others thankful that they had survived a painful separation or divorce or grief and loss. They were in a season of new beginnings.
Some had reached a crossroad in their lives and didn’t know which way to turn and others, like us, on a holiday adventure – but it turned out to be so much more on a physical and spiritual level.
We were tested over and over again overcoming emotional pain, hardship, blazing sun and blazing rows, wind, rain, mud, hail, snow and despondency, fatigue, hunger and thirst. Hikers had very very sore feet and I had a very sore bum from cycling. Pilgrims experiened physical pain with shin splints, twisted ankles, and swollen knees and they wondered whether they could endure and complete the 830 kilometre journey to the end. Most of them did, with the encouragement of fellow travellers - It was truly a remarkable experience.
The Bible said that Abram left Ur of the Chaldeans in Babylon not knowing where he was going with his nephew Lot, his wife Sarai and his father, Terah. The City of Ur was once a coastal city in Babylon near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf and was a very sophisticated place with magnificent buildings, a Ziggurat to the Moon Goddess and a thriving economy. Royal tombs contained immense treasures of luxury items of silver and gold. Ur was a city of great wealth with a considerable culture, containing a library and a university. Abram had a very nice lifestyle and Terah had a thriving business making idols to the Moon Goddess. Abram was an idol worshipper until God broke into his life calling him to leave his father’s house and go to the land He had shown him.
Living a nomadic journey in tents required a big shift and adjustment out of Abram’s comfort zone. The old man, Terah, died in Haran half way to Caanan – the Promised Land so, you see, sometimes, even though God calls us out of our comfort zone to walk with Him, it still takes time for the “Old Man” in us to die.
As far as we know, Terah never heard the call that Abram heard. He left Ur, not to enter the land of Canaan, but simply to get away from Ur and be with his son and family until he died in Haran!
But Abram was there, too! He had left Ur by faith and was on his way to Canaan, but he wasted many years of his life in Haran. While he was there, there was no discernible difference between him and his father.
In New Testament terms, he was converted, but he was not yet regenerated. He was not yet ready to fully obey God, for he had not left his father's house as God commanded but was -- dependent on his own resources. As a result, he wasted seventy-five of his one hundred and seventy-five years in Haran. Finally, Terah died, and when the old man died, Abram was then free to go on into the land of Canaan.
There are thousands of Christians today who have left Ur with its worldly ways and come to Haran and settle there. They get stuck and eventually die there, spiritually.
The word Haran means "parched," and it is indeed a parched and barren place to live without Holy Spirit. Many of us, like Terah, have left the world and its ways behind; we have joined a church. we have got religion. we live moral lives, while they sing the songs of Zion and go through the outward motions of faith, but we never go farther than Haran – relying on our own strengths and resources – and we die there; we are religious, but not born again. What a parched experience that is.
Abram was to do nothing except obey, God would do everything else. If Abram would but set his face toward the land, leaving the old things behind, God would do the rest.
Hebrews 11:8,9 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
On this journey, just like the pilgrims we met in Spain, Abraham was tested and the root word for tested in Hebrew is derived from the word “Miracle”, so when we are tested, the Lord wants to work a miracle in our lives – if we are not tested, we don’t know where our weaknesses lie.
What did Abram do when he got to the Haran? He journeyed on! He never stopped for long. He lived in a tent because he was a pilgrim in the land. He could never settle down; he could only sojourn for awhile.
All through the New Testament the Christian pilgrim is exhorted to walk in the Spirit – walk by faith and not by sight. Walk, walk, walk!
When you have learned a lesson from God, that is not the end. That is just another step. Tomorrow there is another step to be taken, and another the day after that, and another the day following. How the flesh resents this.
We are always delighted when the Spirit of God leads us to the place where we achieve some victory, overcome some habit, and take some needed step. And then we want to settle down there. We say to the Lord, "You go on for awhile and leave me here. I want to enjoy this for a bit." But He will not let us stop. Life in the land is a life of continual progress, a never-ending journey.
As the prophet Isaiah says: “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they will rise up on eagle wings: they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Everyone is living in one of three places – Ur in Babylon, Haran, or Canaan. Where do you live?
Ur is the land worldly darkness of sin and death- the land into which we were born.
Haran is the half-way house where we gain the outward appearance of being religious, relying on our own ability and resources to get us through but where there is no Holy Spirit or intimacy with God.
Canaan is the land of power and blessing, of a personal relationship with God when we hear his voice say “This is the way, walk thou in it”. It’s the place of a Spirit filled life.
This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16–17 NIV
The “ancient” or old paths are in the Torah it brings revelation and understanding of things that have been previously hidden or sealed.
The Lord is revealing new and deeper understanding into the Word of God. On the road to Emmaus Jesus opened up the minds of His disciples so they could understand the Scriptures- Torah. Luke 24:45 NIV
As we walk this road of life with Jesus, the Lord is going to bring healing to our lives, and we are being called into a deeper place of intimacy with the Lord and a greater ability to love others. In the words of the Psalmist, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 NIV
The Lord is clearing our pathways and getting us ready to hear His voice and encounter Him in deeper ways.
Notes from the Bible are within the text: El Shaddai Ministries - Cheshvan: Ray Stedman “The Beginning of Faith” Hebrew4Christians “Lech Lecha” Spirit Connection by Doug Addison