By Joseph Shulam
This week the Torah Reading around the world starts in Genesis 12:1. God is calling Abraham to leave his family, his country, his culture, and go to the unknown land. God is asking Abraham who by that time was not just a small family but a chief of a very big camp of people. The words that start this Parasha are “Lech Lecha.” This phrase is translated into English in the following ways: NKJV “Get out of your country” – Gword “Leave your land” – KJV “Get thee out of thy country” – NIV “Leave your country.” In all the translations “Lech Lecha” the impression of this text is that this request is a strong command a command that can’t be misunderstood.
During the two years that I was in High School in Dasher, Georgia, the church there was often singing a song, “Where He leads me I will follow.” I quickly found out that either God is not leading these good people or they can’t hear His commands or they don’t really mean the words that they sing. I suppose that both in Synagogues and in Churches if you are singing the words don’t really have a meaning. After all the attitude is – “it is only a song.” However, for Abraham and his family God’s command was clear, emphatic, and meaningful. The biblical text is very short and the staccato style is very clear in verse 4: “So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him.” What is most impressive to me is that there is no details of how long it took Abraham to pack his belongings or how he and his family said “good bye” to the relatives. Did he sell his property in Haran? There are no details no narrative just “So Abram departed. . .” We know from the following texts that Abraham had a very big encampment with hundreds of people working for him and fighting for him. Look at the following texts from Genesis: Gen. 12:5, “Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.” This is a very interesting verse. The phrase: “the people they had acquired in Haran” is actually an Hebrew idiom that means the “people that they have converted in Haran.” To “acquire souls (people)” means to evangelize. The following verses tell us more about Abraham’s wealth and the numbers of people who followed him and his family: Gen. 13:2, “Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.“
Gen. 14:14, “Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.” Note Abram had three hundred and eighteen trained servants – men who are able to go out to war – fighters. If half of these servants of Abram were married that means that there would be another 158 people in his camp. So, the picture that we ought to see is that Abraham was not a small tent dwelling nomad dressed in Arab clothing with 100 goats and 50 sheep. When Abraham left the great city of Haran it was a very large group of people who followed him to this unknown destination and were willing to fight on Abraham side.
The next thing that I want to share from this Parasha is that with all the argument and separation and strong feelings that Abraham had with Lot his Nephew – when Lot and his family and the city of Sodom was in trouble – Abraham did not hold a grudge or act vindictive and say, “Lot and his family deserve this punishment.” “The work of the righteous is done by others.” Abraham acted like a true disciple of Yeshua – long before Yeshua came on the scene of History. Abraham actually turned the other cheek and returned good to those who acted selfishly and with out honor.
In this Parasha God actually give HIS promise to Abraham and to his seed – the promise of the Land. This promise of the land is a part and parcel with the two other promises: Gen. 12:2-3, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” And in Genesis 13:15, “for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.” How can you argue that Jews don’t have a right to live in this God given land to Abraham the father of the nation of Israel. This promises actually is repeated many many times in the Torah. Here are a few of the places that this promise is repeated in the Five Books of Moses please look up some more of these places: Gen. 15:7-18, 17:7-8, 24:7, 26:3-4, 28:4-13, 31:3, 35:12, 46:3, 48:4, 50:24; Ex. 6:8, 33:1; Lev. 20:24; Num. 14:8, 34:2-29; Deut. 6:10, 26:2-4, 31:20, 34:4; Josh. 5:6. How can Christians around the World believe the lies and the manipulation of scriptures and deny the right of the Jewish people to hold on to God’s promises to Abraham, all the promises of God are true and so are also the promises of the Land. This of course does not mean that Arabs (The seed of Ishamel) can’t live side by side in peace with the children of Isaac and Jacob.
Please pray for the Land of Israel and for both the Jews and the Arabs and their leadership to find a way to live side by side in peace and prosper and bless the whole World.
Please pray for the United States of America. The elections were difficult and very acrimonious and there is no doubt that some residue of all the negative that went on for a year between the Trump camp and the Clinton – Obama camp. We need to pray that the transition of power between Obama and President elect Trump will go peacefully and without any bitterness on either side. The USA is a great country and much of the economy of the World and the Politics in the World and I pray that the good LORD will bless the people of the United States and prosper them with the new President and of course I pray for Trump to bless Israel and the Middle East with a clear and decisive leadership that will bring sanity to all our neighbors and to our government.
Please keep Marcia and myself in your prayers. Today I am traveling to Boise, Idaho, and next week to Phoenix, Arizona and from there to Oklahoma City and back to Nashville before flying to New York and from there home to Israel. I need your prayers.
My son Barry needs your prayers. He found out yesterday that he will have to have a major surgery in his large intestine.
Pray for the Roeh Israel Congregation in Jerusalem. The congregation and Netivyah need your prayers. The challenges that we face are big because the opportunities are bigger and because we are right now in the eye of the good storm that is overtaking our nation. We are waiting for the opening of Aliyah from the Latin American countries. We are waiting for other wonderful developments in our land that will open doors of opportunity to Jewish disciples of Yeshua in this great God given land.
I am adding a new name to the list of people that we are praying for healing and health reasons. This name is Wes! Wes is the son of a very dear family who is praying for Netivyah for over 30 years. Wes needs employment!
I would like to ask you to pray for some friends who have a need for God’s blessing on their work: Chung and Sister Lee. I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Kenzevic. I know that God is hearing our prayers, but I don’t know yet if our prayers are sufficient to bring the full blessing of the Lord of the Universe upon these brothers and sisters who are with special needs. Please keep a fervent prayer for the brothers listed above and for those who have health issues and need healing.
Please don’t forget to especial pray for healing and strength for our dear brother Tom from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and also in the same town pray for Bobby, and Emet, and Joe, and Gloria D., these are all very precious brothers and friends are battling serious health issues.
Continue to pray for Gary in Jerusalem, Aharon (Don and Nancy’s Son) is still struggling with a tumor in his brain keep him in your prayers please! Also keep his family in your prayers. Yuri Marianenko is fighting a prostate cancer. Our wonderful older brothers and sisters need our prayers: Ahuvah Ben Meir, David Stern, Marcia Shulam, Sarit, Miriam, Ilana, and Leah. This week I am adding to this prayer list our dear sister Lydia – lift her up in your prayers and ask for special encouragement for her from the Lord Himself. Please don’t forget to pray for Drayton.
We lift up our dear brothers and sisters Ruby, Clara, Paulo, Naomi, Tim Tucker, Anna, Anne-Mirijami, Satu-Maria, Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, and Evelina, Eva H., Liz in Georgia, and Horace and June Marcia’s parents.
We especially lift up before your throne of mercy Marcelo’s father and mother in Belo-Horizonte.
We pray for the following dear brothers and sisters: Pastor Curita in Tokyo, Toru San, and the husband of Yumi, Sadako San, Shoko San, Takeo Sensei and Tomoko San all in Japan.
Someone said that now with all the things that are going on in the World and especially in the USA and in the Middle East – one thing is for sure – we are not going to die from boredom. Life will be interesting and I hope better both spiritually and materially and in our health better.
God bless you all and keep HIS promises to Abraham and bless all those who bless the Children of Abraha, Isaac, and Jacob. Keep you all healthy, blessed, and happy in all that the Lord is doing for you and for the world around you!