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6 Kislev, 5771 / November 13, 2010
This Weeks Readings:
Torah: Genesis 28:10-32:3
Haftarah: Hosea 12:13-14:10
Brit Chadashah: John 1:19-51
Have you ever felt unqualified? Have you ever looked at a job opening and said, "No, I don’t think I can do that.” Have you ever looked at a person you were attracted to and said, "No, I am completely and utterly out of that person’s league. We’re not in a different ballpark - we’re in a different sport in a different galaxy.” Have you ever felt rejected by a parent because they adored the other sibling more because of their special talent or because of their difference in age or because they had more dimples in their cheeks? I have witnessed kids living in rejection because their parents preferred the other child. They try hard to be in the spotlight or to avoid the spotlight – either way they are afflicted by rejection.
Have you ever met the person who thinks they are overqualified to do everything? Are you that person? They’re the guy or lady that can get any job and learn any position because they can do it. They can get that girl or that guy because they think, "Hey, it’s me.” They don’t worry about the parent disapproving of their desires because with a few choice words and a smile, they can shift the hearts of kings, presidents, and their moms; they’re not saddened and in deep intercession for the community because they either don’t think of the Body or believe that they can easily function as every part of the Body; they function in the belief that they have all the gifts, all the time, all the energy, and all the favor. They try hard to be in the spotlight.
Both pictures are equally sad. In both examples, each person is still only focused on themselves.
In the Torah portion Jacob has a dream. In this dream G-d is standing right next to him and Jacob sees a ladder stretching from the earth all the way to heaven; angels of G-d are going up and down this ladder. G-d then emphasizes the Abrahamic covenant to Jacob, telling Jacob that He would not leave him until all the promises He made would be fulfilled. "By you and your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed. Look, I am with you.” The portion then goes on to share how Jacob worked fourteen years for Laban so that he could be wedded to Rachel, the one whom he loved. All of these years "seemed only a few days to him, because he was so much in love with her.” (Gen. 28:20)
In the Haftarah portion we witness the people of Israel focused on themselves and their riches and their abilities. However, G-d answers His people by saying in effect, "Look at where you came from! Your father Jacob had to flee His homeland and slaved fourteen years tending to sheep to win the love of his life! Remember what happened in Egypt! I knew you in the desert! I knew you in the land of terrible drought!” G-d goes on to share why Israel stopped focusing on Him – their true Provider: "When they were fed, they were satisfied; when satisfied, they became proud. Therefore they forgot Me.” Through all of this adultery G-d still pleas with Israel: "Return, Oh Israel, to Adonai your G-d! Confess that you are guilty! Repent and admit that you will no longer call anything that is the work of your effort your gods! Admit that it is only in me that you can find mercy!” G-d then promises, "I will heal their disloyalty! I will love them freely!” And through G-d’s loyalty to His people, His people will be loyal to Him, answering, "What have I to do any more with idols – my own efforts and the work of my hands? My fruitfulness comes from Adonai my G-d.”
In the Brit Chadashah portion Nathaniel finds his satisfaction. When Philip first shares with Nathaniel that he has found the Messiah and the Messiah is a man from Nazareth, Nathaniel answers this with, "Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?” But, when Nathaniel goes and meets Yeshua, the Messiah of the world greets Nathaniel by saying, "Hey look! This is a true son of Israel – there’s nothing false in him!” Nathaniel answers, "How do you know me?” Yeshua replies, "I saw you under the fig tree!” Nathaniel immediately acknowledges that Yeshua is the Son of G-d and that He is the King of Israel. All the Savior of the world had to do to win over the heart of a skeptical but honest man named Nathaniel was to say, "I have seen you! I have acknowledged you! You are not out of my sight! But, even when you thought you were all alone and were just sitting under that fig tree, I laid my eyes on you!” Yeshua then proceeds to make an allusion to Jacob’s dream, telling Nathaniel that he will see "heaven opened and the angels of G-d going up and coming down on the Son of Man.”
At no point did the grace of G-d ever fail to save us. At no point did we ever have to save ourselves. There has never been a moment in our lives where we would need to completely depend on our own efforts, our own talents, or our own worries. We have the G-d who is not afraid to die for us; we have the G-d who looks at time as passing quickly because He is so much in love with us. We have the G-d who makes promises to us and then keeps them; who does not reject us because of our lack of qualifications. The fact is whether we are plagued by rejection or believe we can be our own savior – we are all unqualified to be loved by G-d outside of His mercy. A high and mighty Israel is just as unqualified as a humble and lowly Nathaniel. They all need to acknowledge Yeshua; we all need to acknowledge Yeshua. A.W. Tozer, the famous lover of G-d and preacher of His Word once wrote, "Whoever defends himself will have himself for his defense, and he will have no other. But let him come defenseless before the L-RD and he will have for his defender no less than G-d Himself.” If we, as individuals and as a community, come defenseless before G-d, we will have for our defense no less than G-d Himself. Sometimes we forget that, even as those who have already put our faith in Yeshua. But, if you have not acknowledged the love that G-d has for you through His sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua, I plead with you today to come defenseless before G-d, and you will have for your defense no less than G-d Himself; accept that Yeshua the Messiah died for your lack of qualifications and you will be more than qualified to be holy and righteous and loved by a holy and righteous and loving G-d.
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