Saturday, December 15, 2018

Shabbat Service 12-15-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching (available from our website at MoedMinistries.com) and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on the home page of our website, Livestream.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Reunited with the House of David


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at: https://youtu.be/57XA3S8VUnI
The scripture reading for this teaching is: Ezekiel 37:15-28
Ezekiel was a priest who was taken into captivity with the first wave of captives as Babylon began the takeover of Judah. He prophesied during the entire time of the fall of Judah with his final prophecy fifteen years after the fall of Jerusalem. As a prophet among the captives, God sent Ezekiel to warn the children of Israel about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, to exhort them to repent of the acts that led to their exile, and to encourage them that God had not abandoned His people. The subject of this passage in Ezekiel, chapter 37 verses 15 through 28, is the reunification of Israel and Judah under one king of the lineage of David.
At the time of this prophecy, the northern tribes of Israel had been in captivity for over one hundred years, and the city of Jerusalem had recently been taken. The nation of Israel was no more; their leaders had failed them! However, God assured His people through Ezekiel that He still cared for them.
Ezekiel 34:11-12 NKJV 11 'For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 "As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.
What did the future hold for the children of Israel? How could this deeply divided people become a nation once more? Who could they trust to lead them?
The division of Israel began in the time of David’s grandson Rehoboam. King Rehoboam declared that he would make the taxes and required service to the king more onerous than his father Solomon.
1 Kings 12:13-14 NKJV 13 Then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him; 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!"
According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah, a contemporary of Ezekiel, wrote the books of Kings. He recorded that the rebellion against the house of David continued after the fall of the northern tribes and was still evident as the kingdom of Judah was taken captive.
1 Kings 12:19 NKJV 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
The division between Israel and Judah was still evident even after both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah had gone into captivity. The situation must have seemed as bleak as it did for Jacob’s sons when famine struck the Promised Land in the Torah portion that corresponds to this passage. Judah and his other brothers had sold their brother Joseph into slavery dividing the family. God used the famine to reunite the brothers. How would God use the exile of the children of Israel to reunite Israel and Judah? This is the subject of Ezekiel’s prophecy in this passage.
Ezekiel 37:15-16 NKJV 15 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 16 "As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: 'For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.' Then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.'
Even though the two nations were split, God saw them both as being part of Israel. Judah’s companions are described as the children of Israel while Ephraim’s companions are described as the house of Israel. The word companion is translated from the Hebrew word “chaber,” #2270 in Strong’s Concordance, meaning an associate. It comes from the word “chabar,” #2266, meaning to unite or join. The companions of Judah and Joseph are those who joined with them. What is the difference between the phrase “the children of Israel, the companions of Judah” and the phrase “the house of Israel, the companions of Joseph”? Let’s go back to the Torah portion in Genesis 44 through 47 where we read about the situation with Joseph and his brothers. Joseph, a child of Israel, was torn away from his family; he lived away from the house established by his father Jacob. Judah and his brothers continued to live in the house of Israel. With the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the rolls are reversed. Judah’s companions were those torn away from their houses. They consisted of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, but they also consisted of those of the other tribes who chose to follow the way of righteousness. The Levites were the first to abandon their houses and flee to Judah.
2 Chronicles 11:14 NKJV 14 For the Levites left their common-lands and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them from serving as priests to the LORD.
Those who sought to worship God in truth soon followed.
2 Chronicles 11:16 NKJV 16 And after the Levites left, those from all the tribes of Israel, such as set their heart to seek the LORD God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD God of their fathers.
Judah’s companions were those who chose to leave their land behind and join themselves to those who continued to follow the worship set up by Moses in the wilderness.
Joseph’s companions were the established houses of Israel. They are those who chose to join their land and inheritance with the cause of Jeroboam. They pledged the allegiance of their entire households and tribes to the cause of Jeroboam.
1 Kings 12:16 NKJV 16 Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying: "What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!" So Israel departed to their tents.
This was not the first time that the house of Israel had rejected David as being their king. After Saul’s death, Israel refused to acknowledge David as their king even though Samuel had already anointed him and all of Israel knew that he was the anointed king! Only David’s own tribe of Judah accepted him as king!
2 Samuel 2:10-11 NKJV 10 Ishbosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. Only the house of Judah followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
Notice that David is described as the king even though only Judah accepted him in that position. He ruled from the city of Hebron whose name comes from the word “chabar” which, as we learned, means companion! David’s only companions were from his own tribe. The whole house of Israel chose Saul’s son, here referred to as Ishbosheth, as king over Israel. The name Ishbosheth, #378 in Strong’s Concordance, means “man of shame.” However, in 1 Chronicles 8:33, the son of Saul is called “Eshbaal, #792, meaning man of Baal. This word play with the name of Saul’s son whom Israel chose over David emphasizes the shame of the house of Israel. This son of Saul is the man of Baal and, thus, the man of shame.
Ezekiel refers to the whole house of Israel, those who rebelled against the house of David, as being dry bones without any hope or life in them.
Ezekiel 37:11 NKJV 11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'
The house of Israel had followed the wrong king! Time after time they made the wrong choice. They chose Ishbosheth over David and chose Jeroboam over the house of David. At the time of Ezekiel, Joseph and his companions, the house of Israel had already gone into captivity. With the exile of Judah of which Ezekiel was a part, the children of Israel who had been forced to abandon the houses of their fathers in the northern tribal land, now, were torn from the land completely. They were scattered among all the nations as God had spoken through Moses.
Ezekiel writes of the time when those of the house of Israel realize that they have no hope and have been cut off from God. At that time, God will restore them.
Ezekiel 37:12-14 NKJV 12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 "Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 "I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.'"
God will bring the house of Israel back to the land and place His spirit in them. This prophecy is both physical and spiritual. He will physically bring them back to the Promised Land. Those who are spiritually dead will receive life! The dry bones would live again! This can only be attained through acceptance of Yeshua as their Messiah. Yeshua explained that it is only through belief in Him, the one sent by the Father, that they would attain everlasting life.
John 6:40 NKJV 40 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
Ezekiel goes on to explain that God would once more reunite Judah and Joseph into one nation. God tells Ezekiel to take the two sticks that he had written on and join them together.
Ezekiel 37:17 J.P. Green 17 And draw them one to one for yourself, into one stick. And they shall become for oneness in your hand.
Did you notice how many times the word “one” was used in this verse? The word for “one” is the Hebrew word “echad” #259, meaning united as one. There are four uses of the word “echad” in this verse! The number four, representing God’s sovereignty over creation, indicates that God is in the midst of joining Joseph and Judah together under His sovereignty! God tells Ezekiel to explain the meaning of the two sticks.
Ezekiel 37:19 MKJV 19 Say to them, So says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions, and I will put them with him, with the stick of Judah, and will make them one stick, and they shall be one in My hand.
God is the one who will take the stick of Joseph and join it to the stick of Judah! Both sticks are in God’s hand! Jacob prophesied that the rightful king would always come from the tribe of Judah.
Genesis 49:10 NKJV 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
God will gather the children of Israel, who have been in exile, scattered throughout the nations and bring them back under one king, the rightful king from the house of David.
Ezekiel 37:21-22 NKJV 21 "Then say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 "and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.
The two kingdoms were formed along lines of faith. Those who sought after God chose to live in the kingdom of Judah under the authority of the kings of the house of David. Those who were fine with worshiping any old god, chose to live in the northern kingdom of Israel. When God brings back the children of Israel, it will be to a kingdom that has been cleansed of all their sins.
Ezekiel 37:23 NKJV 23 "They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
There is a Hebrew word play evident in this verse with the word translated as dwelling places. The NKJV Study Bible explains:
The Hebrew word translated dwelling places is backsliding in other ancient manuscripts. In Hebrew, the two words differ in the placement of one letter.[i]
Their dwelling places were places of backsliding! The house of Israel, represented by the stick of Ephraim, chose to dwell in their houses and defile themselves with idols under the leadership of Jeroboam and the kings who followed after him. Every king of the northern kingdom of Israel is described as following after Jeroboam who caused Israel to sin. The prophet Ahijah describes what would happen to Israel because of Jeroboam’s sin.
1 Kings 14:15-16 NKJV 15 "For the LORD will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the River, because they have made their wooden images, provoking the LORD to anger. 16 "And He will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who made Israel sin."
When God brings the house of Israel back to the Land, they will no longer worship the idols that they worshipped under Jeroboam and the kings who followed after him. The rebellion against the house of David will finally cease.
Ezekiel 37:24 NKJV 24 "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.
When David was king, God said that He would establish David’s house forever.
2 Samuel 7:16 NKJV 16 "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."'"
Instead of dwelling in their sin and shame, they will dwell in the land that God gave to Jacob and the forefathers.
Ezekiel 37:25 NKJV 25 "Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
Once again, we see that David is described as God’s servant. This phrase “My Servant” is recognized as being a title for Messiah. Luke records the priest Zacharias prophesying about the birth of this servant, from the house of David.
Luke 1:68-69 NKJV 68 "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,
When God brings Israel back to the land, God will make a covenant of peace with them.
Ezekiel 37:26-27 NKJV 26 "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 "My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
The establishment of the covenant of peace takes us back to Aaron’s grandson Phineas with whom God made the first covenant of peace. God describes Phineas as being zealous in defending the sanctity of God’s house when the children of Israel sinned by worshipping Baal Peor in the camp of Israel at the door of the tabernacle of meeting!
Numbers 25:10-12 NKJV 10 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 11 "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. 12 "Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace;
Phinehas destroyed the worship of the false god and returned the camp to purity before God! When God once again makes a covenant of peace with the children of Israel, the camp will be holy to the LORD. The word “peace” is #7965, “shalom” which means safe, well, happy, friendly, peace, prosperity and over all well-being. Israel will dwell safely; they will be prosperous in their land and there will be an overall state of well-being. God will set His dwelling place in their midst. When all this happens, the nations will surely know that the LORD is holy and that His holy place is in Israel!
Ezekiel 37:28 NKJV 28 "The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore."'"
Isaiah tells us that all those who live in Jerusalem at this time will be holy or set apart to God.
Isaiah 4:3 NKJV 3 And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy-everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
It is God alone who can and will heal the deep divide between His people and make them one nation once more. It is God alone who can and will raise up a leader that they can trust to lead them. This leader is the Messiah Yeshua, the Son of the house of David! The future is bright for the children of Israel. They will remember God in all the nations where God has scattered them. God will open their eyes and they will recognize their Messiah, then God will bring them home and Yeshua will reign on the throne of David forever!
Study Questions:
1. Discuss the connection of this teaching to the Torah Portion Vayagash Genesis 44:18-47:27?

2. What does the term “house” mean when we talk about the “house of Israel” and the “house of David?” 1 Samuel 7 connects the establishment of the “house of David” with building the “house of God.” Describe why and how they are connected.

3. Using the pattern of God establishing a covenant of peace with Phinehas in Numbers 25:10-12, what has to happen before God makes a covenant of peace with the children of Israel?

4. Compare this passage with the New Covenant as described in Jeremiah 31:31-40.

5. Compare this passage in Ezekiel with Yeshua’s prayer for His followers in John 17.

© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved


[i] NKJV Study Bible. General Editor Radmacher, TH.D. ©2007 Thomas Nelson, Inc. P. 1315.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Shabbat Service 12-8-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching (available from our website at MoedMinistries.com) and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on the home page of our website, Livestream.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

I Pray for a Heart that Listens


The video version of this teaching is available at: https://youtu.be/suon4ON4ekQ
The scripture reading is 1st Kings 3:1-4:1
As believers, we should all pray for God’s wisdom to guide us each and every day.  There is no better Biblical example of someone seeking God’s wisdom than King Solomon.  Biblical scholars agree that Solomon became king at a young age, however wisdom normally comes with age and experience.  Solomon may not have had that luxury. Early in his reign, Solomon traveled to Gibeon, where the tabernacle and altar of God was, at the time, to make a sacrifice to God.  God came to Solomon in a dream and Solomon asked God for an understanding heart. In the Hebrew the meaning of the phrase is closer to “a heart that listens.”
1 Kings 3:4-5, 9 NKJV 4 Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place: Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask! What shall I give you?"… 9 "give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"
When Solomon asked God for this Heart that listens, what was he actually asking for and what was he specifically given?  In our understanding, Solomon was the greatest example of a wise king.  Our reading portion this week contains one of the best-known stories in the Bible. Even those who are not believers have most likely heard the story of the two women who claim that a single child is theirs, and how king Solomon solved this dilemma. But there is much more to this story than most people realize.
Before we examine the story of the two women claiming the same child lets take a look at some background context. The two books of kings along with those of Samuel were originally each one book.  The splitting of then into two was first observed in the Septuagint around 250 BCE.  Jeremiah is credited as being the author of the books of Kings, and they were accepted by the Great Assembly as divinely inspired during the late second temple period well prior to Yeshua’s day. The time period covered by the books of Kings is approximately 500 years from the time of Solomon to the reign of the Babylonian king Evil-merodach.
Our teaching portion today covers an expanded section of scripture from the published Haftarah reading. We can break it down into five areas that we will take a look at as we examine the story of the two mothers and the single child.
First off is the need for wisdom. Every leader needs an extra portion of wisdom. Understanding that true wisdom comes from God is a major step to becoming a righteous leader.
1 Kings 3:1-3 NKJV 1 Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh's daughter; then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall all around Jerusalem. 2 Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the LORD until those days. 3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.
Solomon became king of a united Israel at a very early age. His exact age is not given in scripture, but Jewish sources and tradition says that he was just 12 years old at the time of his coronation. However, just the context of the scriptural narrative would indicate that he was probably in his late teens to early twenties.
Solomon tried his best to follow in his father David’s footsteps. But it would prove to be a near impossible aspiration and task.
One of the first things that Solomon did was to form a political alliance with the kingdom of Egypt by an arranged marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh as we just read in verse 1 of chapter 3. Marrying an Egyptian may not have been against the Torah.  The only prohibition was that the Israelites were not to intermarry with the Canaanites. However, there was a danger in taking on a foreign wife. Foreign wives could lead the husband to worship other gods so, the prospective wife was to denounce her foreign gods and embrace the God of Israel. Solomon’s later wives failed to renounce their other gods and Solomon sometimes gave them his active approval.  The marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter formed a political alliance with a foreign power, something the prophets also often warned against.
Isaiah 36:6 NKJV 6 "Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.
Besides Solomon’s apparent immaturity and his marriage to an outsider, he also suffered from a kind of spiritual immaturity.  He allowed the people to practice their sacrifices in “high places” and Solomon himself made sacrifices in high places.  The word used in verses 2 and 3 for “high places” is #1116 bamah (baw-maw’) meaning literally a high place or an elevation. This is the same word used to describe the place of the sacrifices done by the Canaanites in their worship of Baal and would imply that there were many places on hills and mountaintops to which the Israelites were bringing their sacrifices before God. God had designated that the sacrifices were to be brought to only one place which He would choose. Although they were not worshiping a false god with this practice, they were not offering their sacrifices in the Torah prescribed manner.
Second, Solomon had a great desire for wisdom. He went to Gibeon to make his sacrifice of one thousand burnt offerings. At this time, before Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, the Mishkan resided at Gibeon.
1 Chronicles 16:39-40 NKJV 39 … Zadok the priest and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the LORD at the high place that was at Gibeon, 40 to offer burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of burnt offering regularly morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the Law of the LORD which He commanded Israel;
While at Gibeon, The LORD comes to Solomon in a dream and asks Solomon what he wants of the LORD. Solomon could have asked the LORD for any of his hearts desires; wealth, power, anything he wanted. But instead he asks God for wisdom and understanding to rule the nation which, due to his age, he lacked.
1 Kings 3:6-9 NKJV 6 And Solomon said: "You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 "Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 "And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9 "Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"
The word translated as “understanding” in verse 9 is #8085 Shama (Shaw-mah’) meaning to hear intelligently with attention and obedience, to obey and to understand. Solomon was asking for God to give him a heart which listens and understands God.  He could have asked for anything, but above all, Solomon wanted wisdom, discernment and spiritual maturity.
God was pleased with Solomon’s request, so he, also, granted him those things he did not request.
1 Kings 3:10-15 NKJV 10 The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 Then God said to him: "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 "behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 "And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. 14 "So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days." 15 Then Solomon awoke; and indeed it had been a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.
There are two types of wisdom, that which is given by God, which Solomon was seeking, and a false wisdom that is found in the world.  Solomon himself wrote about it in the Book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 14:12 NKJV 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Yes, there is a wisdom from God that men of the world cannot understand.  The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this very thing.
1 Corinthians 1:25-27 NKJV 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
Why did Solomon ask for such wisdom from God?  Why did he ask for a heart that listens? Solomon wanted to be able to hear justice.  He wanted what was good in God’s eyes. Solomon’s request showed that he was a humble man and his request pleased God. God wants us all to come to Him in humility. He wants to be heard inside the hearts of His people.
God seems to have given Solomon a crash course in spiritual wisdom.  In today’s world we might describe it as a download. The entire Book of Proverbs is a testament by Solomon as to the giver of true wisdom and its true source.
How is this Godly wisdom manifest in Solomon’s life and rule as king of the unified Israel? We don’t actually know how much time had passed in Solomon’s reign before we come to the incident of the two women and the single child.
1 Kings 3:16-17 NKJV 16 Now two women who were harlots came to the king, and stood before him. 17 And one woman said, "O my lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house.
The two women in this story are described as harlots. Why is it important to know that these women were harlots?  Biblical scholars have puzzled over this for centuries and no one really knows except for the fact that women who were practitioners of this profession were not given to care about children at all.  They would more often than not simply kill their children, offer them up to Baal worship, or sell them into slavery. But, the important point that this fact illustrates is that God’s wisdom does not differentiate the value of a person based on their social status. The testimony of these women before Solomon gets more intense and there are no other witnesses to verify the testimony of either woman.
1 Kings 3:18-22 NKJV 18 "Then it happened, the third day after I had given birth, that this woman also gave birth. And we were together; no one was with us in the house, except the two of us in the house. 19 "And this woman's son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20 "So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21 "And when I rose in the morning to nurse my son, there he was, dead. But when I had examined him in the morning, indeed, he was not my son whom I had borne." 22 Then the other woman said, "No! But the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son." And the first woman said, "No! But the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son." Thus they spoke before the king.
This poses quite a dilemma for king Solomon.  How is he to judge this situation with no witness testimony? Solomon’s solution is quite elegant and gets to the deeper heart of the issue which is really between the two women and has little to do with the child other than being a pawn in the larger game.
1 Kings 3:23-27 NKJV 23 And the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son, who lives, and your son is the dead one'; and the other says, 'No! But your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.'" 24 Then the king said, "Bring me a sword." So they brought a sword before the king. 25 And the king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other." 26 Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, "O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!" But the other said, "Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him." 27 So the king answered and said, "Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother."
Solomon’s suggested solution revealed the true nature and heart of the women as well as demonstrated the wisdom that God had granted to Solomon.
As for the lying woman, she did not care whether the child was cut in two or not as long as the other woman didn’t get to keep the child.  It certainly suggests a much deeper back story involving the lives and interactions of these two women.  By having a heart that listens, Solomon was able to reveal who the true mother of the child was and restore the child to her.
Solomon’s solution to this problem was risky.  What would have happened if the true mother of the child had not stepped forward and stopped the sword?  Somehow Solomon knew that she would step forward because of the gift of spiritual wisdom granted to him by God.
Solomon’s demonstration of God given wisdom reaped him great rewards throughout his reign as king.
1 Kings 3:28 - 4:1 NKJV 28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice. 1 So King Solomon was king over all Israel.
The gift of wisdom that Solomon received from God earned him great respect throughout the kingdom. The people knew that they could trust him as their leader and he would rule in fairness and equity.
What would you do if God came to you and said that He would grant you anything you wished?  Would you ask for things of this world such as riches, property and honor?  Solomon didn’t seek any of those things. But, in his young age, he humbled himself in righteousness and asked of God to grant him wisdom to lead the nation that his father David had left him.  In doing so, Solomon lived up to the meaning of his name, “peace, security.”
As a reward, God gave Solomon wisdom without measure and also granted him some of the other things that he did not ask of God. But it was the wisdom alone that secured his reputation as a trusted leader.
We should all pray for this same kind of wisdom and discernment just as Solomon did.  Asking God to give to us a heart that listens.
Study Questions:
1. Discuss the connection of this teaching to the Torah Portion Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:17.

2. What lessons can we learn from Solomon’s dealing with these women?  Specifically the fact that Solomon did not rebuke them for being harlots or having children outside of marriage.

3. What is the difference between wisdom and discernment?

4. What potential danger would marrying the daughter of Pharaoh pose for the security of the nation of Israel?  What would be the danger posed to Solomon himself?

5. What would the difficulties be for Solomon in trying to follow in the footsteps of his father David?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Shabbat Service 12-1-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching (available from our website at MoedMinistries.com) and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on the home page of our website, Livestream.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Heavy Burden of Sin


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at: https://youtu.be/yzrZgyB6n7g
Amos was a prophet during the later years of the Kingdom of Israel. He prophesied during the same time as Jonah, Isaiah and Hosea, but Amos was not the typical prophet. He was by profession a breeder of sheep and a tender of the sycamore fruit.
Amos 7:14-15 NKJV 14 Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: "I was no prophet, Nor was I a son of a prophet, But I was a sheepbreeder And a tender of sycamore fruit. 15 Then the LORD took me as I followed the flock, And the LORD said to me, 'Go, prophesy to My people Israel.'
Amos didn’t come from an established line of prophets, nor was he trained in prophecy at the school for prophets. He was an average man who tended his flock in Judah when God called him to become His prophet—His mouthpiece to Israel. The name Amos means burden or burdensome. It comes from the Hebrew word, aw-mas, #6006 in Strong’s Concordance meaning to load or impose a burden. In many ways, the theme of bearing a burden works its way through Amos’s message starting with the burden God laid on Amos.
At the time God called Amos to prophesy, Jeroboam the second was king of Israel and Uzziah was king of Judah. Jeroboam would be the last king who would rule over a totally independent nation of Israel. The kings after him would all pay tribute to Assyria with the nation falling completing into Assyrian hands thirty-two years after Jeroboam’s death. In the kingdom of Judah, Uzziah reigned.
Amos 1:1-2 NKJV 1 The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. 2 And he said: "The LORD roars from Zion, And utters His voice from Jerusalem; The pastures of the shepherds mourn, And the top of Carmel withers."
King Uzziah of Judah was judged a righteous man who loved the land.
2 Chronicles 26:10 NKJV 10 Also he built towers in the desert. He dug many wells, for he had much livestock, both in the lowlands and in the plains; he also had farmers and vinedressers in the mountains and in Carmel, for he loved the soil.
Amos’ prophecy about Judah strikes to the heart of Uzziah’s love for the land. The wells he had dug and the pasturage and farms that Uzziah had carefully tended and built up would all dry up! Amos, as a farmer and sheepbreeder, would have been personally grieved to bring such a prophecy! In fact, Amos’ words imply that it was not at all his choice or desire to become a prophet; He indicates that God compelled him to prophesy.
Amos 3:8 NKJV 8 A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?
Amos carried the burden of prophecy-the burden of being God’s mouthpiece. God was angry; His voice roared from His temple in Jerusalem! God charged Amos with the burden of pronouncing judgment not only on Judah and Israel but on all the nations that surrounded her! He began with Damascus.
Amos 1:3 NKJV 3 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron.
Throughout the pronouncements of judgment, Amos uses the phrase “for three transgressions, and for four.” E.W. Bullinger in The Companion Bible explains that this is a Hebrew idiom for several or many. With the number four meaning the fullness of creation; we understand that the sins of these nations were full and that judgment was inevitable. However, God still gave them the opportunity to repent and turn from their ways. Amos singles out Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab for judgment. Although the details vary, all of them are guilty of sins against God’s people particularly that of taking Israelites captive and selling them as slaves. Edom is singled out for killing his brother, Israel, with the sword.
Amos 1:11 NKJV 11 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, And he kept his wrath forever.
Amos spoke these words not to the nations, but to Israel stating that the events he saw concerned Israel. Perhaps Amos was assuring Israel that God saw and would judge those who harmed Israel. The prophet Zechariah would later explain that God would plunder the nations that harm Israel.
Zechariah 2:8 NKJV 8 For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.
Amos, then, relays God’s words against Judah.
Amos 2:4 NKJV 4 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have despised the law of the LORD, And have not kept His commandments. Their lies lead them astray, Lies which their fathers followed.
Why did Amos prophesy against Judah? King Uzziah is described as a righteous king following in the ways of David. His acts show that he loved the land and sought to make the land fruitful for his people. He set up watchtowers throughout the land for the protection of the people and the land. What did God see that is not outwardly visible?
Although Uzziah was counted as a righteous king following in the ways of David, he grew proud and attempted to usurp the role of the priesthood in offering incense to God. God struck him with leprosy for his presumption and Uzziah ended his life in exile.  His son JOtham took over the rule of the kingdom. Jotham is also described as doing right in the sight of the LORD.
2 Chronicles 27:1-2 NKJV 1 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jerushah the daughter of Zadok. 2 And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah had done (although he did not enter the temple of the LORD). But still the people acted corruptly.
In spite of the righteous example of the king, the people acted corruptly! That corruption would manifest itself in the reign of Jotham’s son Ahaz who would close the doors of the temple of God and replace worship of God with worship of the gods of Syria.
2 Chronicles 28:24 NKJV 24 So Ahaz gathered the articles of the house of God, cut in pieces the articles of the house of God, shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and made for himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
God saw the direction that Judah was heading and sent Amos to send warning to Judah that judgment was coming!
Finally, Amos turned his attention to the behavior of the northern kingdom of Israel, the true focus of his prophecies.
Amos 2:6 NKJV 6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for silver, And the poor for a pair of sandals.
The first transgressions of Israel that God convicts them on are perverting justice, mistreating the poor and selling their brothers into slavery! The Torah addresses all three of these issues. God commanded that judges be impartial in Deuteronomy 16, but Israel twisted the words of the righteous to the point that the righteous were sold into slavery! Although the Torah says that selling oneself into servitude to pay one’s debts is permitted in Leviticus 25, that servitude had conditions including that the man is the one to sell himself and that the servitude was not to be permanent.
Israel’s treatment of the poor stripped them of all dignity and respect. The poor were sold into slavery on the slightest of pretenses. Amos goes on to describe the obsession they had with going after the poor and taking all that they possessed.
Amos 2:7-8 NKJV 7 They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the head of the poor, And pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go in to the same girl, To defile My holy name. 8 They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge, And drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.
Amos describes Israel as going so far as to even take the dust from the heads of the poor! He goes on to describe their sexual sin as that of a father and son taking the same girl. This may refer to incest or having sexual relations with the wife of a near relative as prohibited in Leviticus 18. This passage in Leviticus lists the ways that this could occur and that all of them are prohibited. The passage concludes with the consequences of such behavior.
Leviticus 18:26-27 NKJV 26 'You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you 27 '(for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled),
In addition to these practices, the Israelites worshiped idols while drinking the wine that they had extorted from those condemned unjustly and using the clothing they had taken in pledge instead or returning it as required in Exodus 22.
In all, Amos lists five specific sins in his condemnation of Israel-unjust judges, mistreatment of the poor, sexual sin, extortion from debtors, and idolatry. To contrast with their crimes, Amos lists the ways that God took care of Israel.
Amos 2:9-11 NKJV 9 "Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Whose height was like the height of the cedars, And he was as strong as the oaks; Yet I destroyed his fruit above And his roots beneath. 10 Also it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, And led you forty years through the wilderness, To possess the land of the Amorite. 11 I raised up some of your sons as prophets, And some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?" Says the LORD.
God was their champion and strength giving them victory over their enemies. He was their deliverer taking them out of Egypt. He was their provider leading them through the wilderness. He was their king giving them the land as an inheritance. He was their Father guiding them through the prophets and setting others aside as holy to Him. All of these were advantages that Israel had and the other nations who were under judgment did not have. Paul writes of the advantage that the Jewish people have over the Gentiles.
Romans 3:1-2 NKJV 1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
The word “oracle” is the Greek word “log-ee-on” #3051 in Strong’s Concordance meaning an utterance. The Jews were entrusted with the spoken words of God whether through Moses and the Torah or through the prophets. Instead, they rejected the words of God. Amos tells us that Israel told the prophets not to prophesy and tried to pervert the service of the Nazarites.
Amos 2:12 NKJV 12 "But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, And commanded the prophets saying, 'Do not prophesy!'
The burden of Israel’s sin and rebellion weighed heavy on the LORD!
Amos 2:13 NKJV 13 "Behold, I am weighed down by you, As a cart full of sheaves is weighed down.
As a result, God would no longer be their champion, their deliverer, their provider, their king or their guide. They would be on their own and be defeated!
Amos 2:14-16 NKJV 14 Therefore flight shall perish from the swift, The strong shall not strengthen his power, Nor shall the mighty deliver himself; 15 He shall not stand who handles the bow, The swift of foot shall not escape, Nor shall he who rides a horse deliver himself. 16 The most courageous men of might Shall flee naked in that day," Says the LORD.
God, then, begins the recitation of Israel’s punishment. He reminds Israel of the personal, intimate relationship they have with Him.
Amos 3:1-2 NKJV 1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying: 2 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."
God reminds Israel that they are the only family that He has selected as His own. They are the only ones that He has known in that type of relationship. God had singled out Jacob’s family to call His own.
Genesis 35:10-11 NKJV 9 10 And God said to him, "Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name." So He called his name Israel. 11 Also God said to him: "I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.
It was because of Israel’s intimate relationship with God that they must be held accountable for their actions. The punishment would be personal and severe. The word “punish” is the Hebrew word “pakad” #6485 in Strong’s Concordance meaning to visit. God would “visit” Israel for all their iniquities. This visit to Israel would be different from God’s other visits. God visited Israel when they were slaves in Egypt, and He sent Moses to deliver them.
Exodus 3:16 NKJV 16 "Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, 'The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, "I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt;
At this time God “visited” them with deliverance while at the same time He “visited” Egypt with the ten plagues culminating in darkness and the death of the firstborn of Egypt.
Exodus 12:23 NKJV 23 "For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.
God said, through Amos, that this time when He visited Israel, He would not pass over them as He did in Egypt when they put the blood of the Passover Lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their home. This time God would pass through them like He passed through the Egyptians!
Amos 5:16-18 NKJV 16 Therefore the LORD God of hosts, the Lord, says this: "There shall be wailing in all streets, And they shall say in all the highways, 'Alas! Alas!' They shall call the farmer to mourning, And skillful lamenters to wailing. 17 In all vineyards there shall be wailing, For I will pass through you," Says the LORD. 18 Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light.
Judgment did come on all Israel and all the lands around it. Within a generation of Jeroboam’s death, Assyria had swooped down and conquered Israel and all the nations around her. Only Judah remained because Hezekiah took the throne and all the people followed Hezekiah with all their hearts! Eventually, Judah was also taken into captivity but by Babylon instead of Assyria. But God was not and is still not done with His people. Isaiah promised that the false gods of Babylon could not deliver them. Only God could bear the burden of their iniquities and save them.
Isaiah 46:1-4 NKJV 1 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops; Their idols were on the beasts and on the cattle. Your carriages were heavily loaded, A burden to the weary beast. 2 They stoop, they bow down together; They could not deliver the burden, But have themselves gone into captivity. 3 "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, Who have been upheld by Me from birth, Who have been carried from the womb: 4 Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.
God sent a deliverer to bear the sins not just of Judah and Israel but of all the nations. Yeshua came, sent by God, to visit His people with deliverance, but they did not recognize the day of their visitation.
Luke 19:41-44 NKJV 41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 "For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 "and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
God is still not done with Israel; He will again visit His people, His voice roaring from Jerusalem.
Isaiah 31:4-5 NKJV 4 For thus the LORD has spoken to me: "As a lion roars, And a young lion over his prey (When a multitude of shepherds is summoned against him, He will not be afraid of their voice Nor be disturbed by their noise), So the LORD of hosts will come down To fight for Mount Zion and for its hill. 5 Like birds flying about, So will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem. Defending, He will also deliver it; Passing over, He will preserve it."
God will Pass Over His people at the same time that He passes through the nations visiting the rebellious with judgment and His people with deliverance.
Amos 9:11-12 NKJV 11 "On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name," Says the LORD who does this thing.
The northern kingdom of Israel which rebelled against God and against the house of David will be no more. There will only be one nation of Israel ruled over by the Son of David and the nations around the land shall be the possession of the Son of David.
Amos carried the burden of the prophecy against Judah and Israel. The burden of their iniquities led to their exile and the destruction of both Judah and Israel. But God, also, carries the burden for all their iniquities. He sent a deliverer to bear that burden. Yeshua came and died on the cross bearing all of our sins on Himself. He alone could bear the burden for us!
Study Questions:
1. How is sin a burden for God and the prophet who exposes the sin as well as for the sinner? 
2. The Hebrew word “pakad,” #6485 in Strong’s Concordance, is translated as either visit or punish. What are some to the times God visited His people either for deliverance of punishment?
3. Amos poses a set of rhetorical questions in Amos 3:8. How can each one be looked at as a cause and effect argument pointing back to verse 2?
4. Read Amos 5:16-20, Amos 8:1-3, and Isaiah 31:1-6. How is the day of the LORD like Passover? How is it different?
5. Amos 9:8-15 tells us that after punishment, the tabernacle or sukka of David will be restored. What does this mean in the context of the entire book of Amos? Who is the sinful nation in verse 8? Who are the Gentiles in verse 12?
6. Josephus places Jonah as prophesying to Nineveh in Assyria during the reign of Jeroboam the second, about the same time as Amos. How does Assyria’s response to Jonah and later in Nahum fit in with Amos’ message to Israel?

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