Parashat Lech Lecha (Go Forth)
Beresheet (Genesis) 12:1-17:27
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27-41:16
The Bible is full of warnings against false prophets and teachers, and indeed today there are many of them around us. One of the most demonic false teachings among those who call themselves Christians says that God is finished with Israel, and that the promises of Israel were fulfilled in the past. Furthermore, because Israel rejected God and His plan of salvation through His Son, God is done with Israel and that the Church has replaced Israel.
My dear brothers and sisters, I want to stress that this is one of the most demonic lies deceiving the Body of Messiah today. It is based in arrogance and pride that not only makes God a liar who breaks His promises and has no grace, but it also creates a deep hatred of the Jewish people within the Church. The Nazis claimed to be Christians and were some of the most egregious anti-Semites that ever lived! They believed that God had turned His back on the Jewish people, giving them the right to exterminate the Jews. Anyone who teaches and believes this lie believes in a different God than the faithful God of Israel. Let me be clear – you cannot claim to love the Jewish Messiah and hate the Jewish people.
It is time for us to know the truth, stand for the truth, and share the truth! If you choose to remain silent, you effectively partake in a movement that is against God and His promises for Israel!
This week’s Parashah opens with a well-known, yet often misunderstood, set of verses from Genesis 12:
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” So Abram went away as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the people which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; so they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanites were in the land at that time. And the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.
God called Abram to leave everything that he knew (and probably loved) and trust Him to lead Abram to an unknown land of God's choosing. As we see from verse 4, Abram did as the LORD instructed him. The instructions that Abram received came with an incredible promise of future blessings to not only make Abram into a great, blessed nation, but also that Abram would be a blessing to all peoples of the earth. Yet, there's something in what God promises Abram that is so important, yet often overlooked today, even by some of God's most devout followers: those who bless Abram will be blessed, and those who curse him will be cursed.
What a profound promise that Abram received! But it is also an important foundational promise for the nations as well. Although many people today think this promise is no longer valid, I am here to tell you that it is very real and relevant to us today! In Genesis 13:14-18 we read that God is reaffirming His promise to Abraham:
The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now raise your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward, and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your descendants as plentiful as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can count the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be counted. Arise, walk about in the land through its length and width; for I will give it to you.” Then Abram moved his tent and came and lived by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron; and there he built an altar to the LORD.”
I am amazed yet not surprised that there are those who skip the word “forever” here regarding God’s promise to Abram (who became Abraham in Genesis 17). Forever means forever; to suggest that God changed His forever promise to Abraham is to suggest that God breaks His covenant - His promises - and to say that He is unfaithful, which is a lie since He is a faithful God in whom we can hope.
In Genesis 17:15-21 we see that God chose to bless Abraham with a son, through Sarah, and that this son would be the one through whom God’s promises would continue – which included land:
Then God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, you shall not call her by the name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man a hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, give birth to a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” But God said, “No, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will establish My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”
In the Haftarah, we see yet another reminder of God’s endless grace and unconditional covenant with Abraham, which continued through Isaac, and also through Jacob (who became Israel). Indeed, this covenant holds true until today:
“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham who love me, you whom I have taken from the ends of the earth
and called from its remotest parts, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will also help you, I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent. For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand, who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you people of Israel; I will help you,” declares the LORD, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.”
Isn't it incredible that we love the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel)? Isn't it amazing that we serve the same God, who is full of endless love and grace, and who promised to protect Israel, which we see until today? Throughout the millennia, despite the many people who have tried to wipe out the Jewish people, God has preserved us because He made an everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is indeed the same God that we follow today, the one who called each person by name, the first and the last, as Isaiah says beautifully in chapter 41:4:
Who has performed and accomplished it, summoning the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the LORD, am the first, and with the last. I am He.”
He is the first and the last. This was echoed by Yeshua Himself when He says that He is the alpha and omega (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13). The wholeness of God and His plan is undeniable.
I am calling on each of you, who claims to believe and love the same God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel to share the truth and stand for the truth! If you remain silent, you partake in a movement that is against God and His promises for Israel!
I want to close with a word of encouragement for each of us who is struggling to find hope in these difficult and dark days:
Yet those who hope in the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
Check out previous blogs on this parashah!
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