Parashat Lech Lecha (You Go) Genesis 12:1-17:27
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27-41:16
In this week’s Torah portion, there is a verse that whenever I read it, it makes me think of something that Yeshua commanded. First, one reads in the parashah,
“And Avram was ninety-nine years old and HaShem appeared to Avram and He said to him, ‘I AM El Shaddai; walk before Me and be perfect.'” Genesis 17:1
In the verse from the New Covenant Yeshua states,
“Therefore, you be perfect ones just as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.”
Although it is clear from Scripture that one is saved by grace, the intent of these two verses is not salvation or justification, but they relate to how one behaves. In the verse from Genesis, it is significant that HaShem reveals Himself as El Shaddai. This phrase means the G-d Who is all sufficient or in other words, the G-d Who is enough for every situation. Next, Abraham is told to “walk” before HaShem. The term “walk” refers to a lifestyle or how one behaves. It is very significant that it is only when Abraham walks before HaShem; that is, relying upon the sufficiency of G-d, that he could be perfect.
Yeshua is also speaking about a conduct of living which relates to the character of HaShem. It is important for the believer to understand that his main obligation to his Savior is obedience to the G-dly lifestyle. I realize that many will hear such a statement and accuse me of legalism. Legalism relates to salvation and I have already stated that it is by grace that one is justified. The subject of this brief article is not salvation, but rather how does one who has been saved live (behave). Some are surprised to hear that G-d expects from followers of Messiah Yeshua perfection. Although each of us is far from perfect, perfection is what each of us should be striving towards.
The problem today is that most of the time we are not thinking of achieving G-d’s will in a given situation, but looking to Him to assist us to overcome our problems. Usually this means for G-d to remove the problems. I do not know about you, but most of the time I do not sense or see Yeshua moving in my life to be the great problem solver. However, when one does not focus on the problem’s elimination, but prays for the strength and guidance to behave obediently in the midst of such problems, then the Holy Spirit will function in a mighty way in this one’s life and assist the believer in demonstrating the character of G-d.
Yeshua’s words are quite clear when He says, “…you be perfect ones just as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” He is not teaching that each of us become little gods, but rather that by means of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in each believer, one can in any given situation show others exactly what HaShem would do in that same situation. It is not an accident that the verse from this week’s Torah portion states, “and HaShem appeared“, for this is the calling of every believer—to reveal HaShem’s presence in each situation. When this becomes our focus, rather than the problems we face, you might be surprised what happens to these problems. They turn into opportunities for service; that is, G-d provides us with the privilege of representing Him in that situation before others.
The next verse states,
“I will set My Covenant between Me and you and I will multiply you greatly greatly.”
When the word “Covenant” appears in the Bible, one should think about the promises of G-d. It is not a coincidence that immediately after mentioning His promises (Covenant) HaShem states, “I will multiply you greatly greatly“. First, I translated the last two words the same because they are the same Hebrew word. Most translations render them as “most exceedingly”. This is fine as long as one knows that in the text the word מאוד appears twice. The message to us is very simple, when the believer focuses upon the promises of G-d, then he can expect the Holy Spirit to move mightily in his life to empower him to obey the purposes of HaShem. In the end, HaShem will be glorified by the believer behaving like Him.
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