Parashat Vayigash (And He Approached)
Beresheet (Genesis) 44:18-47:27
Haftarah: Ezekiel 37:15-28
Our strength is in our unity, but our weakness is in our division. This statement is true for the people of Israel as well as for the Body of Messiah.
On October 6th, 2023, one day before the horrific massacre perpetrated by Hamas, Israel was divided. In fact, the people of Israel have been bitterly divided for the last few years due to politicians and political power struggles. I am not going to get into who was right and who was wrong and will erase any comment which may be connected to that. However, that division showed a sign of weakness to our enemies, which they took advantage of, and for which Israel is still paying a heavy price. In fact, sadly as the war continues, that division of old hovers as a negative cloud above us.
The enemy knows very well that we are stronger united, but weaker divided. They are doing and will do whatever possible can to bring disagreement and division among us.
In the Haftarah portion this week, we learn of the bright future promised to the people of Israel that God Himself will bring about:
The word of the Lord came again to me, saying, “Now you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’ Then put them together for yourself one to another into one stick, so that they may become one in your hand. And when the sons of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?’ say to them, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: “Behold, I am going to 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 it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’ The sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. And say to them, ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: “Behold, I am going to take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their offenses; but I will rescue them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.”
It is very interesting that both Judah and Joseph are mentioned in these verses. This brings us to our Parashah portion for this week, which begins in Genesis 44:18. Let’s first recall that Judah was the one who suggested to sell Joseph, instead of killing him:
And Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, and let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him.
While some may think that Judah “saved” Joseph’s life, his actions were still selfish as he (and his brothers) personally profited from selling Joseph. Furthermore, selling Joseph into slavery was not exactly an act of mercy. Slavery was a very harsh reality for Joseph, causing him much suffering, even possibly would have killed him in the end.
In Genesis 44:18, we see a change of heart in Judah. Our Parashah opens with the description of how Judah stood in his promise to Jacob to protect Benjamin, his baby brother, from harm. Could it be that he felt remorse for selling Joseph and causing his father, Jacob, so much heartache as a result?
Nothing in God’s Word is there by coincidence; I believe including both Judah and Joseph in the passage from Ezekiel 37:15-23 (see above) is a prophetic picture of the unity that God will bring to Israel in the future. I personally believe that this unity will come only when God removes the veil from our eyes, and we will acknowledge Yeshua as the promised Messiah.
As you continue to read in Ezekiel 37:24-28, you find the day that the Messiah (referred here as David which is a Messianic reference to the triumphant king) will come and rule over His Land, and His people:
And My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances, and keep My statutes and follow them. And they will live on the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and My servant David will be their leader forever. And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be among them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.
My son Oriah recently said something that I will never forget: “Faith is not just the best way to die, but rather the best way to live”. While we know that the future foretells us of the unity of Israel, we would do well to practice it today by standing in unity on God’s truth and His Word.
Check out previous blogs on this parashah!
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