Submitting to His Sovereignty

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Parashat Vayikra (And He Called)
Vayikra (Leviticus) 1:1-5:26
Special reading for Shabbat “Zachor” (Remembrance) Deuteronomy 25:17-19
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 15:1-44

We have a special reading this week for Shabbat “Zachor” (Remembrance), which is the Shabbat (Sabbath day) before the feast of Purim. We all know the very famous verse from the Book of Esther 4:14:

For if you keep silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? 

I believe that it is time for those who identify as followers of the one and only true God to make a similar decision: will you stand for God and His people or not? I write “the one and only true God” because there are aspects of God that we do not fully understand. As a result, many of us pick and choose what we want to believe about God while ignoring other aspects that might make us uncomfortable. In many congregations today, they have turned the everlasting God  who was, is, and will always be the same into two: the God of the old and the God of the new. He is either the same yesterday, today, & forever, or He is not.

Our special reading in this week’s Parashah provides an example of an aspect of God that might be difficult for us to accept or understand:

Remember what Amalek did to you on the way when you came out of Egypt, how he confronted you on the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God. So it shall come about, when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to inherit, that you shall wipe out the mention of the name Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.
Deuteronomy 25:17-19 

God’s instructions were to wipe out the name of Amalek from under heaven. That means destroying anything or anyone that was connected to Amalek. Many of God’s followers choose to ignore the parts of Scripture that they do not like or that do not sit well with them. In today’s culture, these above verses would be considered “evil” or seen as promoting genocide. This is what happens when we view God through a humanistic lens rather a biblical lens.

In our Haftarah portion this week, after Saul was anointed King, he failed to obey what God told to Israel - and later to him:

Then Samuel said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel; now therefore, listen to the words of the LORD. This is what the LORD of armies says: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, in that he obstructed him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and completely destroy everything that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel, and donkey.
1 Samuel 15:1-3

Saul did not do as the LORD instructed him, as we read:

But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the more valuable animals, the lambs, and everything that was good, and were unwilling to destroy them completely; but everything despicable and weak, that they completely destroyed.
1 Samuel 15:9 

Agag was the king of the Amalekites; by sparing Agag’s life, and taking the best of the spoil, Saul disobeyed God. In the Hebrew the word found for “spared” is “וַיַּחְמֹל֩” “VaYachmul” which can also mean “had compassion”; this may explain why Saul and the people did not obey God. Perhaps they had compassion for Agag and the animals. Regardless of the reason, Saul disobeyed God and as a result God rejected him as king (1 Samuel 15:29).

This is an important warning to us that we cannot allow our human mind or our feelings to take us away from God and His Word. 

There is a connection to our reading on this Shabbat before Purim and the story of Purim from the book of Esther. The reality was that King Saul’s lack of obedience affected the people of Israel for many, many years. In the book of Esther, we read about an evil man who was believed to be a descendent of Agag the Amalekite:

After these events King Ahasuerus honored Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and promoted him and established his authority over all the officials who were with him.
Esther 3:1 

Haman plotted to destroy the entire Jewish population in Persia, and he made life for the Jewish people there incredibly miserable. However, God prevailed, as did His plan, and Haman failed to carry out his evil plan. It not only cost his life, but the life of his entire family. 

Today, we live in a day and age where once again there is a plot to destroy the people of God, the Jewish people. The war here in Israel is an ugly one and tragically, many innocent people on both sides are being killed. In our human attempts to try to make sense of this war, we cannot lose site of God, His Word, and the fact that He entrusted the Land to the Jewish people. 

Hamas is the enemy of the Jewish people, just as Haman was in ancient Persia. Israel did not start the war on October 7th; Israel is defending the inheritance that God entrusted to us - you and I have a choice to make for such a time as this - God and His truth or the world’s opinion. 

Shabbat Shalom,
Moran


Check out previous blogs on this parashah!

Did you know? — Lone Soldier

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2 Comments on “Submitting to His Sovereignty”

  1. Amen. Israel is held to unreasonable restrictions and standards by the nations and people of the world. People around the world would be livid and outraged if such things happened to them and their government did nothing, or not enough.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Israel. My heart is heavy.

    I have heard two interviews this week that have lighted a fire in me to confront these people who say they believe in God and the Bible while they spew venomous words regarding Israel. I have “blown up” the comment sections on those two videos, quoting books, prophecies, and quotes from people that have spoken the truth about Israel and the God of Israel.

    Here’s one: “… from 1967-1989, out of 865 resolutions in the Security
    Council and General Assembly of the UN, 526 were against Israel,” (Dave Hunt of The Berean Call) which is about 1/1000th of the population of the world. Why this obsession with Israel? People who scorn the U. N. and think it is an evil entity trying to establish a one-world government and undermine national sovereignty, apparently agree with the U. N. when it continually condemns Israel. Why?

    There is so much more. The more antagonism I encounter regarding Israel, the more determined I become to take a more public stand for Israel. I know Israel, Israelis, Jews, Jewish politicians, etc., are not all honoring their God or His Word, but when has that ever been the case? For example, reading through Kings and Chronicles, one sees the rejection of God by most of the leaders of Israel and many of the people of Israel, yet God made continued to make promises to Israel. He will keep His Word because of His faithfulness, not because or only if His people are faithful.

    1. Thank you for being such a strong advocate for the truth! We are so grateful for people like you who stand on God’s word, no matter what. May you be strengthened and blessed in these tough times.

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