Theme for today: "When the Eternal deals with our character"
Parashah: Bamidbar (In the desert) - Numbers 19: 1-22: 1.
Haftarah: Shofetim 11: 1-33.
Apostolic Writings: Yochanan 3: 13-21.
Focus reading: Bamidbar 21: 1-9.
Demonstrate that, to be able to fulfill the purpose of the Eternal, He deals with our character so that it is conducive to the mission that he has prepared for us.
Encounter with the Torah: "An attitude that needed strong treatment"
Bamidbar 21: 1-9. Yochanan 3: 13-21.
The parshah "Chukat" חֻקּתַ is assigned with that name because it is the word that stands out at the beginning of this portion of the Torah. It is a term that is translated "ordinance" that also appears in many versions interchangeably as "precept", "statute" and others, implying that it is one more title to refer to the rest of the 613 commandments. However "chukat" is one of the three categories into which the Torah's commandment are divided. It is the feminine singular of "chok".".
In Hebrew, the commandments are classified into three categories. As we have already explained in previous studies. There are the commandments of justice, those of testimony, and the irrational ones. The commandments of justice are those that have to do with good behavior and interpersonal relationships and are identified with the term "mishpatim".The commandments of testimony are those that have to do with events that testify about the manifestation of the Eternal in favor of their people and humanity, and are identified with the term "edot". The other category are the so-called irrational, because they do not have a biblical explanation of their reason for being; the Eternal orders them, but without explaining why; these commandments are identified as the "chukim". It is important to know the difference between these three categories, because they help us understand their importance and permanent practical application. When we analyze these categories well in the Torah, we discover that the food laws, as the laws that have to do with the passions, are within the category of "chukim". Both food and sexual relations are intrinsic needs of the human being whose impulses are very strong. When we are channeled through food or sex it is very difficult to be objective, therefore its regulation needs to be clear and without any argumentation, otherwise, we would always find reasons why allow our wishes to be satisfied. Because by going through the filter of human logic, we will find many more than more than teaching ways to rationalize what we want to do. It is for this reason that the "chukim" are commandments that must be followed, without seeking apparent, reason, because it closes the door to rationalization. It is permitted or prohibited by the Eternal, without giving rise to human subjectivity; in this way we would avoid being carried away by our own impulses and passions. For this reason the Eternal orders them without any explanation.
We will focus this study on the incident that led to the construction of the bronze serpent in the desert; Which shows that the Eternal deals with the character of his people, so that it is adequate for the task that he has reserved for them. The Eternal fosters the situation that leads us to remove all the filth that we carry within, and then confront us and give us the opportunity to be restored and trained for the task.
I. The human character shows vulnerability.
1. What experience did the children of Israel have that showed divine support? Numbers 21: 1-3.
When the children of Israel were attacked by the king of Arad, taking some of them captive, they vowed to the Eternal to destroy them completely if the Eternal gave them into his hands and the Eternal heard their cry, handing them over to them, which his cities were defeated and destroyed, calling him Horma.
This experience reveals that they could count on the support of the Eternal. He had promised it (Exodus 14:14). The people were always reminded that the Eternal would go before them and since he had protected them during the plagues in Egypt, he would also guard them against the enemy (Deuteronomy 1:30). Many times the children of Israel were comforted and could see the hand of the Eternal (Deuteronomy 20: 3; Joshua 10:25).
2. What happened to the people after such a victory? Numbers 21:4.
Then the children of Israel left by the way of the Red Sea with the hope of being able to cross through Edom and immediately enter the promised land; but the refusal of the Edomites made him surround the land of Edom, which brought great discouragement to all the people, who had reached the limit of their impatience. Discouragement is a latent attitude, but it brings the wrath of the Eternal. Discouragement is the product of impatience and fear. Moshe reminds them of the tragedy caused by discouragement, when they saw the land and discouraged the people not to enter, and the Eternal's anger came came against them; because that attitude resulted in a threat against Moshe and Aharon (Numbers 32:9-13). We are all likely to be discouraged at any time; the question is what we do with discouragement. When we start looking at things from our own perspective we are victims of discouragement.
3. How did the people react to such frustration? Numbers 21: 5.
The people spoke ill against the Eternal and against Moshe, denying that they had taken them out of Egypt saying, that they would die in that desert; They complained about the lack of food and water, denying the manna that the Eternal provided daily, claiming that it was useless and that they already detested it because they were tired of it. Unleashing discouragement is very dangerous, because it leads us to sin against the Eternal and against those people (Psalm 78: 17-22). The first thing the children of Israel did was to deny having taken them out of Egypt, then they complained about the lack of satisfying their food cravings, denigrating the manna that the Eternal sent them from heaven, saying that it was useless. This attitude was an affront to the love of the Eternal.
II. The Eternal deals strongly with stubborn character.
4. How did the Eternal respond to this stubborn attitude? Numbers 21:6.
The survivors of the children of Israel needed to be treated deeply in this area of their character and the Eternal sent highly poisonous snakes among the people and they attacked the people, and all those bitten by those snakes died in the midst of terrible anguish and pain; That plague killed many people within the town. This was severe, but necessary treatment on the part of the Eternal; it was the only way in which the people could reflect and change their attitude. During the tour, Israel was the target of the Eternal's treatment, due to inappropriate attitudes. The Eternal works with us to develop our character. There is the example of Avraham; He promises him a son, but the formation of the proper character to be the proper father for Yitzchak lasted twenty-five years (Genesis 12:4; 21:5). When attitudes are bad, the treatment of the Eternal is strong. There is the case of Samson, his attitude was irresponsible and the treatment of the Eternal was strong.
5. What did the effect produced by this situation have on people's lives? Numbers 21: 7.
The people recognized that they had committed a great sin by speaking in this way against the Eternal and against Moshe, they confessed their sin and asked Moshe to intercede for them so that the snakes could be removed, because they knew that it was caused by the mean attitude against the Eternal. The shipment of the poisonous snakes was a confrontational situation for the people. It was terrifying, to be surrounded by threatening snakes and to see relatives die, victims of the bite of that plague. They realized that the Eternal was not playing, that the matter was grave and they had to take action. The first thing they did was recognize the seriousness of that attitude and they confessed their sin, the other was to ask the favor of the Eternal..
6. How was that attitude of the children of Israel considered? 1 Corinthians 10: 9-12.
That attitude was a way of tempting the Eternal, for which it brings painful consequences, because not only did they murmur, but they challenged the Eternal with that superb character; everything that happened to them, the Eternal allowed it as an example that would serve as a warning to us until the end of time. The Shaliach Shaul (Apostle Paul) refers to the matter, qualifying it as a way to tempt the Eternal, something that we should not do with Yeshua, adding that murmuring was part of the ingredient of this detestable attitude towards the Eternal. All this treatment of the Eternal is an example, and they were written to admonish us in these end times. The Eternal is dealing with his people in the development of character, for the great mission of these end times..
III. A point of contact for faith and obedience.
7. What did the Eternal command to bring physical and spiritual healing? Numbers 21: 8.
The Eternal establishes a point of contact to help raise awareness and exercise faith, leading to maintaining the correct focus, ordering to make a metal snake, equal to poisonous snakes; anyone who was bitten, just by looking at the bronze serpent would immediately be healed and delivered from death. The serpent in Scripture is a symbol of evil and Satan (Revelation 12:9). The copper serpent was a symbol of the rebellion of the children ofIsrael. When they saw it,, they became aware of the seriousness of their attitude; This is the first step for spiritual healing, awareness. Yojanan says that we have to become aware of our sins and not hide it (1st Yojanan 1:8-9). He who becomes aware of his sin and departs will attain mercy, that brings physical and spiritual healing (Proverbs 28:13)..
8. What happened to what the Eternal had ordered for healing? Numbers 21:9.
Moshe obeys the Eternal and makes the snake and indeed, all bitten by poisonous snakes and looked at the metal snake, he was immediately healed. The Eternal is the one who imparts healing; but the affected person had to do their part. Spiritual leaders are responsible for doing what the Eternal commands them, in behalf of the people he places in their hands to be treated; but what the leader does not enough. When a person was affected by a lethal bite, I knew that he was sentenced to imminent death; but the Eternal gives him the opportunity to save himself just by looking at the metal snake. This was a necessary action for healing. The reason for ordering the metal snake was to lead them to understand that they must subjugate the heart of their Heavenly Father, humbly obeying the Eternal.
9. What did the metal snake symbolize? Yochanan 3: 14-16.
Yeshua is dialoguing with a Torah teacher, who is seeking guidance regarding spiritual matters, because I recognized that Yeshua was the promised Messiah; and Yeshua used the desert metal serpent reference to explain the effects of putting faith in the redemptive work of the Messiah. That serpent was a symbol of the crucifixion of Yeshua, who carried all our rebellions on the tree, shedding his blood for us, so that everyone who believes in Him can have Eternal life; This is the maximum expression of the Father's love for sinners, because He does not want us to be condemned. The rising of that serpent was a prophecy of the rising of Yeshua, who, by dying on the stake, carried the sin of the whole world (Colossians 2:15), triumphing over them in his death. .
REFLECTION AND APPLICATION.
1. What is the importance of "chukim"?
2. What does the Eternal do to prepare us for the misison he has for us?
3. How does the Eternal develop our character to get involved in this move?
4. What attitude in us brings the wrath of the Eternal?
5. How does the Eternal treat stubborn attitudes?
6. What does the Eternal do to help us become aware?
7. How do you perceive the Eternal is dealing with your character?
8. What changes should you make for the Eternal's treatment in you to flow effectively?
9. List at least three actions you can take to realize those changes.
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[i] This material has been prepared by Messianic Rabbi Héctor R. Navarro. Month of Siván 5780. July 2020. All rights reserved. For any questions, write to us at the following E-mail: email@example.com