THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION:
From ancient times there has been a weekly portion (Parashah) from the first five books of Moses (The Torah) and an ending (Haftarah) from the Prophets read on the Sabbath in synagogues around the world. This portion is given a Hebrew name drawn from the opening words of the Torah passage. An illustration of this practice appears to have been recorded in Luke 4:16 where Yeshua (Jesus) arrived in the synagogue in Nazareth and was asked to read the portion (Isaiah 61) from the Prophets.
We have found that in perusing these weekly readings, not only are we provided opportunity to identify in the context of God’s Word with millions of Jewish people around the world, but very often the Holy Spirit will illumine specific passages pertinent that week in our intercession for the Land and people of Israel. The Haftarah, unless otherwise noted, will be that read in Ashkenazy synagogues around the world. The references for all texts are those found in English translations of the Scriptures.
The readings for this week January 29—February 4, 2017 are called Bo—“Come.”
TORAH: Exodus 10:1—13:16
HAFTARAH: Jeremiah 46:13-28
*Exodus 10:3. “Thus says YHVH Elohei-ha’Ivrim (“Yehovah the Hebrews-God”): ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Send My people that they may serve Me.’”
As in Ex. 9:1, the LORD here identifies his Name YHVH and godhead Elohim with the Hebrews as a race—a people extending back many generations before the fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (with whom He had identified Himself to Moses in the Burning Bush). He is thus also the God of the race which Pharaoh’s father had tried to exterminate 80 years previously (Ex 1:16).
PLEASE PRAY: for an awakened awareness in Israel that it is this same God who identified Himself by Name with the Hebrew race to Pharaoh…who has miraculously kept it in existence for over 4000 years—and who still chooses to identify Himself with this race for good and not evil.
*Exodus 10:21-23. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt…and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:4-5,9).
PLEASE PRAY: that darkness will be felt and hated—that the true Light will shine into both Egypt and Israel today, bringing illumination, hope and security to the inner “dwellings” of both of these peoples.
*Exodus 10:28-29. “Then Pharaoh said to him, ‘Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!” So Moses said, ‘You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.’”
In Ex 7:1, the LORD says, “See, I have made you Elohim to Pharaoh…” The concept of finding hope, strength, encouragement and salvation in the light of the LORD’s face runs throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (See Psalms 44:3, 80:3,7,19). Often, the word translated “face” (panim) is also synonymous with the word “presence.” In Psalm 27:8-9, David’s response to the admonition “Bakshu-Phanai!—Seek My Face!” is a heartfelt, “Your face O LORD will I seek…Do not hide your face from me…” By rejecting Moses’ face, Pharaoh was rejecting the presence, the life, the hope of Moses’ God…and eventually God allowed him to be granted his request.
PLEASE PRAY: For secular, religious, Orthodox, and ultra-Orthodox Jews to hear and respond to the call which God causes to be released in the hearts of all men, “Bakshu-Phanai!—Seek my Face!”
*Exodus 12:2. “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.”
In Exodus 13:4 and Deuteronomy 16:1 this month is called by the Canaanite name Aviv, a name now used in Israel for “springtime.” Since the return from Babylonian captivity, a Babylonian name Nisan has been used on Hebrew calendars. The “number” of the year for the Hebrew calendar (this year 5777) is calculated on the Hebrew calendar from the Feast of Trumpets in the fall (a day related in Hebrew tradition to the creation of the world). The month of Aviv/Nisan, however, marks the “Beginning of Months” for the Hebrew religious calendar (from which date all the Biblical Feasts are calculated). Rosh Hodesh (“Head of the Month”) for this Rosh Hodashim (“Head of Months”) will fall this year on Tuesday March 28th.
*Exodus 12:12-13. “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt…and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am YHVH. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
At the very beginning (see Ex. 4:22-23) YHVH had warned Pharaoh that refusal to release His “firstborn” Israel to serve Him, would result in the killing of Pharaoh’s own firstborn. It was the YHVH (the LORD), not a created ‘angel’, Who would pass through (Heb: avar) the land executing judgment. However, the word translated “pass over” in verse 13 (pasach) means to “skip” or “step over”—thus sparing those under the blood from the judgment coming upon all the other firstborn.
PLEASE PRAY: That this weekend when this passage is read in synagogues—and at Seder tables on the evening of April 10th (Passover) when it will be read again in Jewish homes around the world—that the message of the BLOOD of the Lamb which covers and diverts judgment would be imbued with supernatural revelation to the descendants of Jacob. Pray that the Holy Spirit would move Jewish hearts to recognize the “Lamb of God, who carries away the sin of the world”—the Pesach Lamb who was “stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted…He was wounded for our transgressions…and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
*Jeremiah 46:27. “‘But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, and do not be dismayed, O Israel! For behold, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; No one shall make him afraid. Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,’ says the LORD, ‘For I am with you…’”
Martin & Norma Sarvis
The readings for next week (February 5-11 2017) are called B’Shalach—“In the Sending.”
TORAH: Exodus 13:17—17:16
HAFTARAH: Judges 4:4—5:31
NOTE: Because this week’s Torah and Haftarah readings contain two of the great recorded songs of the Bible (the Song of the Sea and the Song of Barak and Deborah), this Sabbath is sometimes known as Shabbat Shirah—“Sabbath of Song.”