Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Torah Reading - Shemot - שמות : “Names”


Here is the Torah Readings from (Jan 21-27) 2 weeks ago, it is the story of the Exodus, which I hope will inspire you. All Torah portions are compliments of First Fruits of Zion and are reproduced by permmission.

Parashat Hashavuah

Shemot - שמות : “Names”
Torah : Exodus 1:1–6:1
Haftarah : Isaiah 27:6–28:13; 29:22–23
Gospel : Mark 1–2

The Good Shepherd

Thought for the Week:

Moses our teacher, peace be upon him, was tending the flock of Jethro in the wilderness when a little kid escaped from him. He ran after it until it reached a shady place … and the kid stopped to drink. When Moses approached it, he said, “I did not know you ran away because of thirst, you must be weary.” So he placed the kid on his shoulder and walked away. Thereupon God said: “Because you have mercy in leading the flock of a mortal, you will surely tend my flock, Israel.” (Shemot Rabbah 2:2)

After fleeing Egypt, Moses spent 40 years shepherding sheep. His years of shepherding sheep prepared him for the task of shepherding God’s people.

Throughout the Bible, Israel is compared to a flock. She is the flock of the LORD. Her leaders are her shepherds, appointed by her ultimate Shepherd, the LORD Himself. Israel’s greatest leaders were shepherds. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were men with flocks. Jacob worked as a shepherd for Laban. David was shepherd over his father’s flocks. Moses shepherded Jethro’s flocks. It is no surprise then that the Messiah of Israel refers to Himself as “the good shepherd.” (John 10:11)

Yeshua saw Himself, like Moses, as the Good Shepherd over the flock of Israel. He was on a mission seeking the lost sheep of Israel: the sinners and backslidden among the Jewish people of His day. In Luke 15:4-6, He says, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’”

In the parables of John 10, Yeshua further illustrates the concept of His shepherd-ship over Israel. He is the shepherd, and Israel is the flock. He speaks of guarding the flock, leading the flock and even laying His life down for the flock. He is speaking of His relationship to His people Israel.

In John 10:16, He introduces sheep from another flock. He says, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” The sheep being gathered and joined to the already existing flock under one Shepherd are Gentiles. They are sheep that are not part of the flock of Israel and not from the sheep pen (the land) of Israel. Notice that the Master does not say, “There shall be two flocks.” Rather, there will be one flock, and it is the Gentiles who are joined to the flock of Israel, not vice versa. In this parable, Yeshua leads the Gentiles into the flock of Israel.

In 1 Peter 2:25, the disciple Peter writes to his non-Jewish readers, saying, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” The Shepherd and Guardian of our souls so loved us that He left the other 99, picked up each of us individually and carried us to join His flock: Israel.

Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!

For a list of other weeks Torah portions, go to Weekly Torah Readings & Commentary

Blessings - Gavri'el

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