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Favor For The Righteous

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					                       Favor For The Righteous
                             A d’rash for parashah Toldot
                           Beresheet 25:19-28:9, Malakhi 1:1-2:10

                                 By Rabbi Reuel Dillon


Often in Christianity and even in Messianic Judaism people will act like they can’t do
anything that is pleasing to Adonai, and that any righteous works that we do are as
“dirty rags” before Him. Of course any works that originate from us are worthless.
What do I mean by that? Well, we know that no one is able to secure eternal
salvation by keeping the commandments of Elohim. But, for those whom have been
saved, we have been predestined to do righteous works of which originate from
Adonai. He already predestined the works that would be considered righteous in His
eyes. In Ephesians 2:8-10 we read,

“For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your
accomplishment but Elohim's gift. You were not delivered by your own actions;
therefore no one should boast. For we are of Elohim's making, created in union with
the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by Elohim for us to
do.”

If we have really been made into a new creation and have been borne again through
the Spirit of Adonai and are not quenching that Spirit, and if He predestined that
those in Messiah whom are being led by the Spirit would do righteous works, and
they originated with Him, such works didn’t come from us. It than follows that if
these righteous works originated from Him and are done through us as a result of His
Spirit…than could they be described as “dirty rags”?

1Yochanan (John) 3:18-22 states, “My little children, let's not love in word only,
neither with the tongue only, but in deed and truth. And by this we know that we are
of the truth, and persuade our hearts before him, because if our heart condemns us,
God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our hearts don't
condemn us, we have boldness toward Elohim; and whatever we ask, we receive
from him, because we keep his mitzvot (commandments) and do the things that are
pleasing in his sight.”

If we choose not to quench the Spirit of Elohim and do keep His commandments
(and not our own) than these things are pleasing in His sight and we can find favor.
The Emissary Yochanan says that if our heart doesn’t condemn us, in connection
with the fact that we are keeping His commandments, and not turning away from
them, than we receive from Him whatever we ask. Mishlei (Proverbs) 15:29 states,
“HaShem is far from the wicked, but he listens to the prayer of the righteous.”. And,
why is Adonai far from the prayer of the wicked? As we continue to read through
the book of Mishlei (Prov.) it gives us the answer. Mishlei 28:9 tell us without
apology the following, “If a person will not listen to Torah, even his prayer is an
abomination.”.

In parashah Toldot we read about how the generations of the seed of Avraham
continue to flourish. Yitzchak (Isaac) was to inherit the same promises given by El
Shaddai to his father Avraham. But, like his father there was just one problem…no
kids to pass on the legacy to! Many a righteous person has wondered why they have
not been able to have children. The Talmud tells us, “Why were our ancestors
barren? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, longs to hear the prayer of the
righteous” (b.Yevamot 64a). At any rate, in Beresheet (Genesis) 25:21 it says,
“Yitzchak prayed to HaShem on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and
HaShem answered him and Rivkah his wife conceived”. In Ya’akov (James) 5:16 we
read, “…The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective”. I believe
that when it says that Yitzchak prayed on the behalf of his wife that it wasn’t just a
one time prayer. I believe that it is quite possible that he prayed to Adonai over an
extended amount of time. He was “insistent”. The Jewish sages note that the
Hebrew word used here was not the normal word for “prayer”, but was the Hebrew
word for “entreaty”. Therefore, the sages interpret this to mean that Yitzchak
persistently prayed on her behalf. If we think about this, it does make sense. Rivkah
had been barren for twenty years of their marriage. Most couples would have given
up hope. But, not Yitzchak. He was a man of faith. And, he believed Adonai’s
promises given to his father Avraham. For his seed to inherit the land and to become
and innumerous as the sand and stars of the sky…he had to have at least one child.
Yitzchak may have from time to time doubted his faith and felt like the situation was
hopeless…but, he never gave up. He kept on entreating El Shaddai, the God whom
provides. Likewise our Master Yeshua teaches us to pray in this same manner. In
Luke 18:1-8 we read the following,

 “Then Yeshua told his talmidim a parable, in order to impress on them that they
must always keep praying and not lose heart. "In a certain town, there was a judge
who neither feared God nor respected other people. There was also in that town a
widow who kept coming to him and saying, `Give me a judgment against the man
who is trying to ruin me.' For a long time he refused; but after awhile, he said to
himself, `I don't fear God, and I don't respect other people; but because this widow is
such a nudnik (pest), I will see to it that she gets justice -- otherwise, she'll keep
coming and pestering me till she wears me out!'" Then the Lord commented,
"Notice what this corrupt judge says. Now won't God grant justice to his chosen
people who cry out to him day and night? Is he delaying long over them? I tell you
that he will judge in their favor, and quickly! But when the Son of Man comes, will he
find this trust on the earth at all?"
Speaking of trust and faith, at the end of Mattityahu (Matthew) chapter six we read
that Yeshua The Messiah teaches us not to walk around be anxious and fretting about
life. He tell us in Mattityahu 6:33-34 to;

“…seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given
to you as well. Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be
anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.”

If we act like Esav and run after the things of this life and just live to fill our
stomachs…than we will end up becoming an enemy to Elohim. Hebrews 12:16-17
states, “Let there be no immoral or godless person like Esav, who sold his own
birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to
inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he
sought for it with tears.”. And, in connection with prayer and selfish unrighteous
living the Emissary Ya’akov (James) tells us in Ya’akov 4:3-4, “You ask, and don't
receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your
pleasures. You adulterers and adulteresses, don't you know that friendship with the
world is enmity with Elohim? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world
makes himself an enemy of Elohim.”.

In 1Corinthians 6:13 we read, “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food,
but Elohim will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but
for Adonai, and Adonai is for the body”. By living only for the fleshly desires of life
Esav ended up making himself and enemy to Adonai. All he was concerned about
was getting some of that “red stuff”. Do we have fleshly “red stuff” in our lives that
sometimes come first before the Kingdom of Elohim and for which we are willing to
forget our birth right as sons and daughters in His Kingdom? For many men, sexual
temptation is the “red stuff” which for a brief moment of satisfaction they are willing
to compromise their birthright. For both men and women this “red stuff” can
manifest itself in different ways. For some it may be possessions, for some it may be
power, control, or pride. For many this “red stuff” manifests itself in a whole range
of addictions anywhere from media addiction (t.v., radio, internet, video games), to
alchohol, smoking, all the way to hard-core drugs. Everyone knows what their own
“red stuff” is. But, we cannot allow this stuff to get in the way of Adonai using us for
His purposes…otherwise, we will not be able to become the Priests and Ministers for
His Kingdom that He is looking for and in whom He can delight in. He is looking
for the true seed of Avraham to fill these roles.

But, one will say, “Wasn’t Esav also of the seed of Avraham?”. Although he was of
Avraham, Esav was not of the seed of promise. In our haftarah portion for parashah
Toldot we read the following in Malakhai 1:1-3,

“A prophecy, the word of HaShem to Yisrael through Mal'akhi: "I love you," says
HaShem. But you ask, "How do you show us your love?" HaShem answers, "'Esav
was Ya'akov's brother. Yet I loved Ya'akov but hated 'Esav…”.
Likewise, all those whom are part of physical Yisrael are not apart of the seed of
promise. For Romans 9:6-8 says, “But the present condition of Yisrael does not
mean that the Word of God has failed. For not everyone from Isra'el is truly part of
Yisrael; indeed, not all the descendants are seed of Avraham; rather, "What is to be
called your 'seed' will be in Yitz'chak." In other words, it is not the physical children
who are children of Elohim, but the children the promise refers to who are
considered seed.”. Indeed Yochanan (John) The Immerser states in Mattityahu
(Matthew) 3:8-10, “If you have really turned from your sins to Elohim, produce fruit
that will prove it! And don't suppose you can comfort yourselves by saying,
`Avraham is our father'! For I tell you that Elohim can raise up for Avraham sons
from these stones! Already the axe is at the root of the trees, ready to strike; every
tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown in the fire!”.

And in Yochanan (John) 8:39 our Master Yeshua was having a discussion with some
of Jewish people and we read, “They answered and said to Him, "Avraham is our
father." Yeshua said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of
Avraham.". Yeshua tells us that Avrahams seed will be characterized by their deeds.
Avraham received the favor of Adonai because of His faith in action, and not just by
what he believed. And, what were these “deeds of Avraham”? In Beresheet
(Genesis) 26:4-5 Adonai tells us very clearly the reason why Avraham received favor
and blessing. He says, “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the
sky, I will give all these lands to your descendants, and by your descendants all the
nations of the Earth will bless themselves, because Avraham obeyed my voice, and
kept my charge, my mitzvot (commandments), my statutes, and my Torah (Torotai)."

As we can see in our previous passage, Avraham was a perfect candidate to be the
future father of the Godly seed and faith because he was Torah observant.
In Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 36:27 we see that these would be the characteristics of Spirit
filled believers. Adonai says, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk
in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.”. Avraham,
Yitzchak, and Ya’akov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) were the beginnings of a holy
Priesthood that Adonai would seek to represent Him to the rest of the nations. For
in the future Adonai would state the following in Shemot (Exodus) 19:5-6 to the
sons of Yisrael, “And now if listening you will listen to My voice, and will keep My
covenant, you shall become a special treasure to Me above all the nations, for all the
earth is Mine. And you shall become a kingdom of Priests for Me, a holy nation.
These are the words which you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”. And, in 1Kefa
(Peter) 2:9 the Emissary Kefa reminds us of our calling where he states the following
in, “But you are a chosen people, a royal Priesthood, a holy nation, a people for
Elohim to possess! Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who
called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”.

In haftarah Toldot we read about the responsibilities of Adonai’s Priesthood and
what it looks like when that Priesthood fails. In Malakhi 2:4-9 Adonai says, “Then
you will know that I sent you this command to affirm my covenant with Levi," says
HaShem-Tzva'ot (LORD of Hosts). "My covenant with him was one of life and
peace, and I gave him these things. It was also one of fear, and he feared me; he was
in awe of my name. The true Torah was in his mouth, and no dishonesty was found
on his lips; he walked with me in peace and uprightness and turned many away from
sin. A cohen's lips should safeguard knowledge, and people should seek Torah from
his mouth, because he is the messenger of HaShem-Tzva'ot. But you turned away
from the path, you caused many to fail in the Torah, you corrupted the covenant of
Levi," says HaShem-Tzva'ot. "Therefore I have in turn made you contemptible and
vile before all the people, because you did not keep my ways but were partial in
applying the Torah.".

We see that one of the characteristics of a bad messenger and a bad Priest is someone
whom causes another “to fail in the Torah”. And, our Master Yeshua agrees. In
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:18-19 Yeshua states, “Truly I say to you, Until the heaven
and the earth pass away, in no way shall one yud or a stroke pass away from the
Torah until all comes to pass. Therefore, whoever relaxes one of these
commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the
kingdom of Heaven. But whoever does and teaches them, this one shall be called
great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”. And, no doubt it was the Priesthood whom was
supposed to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Our haftarah passage points out that a bad Priest or Messenger is also one whom is
partial in applying Torah. In his letter the Emissary Ya’akov (James) writes about
being partial when applying the Torah in our lives. This passage often is twisted to
support a lawless theology, but Ya’akov’s intent was quite the opposite. Beginning in
Ya’akov (James) 2:1-9 we read,

“My brothers, don't hold the faith of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah of glory with
partiality. For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue,
and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; and you pay special attention to him
who wears the fine clothing, and say, "Sit here in a good place;" and you tell the poor
man, "Stand there," or "Sit by my footstool;" haven't you shown partiality among
yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers.
Didn't God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of
the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored
the poor man. Don't the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts?
Don't they blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called? However, if you
fulfill the royal Torah, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as
yourself," you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by
the Torah as transgressors.”.

As we can see the context and point Ya’akov is trying to say is that if you think you
can be partial in applying the Torah in our lives than we commit sin. He was
reinforcing the teaching of Messiah which taught in Mattityahu (Matthew) 23:23,
“Woe to you, scribes and Perushim (Pharisees), hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill,
and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the Torah: justice, mercy,
and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.”.
As we continue to read in Ya’akov (James) chapter 2 in verse 10 we should realize
that the following statement is meant to encourage someone to more fully keep the
Torah, to not be partial when keeping Torah, and not shrink back from it. But, many
have twisted it and have used it as an excuse to reject a Torah pursuant life.

Ya’akov (James) 2:11-26 states, “For whoever keeps the whole Torah, and yet
stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For he who said, "Do not commit
adultery," also said, "Do not commit murder." Now if you do not commit adultery,
but murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak, and so do, as men
who are to be judged by a law of freedom. For judgment is without mercy to him
who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my
brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? And if a
brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you tells them, "Go in
peace, be warmed and filled;" and yet you didn't give them the things the body needs,
what good is it? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.
Yes, a man will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without
works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one. You
do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. But do you want to know, vain man,
that faith apart from works is dead? Wasn't Avraham our father justified by works, in
that he offered up Yitzchak his son on the altar? You see that faith worked with his
works, and by works faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says,
"Avraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness;" and he was
called the friend of God. You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only
by faith. In like manner wasn't Rachav the prostitute also justified by works, in that
she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? For as the body apart
from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.”.

As the people of Adonai, let us not become a dead and ineffective Priesthood. May
His purposes be fulfilled through us. Let us serve our Elohim with all of our heart,
soul, and strength and without partiality. For then we will find favor, and then our
prayer will avail much, and then we will be counted as the true seed of Avraham.
And, most of all, let us never give up. May we all fight the good fight to the very end.

                                     Shabbat shalom!



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