Updated: Oct 11
[17-23 Dec 2023]
Theme of the Book of Genesis:
Desire for life, to choose life and to create!
Meaning of "vayigash" = "and he draw near / appeared"
This week's Torah portions:
Sunday: Gen 44:18-30
Monday: Gen 44:31-45:7
Tuesday: Gen 45:8-18
Wednesday: Gen 45:19-27
Thursday: Gen 45:28-46:27
Friday: Gen 46:28-47:10
Shabbat: Gen 47:11-27 & Ezek 37:15-28
Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:
2 Samuel 4-13
2 Corinthians 3-8
At the end of the previous portion, Joseph demanded that Benjamin stay behind as his slave in Egypt. In this week's portion we read how Judah tried to convince Joseph to rather take him (Judah) as his (Joseph's) slave. As this stage Joseph's brothers still haven't recognised him.
Remember that Jacob, their father, was hesitant to allow Benjamin to go with his brothers to Egypt. Judah then took it upon himself to take responsibility to bring Benjamin safely back to their father. One can only imagine what went through Judah's mind at this stage. He'd rather become a slave than to not keep his promise to his father regarding Benjamin.
What we also have to remember is that Judah was the one who sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites many years ago. And now he is willing to sell himself as a slave to save his brother.
When Pharaoh appointed Joseph as governor over Egypt, he gave him a new name as we read in Gen 41:45. Pharaoh called Joseph Zaphnath Paaneah. When Joseph's brothers came to Egypt they met this Zaphnath Paaneah, not recognizing that it was Joseph, their brother.
At this stage they saw this Zaphnath Paaneah guy as some sort of saviour / redeemer. Saving them from the famine.
When Joseph saw that his brothers' hearts have changed since the time they sold him, he couldn't take it any longer... so he sent out all of his employees / servants out of the room and told his brothers who he was and asked if their father was still alive.
Joseph grasped Abba's plan which we learned about in last week's portion - the ability to discern the bigger picture. Joseph was able to discern the important role which the past played - in order to get to where they are (at the point where he revealed himself to his brothers again). Joseph was able to see the bigger picture behind it all, he was able to see God's hand in all of it.
As we could only imagine, Joseph's brothers did not see this reveal coming! It caught them completely off guard and they felt ashamed of what they did. But Joseph didn't only forgive them, we also read that he comforted them. And told them that it was all part of Abba's bigger plan! Through Joseph's ability to see the bigger picture, his brothers received emotional healing.
Joseph could have easily focused on the hardships he went through after his brothers had sold him. But instead he focused on the bigger plan - and that's to discern that if everything didn't happen the way it did - he would not have been in the position to save his brothers from the famine. Joseph was able to acknowledge Abba's hand in all of it.
Joseph's brothers went back home and they had a pretty awkward task to do when they got home. They had to tell their father the truth about Joseph. Remember that after they sold him to the Ishmaelites, they told their father that Joseph was killed by an animal. And now they had to face their father and tell him the truth.
When it comes to Abba's redemptive plan, we always have to face the truth. And facing the truth means identifying the lies of the past. Yeshua is the Truth. He is Light! When you identify the lies / wrongdoings of the past - you bring truth and light into the situation, and you can get to healing. If you cannot identify the lie / wrongdoings - you can never get to a point of healing.
Further on in this portion we read that Jacob, after 22 years, is re-united with Joseph. Remember that Joseph was Jacob's beloved son. In Jacob's eyes Joseph was his first born son. Could you imagine how that moment must have felt for them? After all those years!
Both Jacob and Joseph walked with Abba and were able to discern the bigger picture in their walks with Abba. Joseph was able to see God's hand in his journey as a means to provide for them through the famine. And Jacob knew that God gave them Canaan as an inheritance, but he also was able to discern that it might still mean that they might temporarily stay in Egypt for a while.
It doesn't nullify God's promise when your situation looks different than you thought it would.
When we walk with Abba - we should be the ones changing our circumstances. Our circumstances should not be changing us!
Joseph was married to Asenath, who's father was fully into idolatry. But Joseph didn't conform to his father-in-law's customs and pagan practices. No, he stayed faithful in his walk with Abba - despite being surrounded by everything else.
We need to ask ourselves then... why do we allow our circumstance to change us? When we know that it should be the other way around.
We can only get to that point when we are able to discern Abba's bigger plan and start to live in it and reveal / interpret it.
On Jacob's way to Egypt, God once again gave him confirmation. Abba confirmed His promise to Jacob. He told Jacob that He would take him to Egypt but more so that He would take Jacob out of Egypt again in the future and back to the promised land. God re-assures Jacob that He will go with him wherever he goes.
If God is with us, who can be against us! (Rom 8:31)
Greater is He that is in us, than is he that is in the world! (1John 4:4)
We're facing our circumstances from a place of victory! We should never forget this! Even amongst the hardships in life Abba can still bless us. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Just like Abba promised to go with Jacob to Egypt and to take him out of there again at a later stage - in the same manner God will be with you in your Egypt (the tough circumstances that you are facing). But more so - He will take you out of those circumstances as well when the time is right.
Kol Kallah's teaching on this parashat said it so well: "There's a place beyond Egypt."
We can hold onto this promise! Just like Abba promised Canaan to Jacob, in the same way Abba has a promised land in store for each one of us! Beyond our the hardships we face, we can know that we know that we KNOW, that Abba will take us to our promised land when the time is ready.
From this Torah portion we can learn to keep our eyes on the bigger picture. Our circumstances might seem like a dark place, but Abba has a calling on each and every person's life. And if we allow Him, He will take us into our promised land.
At the end of the portion we read that the Pharaoh gave land to Joseph's family and by the time they moved back to Canaan - they have acquired much wealth - just like Abba promised them they would.
We can rest in His promises over our lives - because He WILL bring them into fulfillment.
All we have to do is discern the bigger picture and do what He asks of us. The rest is in His hands and He will keep His promises. He always does!
As mentioned before, Joseph was a shadow of Yeshua. Joseph was seen as this saviour / redeemer - saving the world from famine at that stage. And years later Yeshua came to give the entire world a chance to be spiritually saved!
We also discussed the fact that Abba allowed the Jews to be blinded / go astray and part from His instructions - so that we could be grafted in. And that our lives should be "bait" to pull the Jews in. Our lives should provoke them to jealousy - to make them want what we have - and that is Yeshua! They're still waiting for Him to come but we know that He already came to set us free!
When we look as Joseph's story, it enables us to understand the bigger picture of Yeshua better. I've said it before, but I simply love how Abba uses shadows of things to come all throughout His Word! He never fails to stick to His Word!
Joseph told them in Gen 45 who he was. He told them "heyyy it's me Joseph!" (My paraphrasing of course, not quoted from Scripture). He recognised his brothers but his brothers did not recognise him.
The same is true today with the Jews. Yeshua recognises them as His brothers, His chosen nation. But His "brothers" fail to recognise Him. They are still waiting anxiously for Him to come.
Some people even say that for this shadow of Joseph to be fulfilled by Yeshua - just like Joseph was sold by his brothers, likewise Judas Iscariot "sold" Yeshua - to fulfill this shadow of the Old Testament.
It makes total sense that Joseph's brothers didn't recognise him. He had a different name, many years have passed since they last saw Joseph as a boy when they sold him. They had no idea where he ended up or anything. So it makes sense.
But yet we struggle to understand how it is possible for the Jews to not recognise Yeshua. The Jews believe the Jesus (the Greek name for Yeshua) Who lived on earth was just another Greek god. They hear about Him as this Greek named Jesus. And not Yeshua which is His Hebrew name.
Joseph was called Zaphnath Paaneah by everyone in Egypt, yet his name was Joseph. But it caused his brothers to fail to recognise him.
In the same way Yeshua is called Jesus by many. Yet His Name is Yeshua. And it causes to this day many of His brothers (Jews) to fail to recognise Him.
We need to stand boldly on the promises of God even though we might face some hardships.
Just like Yeshua (Jesus) had to face the cross for our salvation. In the same way we might have to face hardships in our lives in order for us to walk into our callings (promised land). Despite the things we face in life, our lives should be a testimony of Who He is!
Yeshua isn't just a random Greek god. He is the Hebrew Messiah! When we speak about Jesus as Yeshua. It's jot to be fancy or sound cool. But it's a prophetic act to say that we want to be part of Abba's revelation here on earth.
Abba's Redemption Plan is revealed to the world through each one of us, when we walk in His ways.
When we live according to His instructions, our lives would be a testimony to those around us of His goodness, His mercy and His faithfulness. A testimony of Who He Is!
Abba will reveal His redemption plan to us. When we understand His plan of redemption - we'll be able to endure our hardships much easier. Because we'll be at a place in our lives where we would be able to discern the bigger picture and thus the purpose of what we are going through in order to get to the place which Abba has promised to us. Knowing amidst the storms that He will always keep His Word!
Just like Joseph's brother's received the redemption for free. In the same manner Yeshua's salvation is free for each one of us! Abba has blinded His own people so that we could be saved! Nothing that we could do could earn us our salvation. But once we grasp just how big of a gift our salvation is - we would want to honour Abba with every inch of our being! And that's why we would want to transform our hearts and our lives to be in line with His Word.
Abba is a Gentleman. His heart is for the whole world to be saved. Through Yeshua, He made it possible for the whole world to be saved. However, the whole world won't be saved. Because Abba made us with a free will to choose.
The Jews are His chosen nation, yet He still gave them free will to choose. And they choose to part with His instructions. Because He's a Gentleman - He allowed them to make their own choices. And as a result we now have the opportunity to also be saved and counted as His children. We need to realise that just like the Jews, we also have a choice to make. We have the salvation through Yeshua available to us - we are saved by grace through faith. Not because we've done something to achieve it on our own. And because we love Him, we'll choose to follow in His ways!
Abba has a plan for each one of us. He will fulfill His plan for each one of us individually as well as His the bigger picture! He's a faithful God and He will forever keep His Word! Our lives should be testimonies that pave the way for Yeshua's soon return!
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Portion 11: Vayigash (This blog you are reading now)