About Leah Houseman

Author & Inspirational Speaker

Weekly Torah Commentary – Noah October 20, 2017

Torah reading:  Genesis 6:9 – 11:32

Haftorah reading: Isaiah 66:1-24

It took only nine generations from Creation for mankind to descend into a moral decay of such magnitude that God announced to one man His intent to destroy the world with a flood.  Noah, the Bible says, was ‘righteous in his generation.’ A great grandson of Enoch, Noah had a powerful spiritual heritage.  In the book of Enoch we read that Enoch entrusted the revelations God gave him to his son, Methuselah, who subsequently passed them on to his son, Lamech, who then taught them to his son, Noah.

Remember that Noah’s grandfather was still alive as Noah grew up, married and had children.  In fact, Methuselah died seven days before the rains began, on the very day that Noah and his family entered the Ark.

After the flood, when the waters receded, God spoke to Noah again:

And God said to Noah and his sons: I will keep My covenant with you and your descendants…and never again will a flood destroy all of life, and there will not be another flood destroying the earth….This is the sign I am making, testifying to the covenant between Me and you and all living souls, forever: I have put My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Myself and the world. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will be seen in the clouds, and I will remember the covenant between Myself and yourselves and all living souls, and there will never again be a flood to destroy all life. The rainbow will be in the clouds and I will see it and remember the eternal covenant between G‑d and all the living souls on earth.  Genesis 9: 11-17

After the Flood, the LORD God promised that—in spite of how man might sin—He would never again cause a flood that would destroy the whole world. As a sign of that covenant, He created the rainbow.

rainbow

In Jewish thought, the rainbow has two very significant meanings.

First, the appearance of a rainbow is a sign that sin is proliferating in a nation or region.  As such, it is seen as an appeal for repentance.  There are accounts in Jewish history of generations that never saw a rainbow which the Sages understood to mean that within the population there was a remnant of righteous and holy people whose godly living and sincere worship of Almighty God were preserving factors for the entire generation.

Hmm – think about that for a while…..

The second meaning attributed to a rainbow declares that though the Flood brought destruction to the world, there was also an aspect of it that was a blessing. The Flood waters purified the world and gave to mankind a second chance, the ability to recover the meaning of their existence. The clouds, which are formed from the mist that rises from the ground, represented this transformation of the natural to the supernatural.

I suggest that there is yet another sign inherent in the rainbow.

The prophet Ezekiel described a vision in which he had seen the divine presence “like a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, with a corona around it; this was how the glory of God appeared, and I saw it and fell on my face and heard a voice speaking….”

The rainbow, therefore, is also a sign of the presence of God and the glory of God.Therefore on those occasions when we do see a rainbow, it serves to remind us that we serve a God in the heavens who is true to His word, His faithfulness extends to all generations and His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations .3:22-23)   Every sighting of a rainbow in the sky is an opportunity to give thanks and praise to an ever faithful and loving Heavenly Father.

Continuing with Jewish thought, in Zohar 13, it is written that just before the Messiah appears, mankind will see an especially bright and vividly colorful rainbow in the sky.

In Tune with Torah this week = throughout history the rainbow has been used as a symbol in a wide variety of ways.  Our purpose here is to look at its origin and what God said about it. For the devoted Bible believer, the rainbow is a sign of His covenant, His faithfulness and His mercy, even in times of grievous sin in a nation or culture.

Let  us be thankful that our God is merciful as well as just, faithful as well as loving. His heart has not changed since the days of Noah.  He is the same today as He was then. It took 120 years for Noah to build the Ark.  From ancient sources we know that during that entire time, his grandfather Methuselah, a righteous man, appealed to the people to turn from their wicked ways lest God’s judgment fall upon them.

If only they had listened…..

Shabbat Shalom

 

 

Weekly Torah Commentary – Beresheit October 13, 2017

Welcome to a new year of Torah learning.  We completed the Hebrew year of 5777 and have now embarked on the year 5778 on the Hebrew calendar which means we start over at the very beginning of the Bible, the first book, Genesis or Bresheit in Hebrew.

Torah reading this week = Genesis 1:1 – 6:8

Haftorah reading this week = Isaiah 42:4 – 43:10

Adam and Eve – the first human beings created by God and placed in a magnificent garden with everything they could ever desire and then some.  There was no lack of food and as the earth was perfect then, everything would have had the most exquisite taste and texture.

EveAdam

Yet as we know so well, they sinned and humanity has felt the results ever since.  Normally we describe their sin as disobedience for after all, God had clearly told them not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The serpent came along, tempted Eve, she ate and then gave some to Adam and he ate as well.

But let’s take a closer look for a moment, shall we?  Yes, of course, they disobeyed the direct command of God.  But why? Was it really just about an attractive, perhaps fragrant, fruit?  Really?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’  Genesis 3: 1-5

Look at that again carefully and think with me.  Adam and Eve had everything in that garden that they could ever want, desire or imagine.  It was an absolutely perfect place.

Yet the serpent – devious as he was – tempted Eve with the ONE thing that she and Adam did not have and never could have.  Look at it again.

The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God...’ 

Do you see it? The serpent went after the only thing he could use to stir up jealousy and envy in Eve.  The one thing that she and Adam could never be: equal to God.

We shouldn’t be surprised for do we not read in Isaiah that this same serpent who was once a magnificent cherub in the heavens thought in his heart: ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’  Isaiah 14:13-14

Satan’s attempt to become equal with God was his eternal downfall. Seeing the sweet fellowship that Adam and Eve enjoyed with God as they walked together in the cool of the evening, that serpent was jealous, insanely jealous.  He therefore decided to tempt them with the very sin that had caused his own expulsion from the heavens.

But it was a lie – a dastardly, heinous lie – and resulted in their expulsion from the Garden, just as he was cast out of the heavens.  Yet have we not continued through the generations to repeat Eve’s regrettable sin? In various ways, we have all sought in one way or another to be ‘our own god’.  Does that sound harsh? Well, it is a bit yet it’s the truth.  Every time you or I have violated God’s commandments, what we are doing is choosing our own will and way instead of His which is exactly what Eve did and persuaded Adam to do as well.

It’s not politically correct nowadays to talk about ‘sin’.  People don’t like to hear that. However, sin is still sin whether you talk about it or not. Whatever the specific action or behavior involved, in one way or another, sin happens when I choose to be ‘my own god’ in opposition to the ways and the Word of the Almighty God of the Universe, our Heavenly Father.

In Tune with Torah this week = as we begin a new year of study in Torah, our very first lesson is this: God is God and we are not!  He created you, knew you even before you were in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139), has a perfect plan for your life (Jeremiah 29) and loves you with an unconditional love.  The only rational response to such love is to embrace His Word and His ways, to repent when we miss it, pick ourselves up and go on to do better the next time.  I dare say that the devil is not our biggest enemy; our stubborn self-will is.

Shabbat Shalom

 

 

Weekly Torah Commentary – Oct. 6, 2017 Shabbat Sukkot

Torah reading: Exodus 33:12 – 34:26

Haftorah reading: Ezekiel 38:18 – 39:16

Special reading:  the Book of Ecclesiastes

This week’s Haftorah details the prophecy about the war of Gog and Magog which will occur in Israel at the end of days.  Commentaries on this particular passage abound and offer various insights into this war to come.

Our purpose here is not to engage in biblical analysis or debate but to find inspiration that will make a difference in our daily walk with God.  To that end I want to focus on what is to me the most important verse in the entire narrative.  Here it is in two translations:

I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD.  Ezek. 38:23  NASB

In this way I will show My greatness and holiness, and I will make Myself known to all the nations of the world.  Then they will know that I am the LORD.  Ezek. 38:23 NLT

presenceofGod

From the beginning, God has desired that we should know Him and have a personal relationship with Him. He is not an abstract God, nor is He aloof and withdrawn but rather, He is directly and purposely involved in His creation and in particular in the lives of those who follow Him.  He wants to be known by us.

The presence of God in the Tabernacle was central to the life, organization, and governance of Israel. In fact, the organization of Israel’s camp demonstrated this. Both in the order of the camp and while Israel traversed the desert, the tabernacle was central, just as God was central to the very heart of the nation.

Moses continually labored to teach the people how to live in a proper and meaningful relationship with God.  His passion to ready them for the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham – entry into the Land of Israel – was unwavering. To his dying day, he urged, exhorted and challenged them to walk in holiness with the God who called them, delivered them and led them to their Promised Land.

His presence was also seen by them in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  God went out of His way to convince the children of Israel that His presence was in their midst.

How timely this message is – we are this very week observing the Feast of Tabernacles, the celebration of God’s presence among us.  There is a major difference between saying “God is everywhere” and “God is here”.  At the heart of the feast of Tabernacles is the truth that “God is HERE” – He is with us, He is always with us, He never leaves us nor forsakes us.  The question is: Do we pay attention to His presence with us? Or do we by and large ignore the fact that He really and truly IS here, wherever you are at any time day or night?

Mystics and godly men and women throughout the ages have testified to the awareness of His presence and exhorted us to seek His presence.  How do we do that?

Let’s make it really simple: a person in love doesn’t have to be coaxed to desire the presence of the one they love.  They long for it, yearn for it, and do whatever it takes to be ‘IN’ the presence of their beloved.  Love is the key.

The greatest commandment is this one: You shall LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your resources.  Deut. 6:5  I love the way the Message Bible renders this verse: Love God, your God, with your whole heart; love Him with all that is in you, love Him with all you’ve got!

So the question is not: how do we seek His presence?

The real question is: how much do I love God?  The degree of my love for Him will dictate the measure of my desire to spend time with Him. 

In Tune with Torah this week = We humans have an incredible ability to make time for what we really want to do.

Honestly…ask yourself : how much do I really, really love God for Himself?

How much do I really, really want to know Him?

Am I more enamored with my ‘religious practices’ than with the God that they are supposed to exalt?

Or am I truly enamored with HIM?

Shabbat Shalom

Weekly Torah Commentary – Yom Kippur September 30, 2017

Torah Reading: Leviticus 16: 1-34 & Numbers 29:7-11

Haftorah Reading:  Isaiah 57:14 – 58:14, Jonah 1:1 – 4:11, Micah 7: 18-20

At first glance you may well be saying, ‘Whew, that’s a lot to read!’  Yes it is.  We’ll not try to tackle all of that in one post!  So here’s what caught my attention this week as I read through all these verses.

YomKippur

 

The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: ‘I live in the high and holy place and with those whose spirits are contrite and humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.  Isaiah 57:15

Key words: contrite and humble – two aspects of ‘those with repentant hearts.’ What do those words really mean?

A person who is ‘contrite’ has a genuine sense of remorse or sorrow over what they’ve done and a desire to make it right.  This goes far deeper than a casual ‘I’m sorry.’  To be contrite means, for example, that if I have spoken harshly to someone and wounded them, I not only apologize with sincerity but go out of my way to re-affirm my respect for them.  To be contrite, therefore, includes action or behavior that outwardly expresses my inner regret.

Humility has been defined in a variety of ways, one of my favorite ones being ‘the quality of rightly evaluating your strengths as gifts of God and not of your own making.’  Humility is the total opposite of the ‘Me first’ attitude.  Humility causes us to see and value the worth of all of God’s people and to go ‘the second mile’ in our service to others.  In a nutshell, a humble person puts God and others ahead of his own selfish interests.  Thus the book of Proverbs admonishes us:  When pride comes, then comes dishonor but with the humble is wisdom. 11:2-3  And again, Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life. (22:4)

Considered in Judaism as the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – is observed with fasting and prayer at the end of a month long period of repentance.  This is the annual season of stepping back from our busy lives a bit and reviewing our life for the past year.  How have we failed in our walk with God? What progress have we made? Where do we need to press in and grow stronger in His service in the days ahead?

It is also important to recognize that this is specifically called the Day of ATONEMENT, not the day of Forgiveness, though we do pray for forgiveness on the day of atonement.  But there is a difference between forgiveness and atonement.  The Scriptures make abundantly clear that whenever we repent and turn to God, He forgives us – all through the year, not just on this day.

Atonement is a little different.  Think of it this way.  If I visit your home and you have a white carpet on which I spill a glass of purple grape juice, you may get rather upset but if I apologize and ask you to forgive me, you will because we’re friends.  However, the purple stain is still on the white rug.  Atonement is made when I ask you for a rag and rug cleaner and I get down on my hands and knees to remove the stain.  Atonement is repairing the damage done by the offense committed.

Sin damages our relationship with our Heavenly Father, whether we sin by commission or omission.  When we recognize our sin and repent, asking forgiveness, He forgives.  Making atonement for that sin is when we repair the damage by re-focusing our priorities on our relationship with Him and putting our own interests in the subordinate place.

It is written in Leviticus 16:30 that the LORD says, ‘On that day [Yom Kippur] offerings of purification will be made for you and you will be purified in the LORD’s presence from all your sins.’   I especially like the way this verse is translated in the TLV translation: ‘For on this day, atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you.  From all your sins, you will be clean before Adonai.’

To be forgiven is one of the greatest gifts we can receive. To be forgiven AND atoned for is even greater!  Every sin has its consequence.  If a spouse or friend betrays you, you may forgive them but the trust between you is broken.  That’s the consequence.  To repeat: Atonement is about repairing the consequence of our sins.  We are not always able to do that for ourselves and even we do, our efforts may fall short.

The good news of Yom Kippur is that God Himself has promised to make atonement on our behalf…and He has and He does.  For that He deserves our eternal gratitude and love.

In Tune with Torah this week = May the words of Micah the prophet which are read during the Yom Kippur service, be more meaningful to you at this time than ever before and may the love of God for you become more and more real to you today and in the days ahead.  Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of His special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because You delight in showing unfailing love. Once again You will have compassion on us.  You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us Your faithfulness and unfailing love as You promised to our ancestors, Abraham and Jacob, long ago.  Micah 7: 18-20

May all of our names be written in the Book of Life.

Weekly Torah Commentary. – Ha’azinu September 23, 2017

Torah reading: Deuteronomy 32

Haftorah reading: II Samuel 22: 1-51

David’s song of thanksgiving in this week’s haftorah is almost identical to Psalm 18.  It celebrates the victory God has give him over his enemies.

David says of the LORD: He is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer as well as my shield and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, my refuge and my savior.

Wow! Is the LORD all of that to you today?  He is no respecter of persons, the Bible says.  That means that God doesn’t play favorites. What He was to David, He will be to you…if you let Him!

Notice that David’s relationship with the LORD is intensely personal. He says MY rock, not a rock. He calls the LORD MY tower, MY strength, MY shield and MY deliverer. To David the LORD God wasn’t just ‘a’ tower or ‘a’ hiding place or ‘a shield’ but MY shield and so on.

Without a strong, intensely personal relationship with the LORD, we are left only with religion – rituals, lists of do’s & don’ts, but empty of a living relationship.

Keep in mind that David did not spend years in a high class seminary or yeshiva. He was not highly educated at the feet of a great Rabbi. David was a shepherd, but oh, what a shepherd! As a mere teenager, he spent hours, days alone with the sheep and His God, developing a relationship with the Almighty which was founded not on great intellectual learning but on humble faith and prayer; in other words, David spent time meditating, focusing on the LORD and became His friend. That was David’s secret.

Great learning can fill your mind with much knowledge about God; time spent in His presence will fill you with Him!

In Tune with Torah this week: as we begin a new Hebrew year, 5778, let us determine to KNOW the LORD, not just about Him, but let us press in to know Him!

Shabbat Shalom

Weekly Torah Commentary – 9/15/ 2017 Nitzavim-Vayelech

Torah reading: Deut. 29:9 – 31:30  (a double portion)

Haftorah reading: Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62: 1-5

This is a familiar passage to many but this week I’d like to focus on two unusual names that are in these verses for they – by themselves – have a message for us.  They are Hephzibah and Beulah.  Now, you may be thinking, what in the world do those names have to do with us?  And what parent gives such odd names to their daughters?

Hephzibah           Beulah

I’ve never met any woman with the name Hephzibah yet its meaning is beautiful: my joy is in her.  In this portion of Isaiah, God is telling the people of Israel through the prophet that though they were once rejected, they will afterward be called Hephzibah; in other words, God will find joy in them again, they will be precious, delightful and pleasing in His sight.

So we need to ask: why were they rejected and how will they become precious and delightful to the LORD again?

Earlier in Isaiah, the prophet reminds the people that God is ‘your husband’.  Therefore their sins against Him have grieved His heart and put a strain between Him and His people.  In fact, the prophet Jeremiah declares in the name of the LORD: I thought,’After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return and her faithless sister, Judah, saw this.  She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery.  Jeremiah 3:7-8  Imagine that! God says He divorced his unfaithful spouse, Israel! How was this to be remedied?

The answer was not another sacrifice for if you read the Torah carefully you quickly see that no sacrifice in and of itself erased sin; true repentance elicits God’s forgiveness and the sacrifices offered for sin under the Mosaic Covenant only had value as representations of a repentant heart.  We could go further with the analogy and say that in a manner of speaking, all sin falls under the umbrella of ‘adultery’.  That’s not my idea.  Jeremiah declares it:  I have seen your adulteries [says the LORD] and your lustful neighings, the lewdness of your prostitution on the hills in the field.  I have seen your abominations.  Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean? Jer, 13:27

Sin caused an alienation between God and Israel.  Yet all is not lost. Repentance is the path to restoration and God promises that if they turn back to Him, they will no longer be rejected but once more considered precious in His sight.

This is true on a personal as well as a national level. Of late it has become unfashionable to speak of SIN.  Political correctness has generated all manner of excuses, rationalizations and justifications for behaviors that clearly disagree with the inviolable Word of God.  Unless you call it for what it is – SIN – you have no route to restoration.  We repent for SIN, receive God’s forgiveness and our relationship with Him is restored.  If you choose instead to sugar coat ungodly behavior then you eliminate the need for repentance – a very dangerous position.

I may not be enamored of the name Hephzibah, but I sure want to be a ‘Hephzibah’ – a person precious and delightful to the LORD, someone of whom He could say ‘My joy is in her’.  Don’t you want the same for yourself?

The name Beulah means ‘married’. Marriage for a woman in bible times was more than just the norm – it was a necessity. Fail to marry, and you had no children, no income, no protection, no honor.

The story is told of a farmer who had seven daughters; six of them were lovely but the seventh was very homely.  There was nothing attractive about her appearance and she was therefore shy, lacked confidence and wallowed in her misery.  One day a very eligible bachelor came to the farmer asking for permission to court one of his daughters. The farmer was excited because the young man came from a prominent family that owned lands and wealth.  Besides that he was handsome and kind.

The farmer gathered his six daughters – the pretty ones – and brought them before the bachelor.  He looked at each one and was impressed with their intelligence and their beauty yet he didn’t choose any of them.  He turned to the farmer and said, ‘Don’t you have another daughter?’

Awkwardly, the farmer nodded in agreement.  ‘Bring her here,’ asked the bachelor.  A few moments later, the ‘ugly duckling’ of the family emerged, dressed very plainly, head bowed, eyes on the floor, her hair unkempt.  The bachelor stepped closer to her, lifted her chin and looked into her eyes for a few moments.  Then he stepped back and said to the farmer, ‘With your permission, I would like to court this one of your daughters.’ Her sisters were aghast and couldn’t understand how the young man would choose their sister over any of them.

Not long afterward, the bachelor came to see the farmer again, this time to ask permission to marry the farmer’s ‘unattractive’ daughter. He loved her and was willing to accept her just the way she was, he declared.

A year later, the ‘ugly duckling’ was no longer ‘ugly’ but had blossomed into a beautiful person, inside and out.  What changed her? The unconditional love of her spouse.

Need I say more?

In Tune with Torah this week = It could be said that the greatest need of every man and woman on the face of the earth is to learn and experience the unconditional love of God.

The story of God’s relationship with Israel is a love story.   I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you to Myself.  Jeremiah 31:3

Jer.31

Hephzibah and Beulah say to us: Without a relationship with our Father, our King, our Husband, we are all ‘ugly ducklings’.  It is His love, His kindness, His lavish grace poured out generously in our lives that make us lovely, delightful, attractive, from the inside out.  That is the kind of person of whom God can say, ‘My joy is in him/her.’  May He be able to say that of all of us.

Shabbat Shalom

 

 

 

Weekly Torah Commentary – Ki Tavo September 8, 2017

Torah reading:  Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:8

Haftorah reading:  Isaiah 60: 1-22

This section of Isaiah contains a few nuggets for our inspiration.  It opens with these words:

The Spirit of the LORD is upon me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.  To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for His own glory.  Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT

God raised up a prophet endowed with the Holy Spirit to bring a Word that transforms poverty into prosperity; a Word that restores broken hearts; a Word that unleashes the cage of incarcerated dreams and visions; a Word that gives perspective for vision and leadership within the discombobulated realities of post-exilic Jerusalem.

To Isaiah, love and service for the post-exilic Hebrew people were priority. Equipping the people to rebuild waste places and regaining beauty for ashes were more important to the prophet than building his own ministry.

Divine callings are validated by our willingness to submit to the Spirit that has appointed and anointed us for the particular work to which God has called us.  Isaiah, surrounded by broken communities and fear; beauty trampled into ashes; years of hard labor smashed in a little time, announces with the confidence of one who knows his calling, that the Spirit of the LORD has sent him to lift up the downcast.

This was a risky declaration. Conditions were not good in Jerusalem at that time but Isaiah does what no president, prime minister or politician could do.  He brings the hope that the people needed. How? Because the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he obeyed the prompting.

powerofone

 

This Word from God came at a time when the people felt that they were forgotten, unloved and abandoned. The message of the prophet assured Israel that God still loves and favors the abandoned.

The very same Word that spoke order in the middle of chaos in Genesis 1 is the same Word that filled the mouth of the prophet. There is something incredible that happens when the Spirit of God shows up.

  • The Spirit brings a Word to solve problems;
  • The Spirit brings a Word to undo predicaments and heal pains;
  • The Spirit comes with a Word that transforms lives and communities;
  • The Spirit comes with a Word to resolve and restoration;
  • The Spirit comes with a Word to change and challenge;
  • The Spirit comes with a Word to rescue and reveal God’s power;
  • The Spirit comes with a vision and provision;
  • The Spirit brings a Word of hope and help.

The “good news” to the broken is restoration. The “good news” to the hurting is healing.

What does this passage have to do with us today?

You and I may not be anointed as ‘prophets’ but the same Spirit of the LORD that empowered Isaiah is the same Spirit of the LORD today.  There isn’t a different one!

In 1945, Alma Androzzo penned the words to the song, “If I can help somebody as I pass along; if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, If I can show somebody he is traveling wrong; Then my living shall not be in vain.”

It is high time that we jump off the political bandwagons and take our position as God’s people seriously.  You can help solve problems, comfort the hurting, encourage the lonely and change your community – yes YOU!  The power of ONE is immeasurable, and never greater than when you have been empowered by the Spirit of the LORD for a specific task.

At the end of the day, what matters most is that we recognize the power that we each have to affect change and that we all step forward in obedience to the Spirit of the LORD. If we each take this responsibility we become many and, in this context, one is no small number. So, next time you think of yourself as “just one person” remember what a powerful thing that is. Just because you’re one doesn’t mean you’re small – it means you’re one more person who can make a difference.

It may be the lovable toddler or the wayward teen, the grieving widow or the grateful man for whom all is well. Each person is an individual. Each has divine potential. And each must be spiritually nourished and temporally cared for with love, kindness, and individual attention.

In Tune with Torah this week = Child of God, you are not here by accident or happenstance. You have a specific purpose to fulfill for God’s glory.  Let no timidity, excuse or rationalization keep you from walking in the destiny to which you were born.

The Spirit of the LORD is your strength.

Shabbat Shalom