Watch: Parasha Ha’azinu 2022-23: Are We Listening in the Spirit?
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32, Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel), Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 1
Shalom, I am your host, Ulices Rodriguez. Welcome to this week’s Parasha Ha’azinu which means to give ear or to listen. As in to listen with intent to perceive by the ear.
This skill is so crucial for Yahweh’s people to develop because so much of our faith requires us to step out not based on what we see but on what we hear in the Spirit. Elohim is spirit and He made us in His image after His likeness. If we desire to connect deeper with Him and better understand the purpose He has for our life, we need to think in a spiritual way. We need to denounce our flesh and its desires, focus, and quiet our mind so that we may better listen and hear in the spirit.
What happens in the natural world is often a reflection of what is going on in the spiritual world. Before there was Heaven and earth as we know it, there was Elohim. And His Spirit spoke everything into existence. His Spirit hovered over the face of the waters. The very essence of life is found in His Spirit. Apart from His Spirit, nothing is alive. We all suffer from a terminal illness called sin and it is only when we come into right relationship with Yahweh (through His Son Yeshua) that we were given the cure to this illness.
John chapter 5 verse 24 says “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life”.
Yochanan (John) 5:24
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
With this, we see that it is about listening and believing what we have heard, not just what we have seen. No-one has seen Elohim face to face and lived, but in one way, shape, or form, we have heard Yahweh speaking to us.
This is also how Yahweh tests our faith. Because how many religious leaders heard what Yeshua said, saw the miracles, and still chose not to Ha’azinu?
How many people throughout history have heard or read the words of Yeshua, but never saw the miracles themselves, and yet still chose to Ha’azinu? They listened with intent for Elohim’s guidance and direction. They walked not by sight but by faith. This is what Yahweh desires for all of us. Things in the natural world can be deceiving but when we stop to quiet our mind and focus on listening for Yahweh’s guidance and direction, we can live a life where we do not walk by sight but by faith. So please join me as we study Yahweh’s word.
In our Torah portion this week starting in Devarim chapter 32 and in verse 1, we see that same word Ha’azinu. Yahweh is telling His people to listen with intent and to diligently listen for His voice.
In this chapter, Yahweh is speaking through Moshe and recounting the history of the world to His people. Notice in verse 2 that Yahweh counts His speech like the dew or the rain that falls on the tender herbs and grass. Meaning there is life in the words of Elohim.
Notice what Elijah says to King Ahab of Israel in First Kings chapter 17 and verse 1. “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, As Yahweh the Elohim of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 17:1
1 “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, As Yahweh Elohim of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
There is nourishment in the words of Elohim because the rain is nourishment and sustains life for the herbs and grasses of the field. If we desire to even have food to eat, then it all depends on the words that proceeds from Elohim’s mouth. He can cause a drought or cause rain to fall upon our land to sustain us in this natural world.
Just like Yeshua told Satan in the wilderness; “Man shall not live by bread and bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Elohim”.
Mattityahu (Mathew) 4:4
4 “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Elohim.”
We must listen for Yahweh’s voice. We must treat His words as the life-sustaining material that they are. Oh yes, it is not fun that any of us would have to skip a meal because we lack the money to be able to feed ourselves or because there is a severe drought as the example given with the story of Elijah. As long as we are rich in faith, Yahweh will sustain us just as Yahweh sustained the life of Elijah by commanding the ravens to feed him and just like Yahweh sustained the widow who fed Elijah even though she only had enough flour and oil to feed herself and her son.
Let us take a look at what it says in verse 14 of First Kings chapter 17. “For thus says Yahweh the Elohim of Israel: The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day Yahweh sends rain on the earth.”
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 17:14
14 “For thus says Yahweh Elohim of Israel: The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day Yahweh sends rain on the earth.”
Then we see that the woman heard the words of Elohim being spoken through His servant Elijah and she obeyed. She was ha’azinu. She gave ear to what Yahweh had to say. She listened with intent. The intent to obey. The intent and understanding (through faith) that Yahweh could provide and sustain her even if (in the natural world) things did not make sense.
So again I cannot stress how important it is for Yahweh’s people to develop the skill of listening for His voice. The very words of Elohim can cause the rain to fall which waters our fields and animals, which then provide food and nourishment for our bodies. Elohim’s very words can cause a drought to come upon our land to kill off our crops and animals, which then in turn kills us. With that in mind, we can see a direct reflection of what happens in the spiritual world and how it is manifested in the natural.
When we think of somebody in Scripture who shows a good example of what it means to listen and walk according to the Spirit, we have none other than King David. That is why I really wanted to focus on this week was David’s song in Second Samuel chapter 22. David sang this song on the day that Yahweh had rescued him from all his enemies and the former King Shaul.
The reason I like this song so much is because it shows how David waited on Yahweh in the midst of his persecution. To have this kind of humility and gracefulness in the midst of persecution really requires someone to be in tune with listening for Yahweh’s voice. It really requires someone to be in tune with the Spirit. David starts off by saying, “Yahweh is my Rock, my fortress and my deliverer”.
This shows us exactly what David thought of Yahweh. and if we do not have the same mindset, then how can we expect to have a true and intimate relationship with Elohim?
In verse 3, David says that Elohim saves him from violence.
Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 22:3
3 Yahweh of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.
We can see that David trusts in Yahweh to fight his battles. Should we not trust in Elohim to do the same for us?
If we remember, Shaul persecuted David. And a few times, David had the opportunity to take Shaul’s life. Yet, David spared him.
A few lessons that we can learn from this example are one, that David loved Shaul. Even if Shaul made himself David’s enemy and an enemy of Yahweh. David sought to put into practice what Yeshua said in Matthew Chapter 5 which is to “love your enemies and bless those who curse you and do good to those who hate you”.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:44
44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
Let us make no mistake, Shaul hated David.
The second lesson we can learn from David sparing Shaul’s life is that when Yahweh says vengeance belongs to Him, He means it.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:35
35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.
We must be careful when we are administering justice versus seeking revenge because generally, they are not the same.
In First Samuel chapter 24, David’s men tell him, look this is the day which Yahweh will deliver your enemy into your hand that you may do to him as it seems good to you. And so David snuck up on Shaul and cut off the corner of his robe, but David’s heart was troubled by this.
Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 24:4-5
4” Then the men of David said to him: This is the day of which Yahweh said to you, Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you. And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
5 Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe.”
If we have anger in our heart towards a brother and if we desire to kill our brother in our heart, that is no different than actual murder in Yahweh’s eyes. Revenge and Justice are two different things. Yahweh does not want us to desire to murder or kill anyone. He wants us to love each other as brother and sister. But there are times when we must administer justice. Justice involves capital punishment and sometimes putting people to death for their sin.
But generally speaking, Yahweh wants us to love one another as a brother loves another brother. This is what it means to love your enemies and to do good to those who hate you. And David modeled it very well.
David goes on to say in First Samuel 24 that Shaul is Yahweh’s anointed, and Yahweh forbid that he should raise his hand against His anointed one.
Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 24:6
6 “And he said to his men, Yahweh forbid that I should do this thing to my master, Yahweh’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of Yahweh.”
This lines up so well with Yeshua’s teachings. David turned the other cheek. He sought to repay evil with good and genuinely loved Shaul. He wanted to see Shaul returned back to Yahweh. A very natural and fleshly response would be to kill him who is trying to kill you.
Yet, David does not do this, and you might ask yourself why? It is because he is listening in the Spirit. He is listening for Yahweh’s voice to guide him and lead him.
This is what separates us as believers in a certain sense. King Shaul and King David were both men who were selected and anointed by Yahweh. Yet only one of them went on to have a lineage of Kings descend from them which eventually went on to produce our Messiah.
While Shaul was Yahweh’s anointed, he let the cares of the world and his flesh lead him to his downfall. When David sinned, he returned in humble repentance back to Yahweh. This is the difference that separates most believers.
We all sin. We all fall short of the glory of Elohim, but how many of us (when we sin and fall down) pick ourselves up and return to Yahweh in humble repentance? How many of us (when we sin and fall down) stay down and say to ourselves, “Well, I just cannot seem to stop sinning. This is who I am. This is who I will always be?”
This is why it is so critical for Yahweh’s people to develop the skill of listening in the Spirit and allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit. Because one, if we are open and sensitive to hearing the Spirit, then even if we fall short in sin, we will be more willing to turn back to Yahweh. As opposed to rejecting and becoming numb to the Spirit.
When we sin, we fall away, and we become backslidden believers to a degree. For example, King Shaul was not a non-believer, but he was definitely backslidden. He did not listen to the guidance and counsel that Samuel tried to give him. Even after Samuel died, Shaul sought to resurrect his dead spirit so that he may ask of his advice. And this is something that is strictly forbidden in the Torah. Shaul was desperate at this point in his life to find answers to his problems. However, he is not choosing to trust in Elohim the way that David is. He is choosing to handle things according to his own understanding and wisdom. And that is the root cause of Shaul’s downfall, his pride.
David says in verse 7 in Second Samuel, “In my distress I called upon Yahweh, and cried out to my Elohim; He heard my voice from His temple and my cry entered His ears”.
Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 22:7
7 “In my distress I called upon Yahweh, and cried out to my Elohim; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears.”
Nobody calls out to Elohim in a state of proud rebellion. Only when we are humbled do we call out to Elohim in this manner. In verse 28 David says, “You will save the humble people; but Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down”.
Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 22:28
28 You will save the humble people; But Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down.
Let us look at what Peter writes in his letter. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of Elohim, that He may exalt you in due time.”
Kepha Aleph (1Peter) 5:6
6 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of Elohim, that He may exalt you in due time.”
David understood this principle. In due time, if we are humble and patient, Yahweh will exalt us. We must not become proud to take vengeance upon our own hands because we do not know what our actions might lead to.
Right now, you might be suffering persecution in your workplace, in your home with your family, or wherever it might be, and you might feel that you need to enact revenge. But what good is that and what is that going to bring you? When David spared Shaul’s life, David demonstrated Yahweh’s love for all of us.
When Yeshua was crucified, He did not seek to enact revenge. Rather, He demonstrated Elohim’s love for us.
If every time we had an impure thought or committed whatever various type of sin, if Yahweh did not indeed love us and desire for all of us to seek repentance unto life, then He would just wipe us all out. Yet, He is patient, kind, and loving. He gives opportunity after opportunity to repent and turn back to Him.
And so I ask, why do we have such a hard time doing this within the body of Messiah? Why do we not love one another as Messiah has loved us?
In verses 20-25 we read, “He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. Yahweh rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of Yahweh, and have not wickedly departed from my Elohim. For all His judgments were before me; and as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore Yahweh recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanliness in His eyes”.
Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 22:20-25
20 He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.
21 Yahweh rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands
He has recompensed me.
22 For I have kept the ways of Yahweh, and have not wickedly departed from my Elohim.
23 For all His judgments were before me; and as for His statutes, I did not depart from them.
24 I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity.
25 Therefore Yahweh has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness in His eyes.
With this we can see that Yahweh delights in us when we are seeking to be perfect as He is perfect. Yahweh delights in us when we are seeking to obey all His written commands and when we are seeking to diligently obey His voice. This is something that Shaul did not do. This is something that our ancestors did not do as well. This is also something we do not do in general as the body of Messiah.
This is why we are where we are at in the world. This is why the body of Messiah is as fragmented as it is. Because if we are all being led by Yahweh’s Spirit (in His truth according to His will), then why are there so many different denominations of the faith? Why do we not come together united under one faith, one doctrine in Messiah Yeshua?
In verse 38 through 42 we read “I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them; neither did I turn it back again till they were destroyed and I have destroyed them and wounded them so that they could not rise, they have fallen under my feet. For You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued under me those who rose against me. You have also given me the necks of my enemies, so that I destroyed those who hated me. They looked, but there was none to save; even to Yahweh, but He did not answer them.”
Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 22:38-42
38 “I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them; neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed.
39 And I have destroyed them and wounded them, so that they could not rise; they have fallen under my feet.
40 For You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued under me those who rose against me.
41 You have also given me the necks of my enemies, so that I destroyed those who hated me.
42 They looked, but there was none to save; Even to Yahweh, but He did not answer them.
What we can see here is that if we put our faith and trust in Yahweh, eventually Yahweh will give us the victory. Eventually every wrong will be made right. He will fix every injustice. And what greater victory is there than that of the kingdom of heaven? We know people who hate their brothers but claim to love Elohim do not have the truth in them. The love of the Father is not in them. If you are being persecuted for your faith, for righteousness sake, for Yeshua’s namesake, rest assured that those who hate you and are persecuting you, Yahweh will give you the victory over them one day. If you run the race faithfully to the end, you will inherit the kingdom of heaven. If your enemy dies unrepentant, then there is only one place they will be going after this life here.
That is the greatest victory we can hope to achieve. That is what it means to prevail in Yahweh. We let Yahweh fight our battles. We let Yahweh avenge us.
In Matthew Chapter 5 Yeshua tells us, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:12
12 “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
When we are friends with Elohim, we are naturally going to be enemies to the world. The world will try to persecute us and tear us down, but we must continue to fight the good fight of faith. Press on no matter what and not lose heart.
As we move on to our B’rit Chadashah portion in First Corinthians chapter 1, we see that there is some division in the body of Messiah. Even as early as the first century, Messiah’s body was struggling with division. Let us read what it says in verse 10.
“Now I plead with you brethren, by the name of our Master Yeshua Messiah that you all speak the same thing, that there be no division among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 1:10
10 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Master Yeshua HaMashiach, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
How are we to be joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment if we are not all listening and walking according to the Spirit’s guidance?
In verse 12, Shaul writes “Now I say this, that each of you says, I am of Shaul, I am of Apollos, or I am of Cephas, or I am of Messiah”.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 1:12
12 “Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Mashiach.”
This is the same problem we have today. Because nobody is seeking to be conformed by the Spirit. We are not seeking to submit to Yahweh’s authority and let Him lead and guide us. We all argue amongst each other like a bunch of little children. This is why we are divided. We should all be united as one in Messiah Yeshua.
We should not be saying, “Well, they belong to that nomination, and this is my denomination”, “They belong to that ministry, and this is our ministry”.
This is not what Yeshua intended for us. The problems we face today are the same problems that Shaul (in the first century faith) faced back then. Let us look at what Shaul writes.
“For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Messiah crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Messiah the power of Elohim and the wisdom of Elohim. Because the foolishness of Elohim is wiser than men, and the weakness of Elohim is stronger than men.”
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 1:22-25
22 “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
23 but we preach Mashiach crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Mashiach the power of Elohim and the wisdom of Elohim.
25 Because the foolishness of Elohim is wiser than men, and the weakness of Elohim is stronger than men.”
So today, our Jewish brothers and sisters still want a sign proving that Yeshua is the prophesied Messiah. In their mind, the Messiah is someone who will physically make Israel into a great kingdom and rule the world in that way, which is not totally off base from what the Scriptures say about Yeshua. The problem for our Jewish brothers and sisters is that they cannot seem to connect in the Spirit to Yahweh.
Because of that, they are missing out on Yahweh’s call to action and are trying to put into motion their own plan. They have no problem with the call to action, but they cannot seem to listen in the spirit due to their own pride.
This is why Shaul writes that it is a stumbling block for them to believe on a Messiah that was crucified for our sin.
For the Greeks (since much of Greco-Roman culture and philosophy has bled its way into the body of Messiah through Christianity), wisdom and knowledge are the stumbling blocks for us. Because we have no problem seeking to learn more about the mysteries of the Scriptures. Yet, we cannot seem to respond to the call to action. Because Yeshua dying on the cross is the call to action. That is the sacrificial love. That is laying down your life in service to the great King of the universe.
For us today, that seems so foolish because we are comfortable reading the Scriptures from the warm seat of our home and thinking to ourselves, “Well, Yeshua did it all for us. There is no need for us to give up our lives. That would be considered bondage and laying a heavy yoke upon our neck”.
Yet, this is not what Yeshua says, He says His yoke is light and not burdensome. It is only burdensome if we love the things of the world, then yeah it makes sense why keeping the Torah and organizing ourselves as a united nation in Messiah would seem like such a burden.
It is so much easier to obtain knowledge and wisdom according to the flesh than it is to believe in the simple things like listening and obeying Yahweh’s voice.
If all we do is occasionally help the poor, read our Scriptures, and memorize a few verses, then we think we are great disciples and we shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. But is this the will of the Father for us? Let us look at what Yeshua says in Matthew chapter 7.
“Not everyone who says to Me, Master, Master shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (or Toralessness)!”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
Those are some pretty scary words from Yeshua; words that I do not ever want to hear. Let us take a look at what the Greek word that is used for lawlessness.
“anomia” (ἀνομία, ας, ἡ) G458
Original Word: ἀνομία, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (an-om-ee’-ah)
Usage: lawlessness, iniquity, disobedience, sin
[Strong’s Greek Concordance]
The Greek word used is anomia which means lawlessness, iniquity, disobedience, and sin. Sin is disobedience to the Torah. It is disobedience to Yahweh’s commands. What we can understand from Yeshua’s words are: we may love Yahweh, we may love Yeshua, and we may even be permitted to do signs, wonders, prophesy, and cast out demons in His name, but if we are not walking according to Yahweh’s will, then He does not know us. Yeshua does not know us. So, we must not let ourselves be puffed up in the pride of knowledge or seeking signs because even if we keep Torah, but we are not walking according to the Father’s will, He still does not know us.
This is why I cannot stress it enough that we must learn to listen in the Spirit and obey Yahweh’s voice. Because He will lead us correctly. He will not abandon us. In these end times, we need to be more sensitive to listening in the Spirit. Because the enemy wanders around like a lion seeking to devour us.
It is great that we want to learn all we can about Scripture. It is great that we want to sit, read, and expand our wisdom and knowledge. But what does any of that do to grow the kingdom? Are we putting that wisdom and knowledge into action? Are we demonstrating our faith through our works?
If Yahweh’s will is that we listen and obey His Son Yeshua (with whom He is well pleased), and His son has commanded us to lay down our lives in service to Him by going forth and making disciples in all nations, then what are we currently doing to work towards that goal?
So I ask, does the church system we have today look like the one from the Book of Acts? Are we united as one in Messiah Yeshua under a single doctrine and statement of faith? If Yeshua was called a Nazarene and Shaul was called a Nazarene, why do the majority of believers call themselves Christians? Is this the faith that Yeshua delivered to the Saints once and for all?
Brothers and sisters, we must open our eyes to the truth and, more importantly, we must open our ears to the truth and let Yahweh’s voice lead and guide us.