Shemote (Exodus) 13:17-17:16, Shophetim (Judges) 4-5, Luqa (Matthew) 5
Shabbat Shalom and welcome to this week’s Parasha B’shalach. I am your host, Ulices Rodriguez. This week’s parasha is titled ‘Yahweh Delivers’ because, as we will go through the study, we will see all the various ways that Yahweh is faithful even when we are not. We will also see how Yahweh never stops being His people’s savior. A brief overview of this parasha and we will see how Yahweh uses our trials and even our rebellion for His greater glory and purpose. And we will see the parallels between the children of Israel then and the body of Mashiach now.
We will also see that Yahweh is loving, merciful, and provides for His children, but He still expects His children to be disciplined. He still expects us to behave as if we are part of His house.
In the beginning of this parasha in chapter 13, we see that Yahweh decides to lead the children of Israel through the wilderness. This is happening so that they do not encounter war with the Philistines and thus end up returning back to Mitsrayim (Egypt). I consider this the process of sanctification because (in one sense) the children of Israel are brand-new to keeping faith with Yahweh. They have a history with Avraham, Yitzak, and Ya’akov. But as a people group, as a nation, and as a unified body, they are pretty much brand-new believers. And so Yahweh does not want them to come right out of Egypt, go to war with the Philistines, and thus when it becomes difficult, they desire to return back to their old way of living. We will break this down as we go through this study.
We also see that Yahweh leads the children of Israel out by pillar of a cloud during the day and in a pillar of fire by night. I equate this to a personal relationship with Yahweh. Because Yahweh is manifesting Himself here. He is choosing to manifest Himself however He wants so that He could be closer to His people. (Again, we will break all that down as we go through.) And we also see that He leads them out in orderly ranks indicating to me that Yahweh is a man of structure. He is an Elohim of structure, so this equates to spiritual and military discipline. And we will break all that down as we go through the study.
So we see this process of sanctification is a process that every believer must go through. One way that we can think about it is as a type of spiritual boot camp. Which is meant to break us down of who we used to be in the flesh in order to raise us up into a new creation in the Spirit.
For those of us who have been in the military (I myself served four years in the Navy); when you are enlisting into an organization like the US Military, you are going from being a civilian to (in my case) a U.S sailor. As you go from a civilian and you are enlisting in this organization, this organization has its own set of rules, its own way of talking, thinking, the way to dress, everything.
So when we become believers in Yeshua, when we come into the faith in Yeshua and we come in the faith with Yahweh in relationship with Yahweh, we go from being dead in our sin in the world to a new creation in Yeshua. And just as a boot camp takes however long (however many weeks or months), it is the same thing for us in this process of sanctification. Only it takes the duration of our entire life. We have three verses that will to expand on this.
First, let us read First Peter (Kepha Aleph).
Kepha Aleph (1 Peter) 2:1-3
1 “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
3 if indeed you have tasted that Yahweh is gracious.”
We see that Kepha is saying, as newborn children, when you are brand new to this life, when we go from dead in our sin to a brand-new creation, when we are brand new in the faith, we are just as newborn babies are utterly dependent on their mother’s milk.
I have a newborn child. She is three months old, and she is completely dependent upon her mother’s milk. This is how we are to be with Yahweh’s word. This is why Yeshua said that a man shall not live by bread and bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Elohim.
And we come into this idea as we grow in this process of sanctification. Because we understand that Yahweh is gracious, because He is loving, because He is merciful.
We see also in First Timothy (Timotheus Aleph) that Shaul is speaking here.
Timotheus Aleph (1 Timothy) 4:7
7 “But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward righteousness.”
Again, just like we witnessed in the previous verse with Kepha. He is saying to lay aside all malice, all the hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking. Everything in that past, everything that belongs to the world. We see the Shaul is essentially saying the same thing; reject profane and old wise fables (or reject profane and silly myths) and walk in this new creation. Exercise yourself towards piety, towards devotion to Elohim in all aspects of our lives.”
An example of a silly myth that I have often heard before is that Elohim helps those who help themselves. Now this does not exist in Scripture. You are not going to find it in Scripture. And so it is one of those things that we learn when we grow up either in the Church or wherever we grow up. We have these understandings, these ideas of what we have been told throughout our entire life that just do not hold up to Scripture, but yet so many of us hold on to these things and we do not exercise ourselves towards this devotion to Elohim.
That is why Kepha said in the previous verse to, as newborn children, desire the pure milk of the word so that we may grow in the word. And we go from being newborn children to full-grown adults who then can turn around and help others in the faith.
Let us read Philippians chapter 3 verses 12-14.
Philipim (Philippians) 3:12-14
12 “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Mashiach Yeshua has also laid hold of me.
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of Elohim in Mashiach Yeshua.”
Shaul is saying that he has not attained perfection. He is not perfected on this side of eternity, but he continues to press forward. He continues to press on. He continues to press towards the goal of perfecting himself in Elohim and building Yeshua’s kingdom.
This is this process of sanctification that takes place over our lifetime. We cannot expect to have it all figured out here on this side of eternity. We cannot expect to have it all figured out once we are a brand-new creation, once we are brand new to the faith. That just does not work that way. It is something that takes course over our entire life. And so now we see part of this process of sanctification is also having a personal relationship with Yahweh.
In Parasha B’shalach, we see that Yahweh is choosing to live amongst His people. He has always wanted to do so. We see that in the garden, He lived amongst Adam and Hav’vah. He manifested Himself in various ways to Avraham, Yitzak, and Ya’akov. And He manifests Himself in the form of a burning bush to Moshe. And here, for the children of Israel, He manifests Himself in the pillar of a cloud and in the pillar of fire. All of this I think is a foreshadow of how Yahweh would manifest Himself as Yeshua and live amongst us. Then later when Yeshua would ascend into heaven, Yeshua would send the Set-Apart Spirit to dwell on the inside of every believer.
We have two verses that attest to this.
Yochanan (John) 14:16-17
16 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever
17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
And so we see this notion here that Yahweh wants a personal relationship with us. Yeshua came and displayed what that personal relationship looks like; how we are supposed to interact with the Father. We also see that even after Yeshua ascended into heaven, Yahweh still wants to have a personal relationship with us. This is why Yeshua sent the Set-Apart Spirit. This is why Yahweh sent the Set-Apart Spirit and why only believers can receive the Set-Apart Spirit. Only believers can have the Set-Apart Spirit dwell within them because that means we are choosing to have this personal relationship with Him.
When we think about it, when Yeshua says the only sin that is unforgivable is when we blaspheme the Holy Spirit (or blaspheme the Set-Apart Spirit), it is because we are rejecting that personal relationship with Yahweh. And we see that in Tehillim or Psalm chapter 51 verse 11.
Tehillim (Psalm) 51:11
11 “Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Set-Apart Spirit from me.”
Sin separates us from Elohim. If we are willing to reject the Set-Apart Spirit dwelling on the inside of us, we are rejecting that personal relationship with Yahweh.
One example of this is king Saul. He was a man who loved Yahweh at the beginning when he was anointed. But for various reasons he let the people and his own pride separate him from Yahweh. He began to choose the things of his heart, the things that he wanted, the things that the people wanted, he chose that over his obedience to Elohim. Because he did so, Yahweh cast him away from His presence and took his Set-Apart Spirit from him and instead sent a spirit to torment him. That is not a place we want to be. This is why we must be very mindful to diligently listen for the voice of Elohim.
And when we are diligently listening for the voice of Elohim and developing that personal relationship with Him, it is all part of the process of sanctification; it takes a lifetime. Nobody figures it out overnight, but rest assured it is a process that takes over our lifetime. And as long as we are persistent in pursuing a relationship with Yahweh, He is faithful, and He will save us.
Another aspect in this process of sanctification is the spiritual and military discipline of Yahweh. Yahweh led the children of Israel out of Egypt in ranks ready and prepared for battle. We see that Yahweh is a man of war, just as Moshe wrote in the song. We also see that Yahweh is about order and structure. If that is the case, then that means for the body of Mashiach today, there is supposed to be structure, order, and discipline. And this is where it all comes back to the Torah.
In main mainstream Christian circles, the Torah (or the law) is often thought to have been nailed to the cross. However, this could not be further from the truth! Because the Torah is meant to expose the sin nature within us. It is meant to show us where we are lacking in our spiritual discipline. So if the Torah says not to consume pork and we are consuming pork, it is highlighting where we are going astray, where our spiritual discipline is lacking. Whatever the Torah says to do and not do, if we are doing the opposite of that, it is showcasing us where we were coming up short.
And so the spiritual and the military discipline that comes from Yahweh, it is meant to make us more like Yeshua because Yeshua was perfect. He kept the entire Torah perfectly so if we could keep the Torah perfectly of our own power, there would be no need for a Mashiach. We will see in these upcoming verses in Romans chapter 3 verse 20 and Romans chapter 6 verses 1 and 2 exactly what I am talking about, but we understand because of our corrupt bodies, our bodies of flesh on this side of eternity, we would never achieve this type of perfection that Yeshua did, but just because we cannot or would not, does not mean we should stop trying to achieve it. It does not mean we should stop trying to pursue it and we will get into all of that here in these couple verses.
In Romim (Romans) Shaul writes “Therefore by the deeds of the Torah no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Torah is the knowledge of sin.”
Romim (Romans) 3:20
20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Now, if we could keep the Torah perfectly within our own power, there would be no need for a Mashiach. For we would be the Mashiach. The Torah is not meant to save us. The Torah is meant to expose the sinful nature within us, and it is meant to point to a Mashiach (Savior). Because if I cannot keep the Torah perfectly, and if you cannot keep the Torah perfectly, then who can keep the Torah perfectly? Who can live up to the perfect standard of Elohim? There is only one who has been able to do that. There is only one who can do that and that is Yeshua!
The point of the Torah is to expose the sinful nature within us and show us where we are coming up short and show us why we need to depend on Yahweh and why we need to pursue a relationship with Him. And it is meant to expose us and point us to the Mashiach. And why it is all the more important to pursue a relationship with Yeshua.
Romim (Romans) 6:1-2
1 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
This is where I believe the spiritual discipline of Yahweh is often misunderstood, with the Torah NOT being ‘nailed to the cross’. Because Shaul is addressing this idea that we are under the grace of Elohim.
Yes, we are under His grace. Mankind has always been under His grace! Because Elohim’s standard is perfection! Once we come up short, once we profane the Torah, once we sin, all sin is disobedience to the Torah. When we are not keeping the Torah, whether in thought, whether in word, or action, when we come up short, we are immediately imperfect. We are immediately thrown into sin. We have separated ourselves from Elohim. We have defiled ourselves because we cannot perfectly keep it. We cannot keep that perfection.
This is why Yeshua is the Mashiach. But Shaul was asking the question, just because we are under the grace of Elohim, does that mean we should continue in sin? That way Yahweh’s grace may abound? He says, “Certainly not!” Because when we are a new creation, and we read the Torah, and we see where we are sinning, we see where we are lacking in our spiritual discipline and how it points to a Mashiach.
When we come into that right relationship with Yeshua, we are crossing over from being dead in our sin, dead in our flesh, and are being born again into new life with Yeshua. Therefore, we are dead to sin. Therefore, we should not be continuing in sin. And this is a very important lesson!
This is all part of Yahweh’s discipline. And we see that with the children of Israel when they are coming out of Egypt, (Mitsrayim). They spent 430 years in the land of Mitsrayim. It is natural that they probably developed many bad habits. Yahweh took them through the wilderness so that they would unlearn those bad habits and learn new ones in Elohim. They would be crossing over from slaves in Mitsrayim to a new creation with Yahweh.
We will discuss the crossing through the Reed (Red) Sea and the symbolism with water immersion (or baptism) as we continue through this parasha. As we see in the Reed Sea crossing, we will see that Yahweh saves the children of Israel. Which foreshadows how Yeshua would save us from sin. And how He would save us in these End Times again.
When Yahweh is bringing the Israelites free from their slavery in Egypt, it foreshadows how Yeshua is freeing us from our slavery to sin. At the end of the day, it does not matter whether we are slaves to a certain group of people or not. If we are slaves to sin, we are doomed for destruction! So, either we are slaves to sin, or we are slaves to Yeshua and slaves to righteousness. We are either slaves to sin and Satan’s kingdom, or we are slaves to righteousness and to Yeshua’s kingdom. It all depends. It is all our choice. And this is why we have to pursue a relationship with Yahweh.
Another part of the Reed Sea crossing is the pride of Paro (Pharaoh) which leads to his death and the death of those who followed him. We will dig deep into that a little bit later in this parasha.
We see that the children of Israel have faith in Yahweh to fight their battles which is exactly what we are supposed to do today. Yahweh will fight our battles and all we need to do is patiently endure to the end for His salvation. We see that Yahweh has always been our Salvation. He has always been the one that we are supposed to look to for salvation. We even see that Yeshua’s name means that “Yahweh is Salvation”. Yahweh never ceases to be His people’s Savior.
Shemote (Exodus) 14:13-14
13 “And Moshe said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
14 Yahweh will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
So there is this notion again, this idea that we do not need to do anything. There is no reason to fight our own battles. There is no reason for us to be afraid. Because up to this point, right before this, Pharaoh, and the Egyptians coming down the hill with their chariots and their horses to kill the Hebrews (Israelites), and so it is understandable that they are scared. They are afraid. In fact, they were so afraid that they even told Moshe that “You brought us out here to die. It would have been better if we would have stayed in Egypt and served the Egyptians as their slaves.”
So again, even for us in the body of Mashiach (as believers in Yeshua) today, it is easy for things to be falling apart in our lives and for us to actually get upset with Elohim and say, “I just need to go back to the way I used to do things, why do I not just go back to the way I used to live my life in the world? At least then I felt like I was in control. At least then it felt like my circumstances were better.”
Yet Moshe is telling the people “Do not be afraid. Just stand still, hold your peace, and watch Yahweh fight for you. Witness the salvation of Yahweh.”
For these End Time events as we see in Hitgalut or Revelation this is Yeshua speaking. He says, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of Elohim in the faith of Yeshua.”
Hitgalut (Revelation) 14:12
12 “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of Elohim and the faith of Yeshua.”
Now this verse is really a sobering verse. Because what Yeshua is telling us with the “patience of the saints”, is the same thing that Moshe was telling the people in Shemote chapter 14. Yeshua is telling us to be patient and wait upon Him, not to take things into our own hands.
As these End Time events of the Book of Revelation begin unfold, things will begin to (or continue to) worsen. More death and destruction will come, and more chaos will happen. Yeshua is saying to endure, to be patient, and wait upon Him. Wait for His salvation. He tells us “Here are those who keep the commandments of Elohim, and the faith of “Yeshua”. Because we understand to keep the commandments of Elohim the way that Elohim actually says to do so, we are going to be persecuted for it. And to have the faith, (the actual faith that Yeshua came and taught His disciples, Nazarene Judaism, Nazarene Israel), it is going to put us under a lot of persecution. We are going to be persecuted for it. And so here is Yeshua telling us to keep the patience of the saints, being those who keep the commandments of Elohim and the faith of Yeshua. He is telling us it is these people who Yeshua is coming back for, not anybody else.
So we have to have this very sobering talk with ourselves. Are we one of those people?
Are we one of the saints that are patient and patiently waiting for Yeshua? And are we one of the saints who actually keep the commandments of Elohim and the faith of Yeshua? This is so very important and such a sobering talk we have to have with ourselves.
Let us read Shemote in chapter 15.
Shemote (Exodus) 15:2
2 “Yahweh is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my Elohim, and I will praise Him; my father’s Elohim, and I will exalt Him.”
Yahweh is our Salvation. And because He is our Salvation, because He fights for us, we are going to exalt Him. We must exalt Him for it.
And then we read Kepha Aleph chapter 3 verses 18 through 21.
Kepha Aleph (1 Peter) 3:18-21
18 “For Mashiach also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to Elohim, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward Elohim), through the resurrection of Yeshua Mashiach.”
Even in the days of Noah, Yahweh was long-suffering and patient. He was even the Savior to His people then. When we stop and think about it, it took Noah 120 years to build the boat. Now you would think at least once in the 120 years that it took him to build the boat, one person might have stopped and asked him why are you doing this? And Noah preached to him and said, “This is what Elohim has commanded me. He says He is going to destroy the world with water.” And yet nobody repented.
The only people that found favor (or grace) in the eyes of Elohim was Noah and his family. So we see that still Yahweh was long-suffering. And Yahweh was still the salvation for Noah and his family.
We see that in the same way that they were saved through the water, we too are also saved by the water.
It is not the ritual water immersion that saves us, but it is when we go through this process, when we make that public declaration and our hearts are circumcised and we commit to Yeshua, that is when we were transformed by the renewal of our mind. That is when we are saved. That is how Yahweh saves us. We cannot save ourselves.
In the same way Moshe and the Israelites passed through the Reed Sea with water on either side of them, so they too went through this water immersion process to come out on the other end saved. They were slaves in Egypt and on the other end of the Reed Sea, and they were freed to serve Elohim. They were free to serve Yahweh.
It is the same thing for us. We are dead in our sin. So, we go through this water immersion. We were slaves to our sin. We go through this water immersion, and we come out on the other side of that water immersion free to serve Yeshua and free to build His kingdom. That is the freedom that we have in Yeshua. NOT freedom to do whatever WE WANT. But freedom to serve Him! Because we are no longer slaves to sin and to Satan.
You might be asking yourself, why does Yahweh fight our battles for us? If Yahweh is our Salvation, it means He is our Savior. This means that He is the one who fights our battles for us so that we learn to depend on Him. We will break that down and kind of get into that here a little bit later. Because He fights our battles for us and because Yeshua fights our battles for us. And Yeshua also allowed Yahweh to fight His battles for Him, and He suffered for righteousness’ sake.
That means that we will sometimes suffer for righteousness’ sake. Yet when we suffer, we are still supposed to pray for our enemies and let Yahweh win the fight for us.
When Yeshua was being crucified and when He was on trial for crucifixion, He did not utter a word of defense to Pontius Pilate, to Herod, or to anybody. He just stood silent and let Yahweh fight the battle. He suffered for righteousness’ sake. We will see what that looks like in these next couple verses.
First let us read Shemote chapter 14 verses 30 through 31.
Shemote (Exodus) 14:30-31
30 “So Yahweh saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
31 Thus Israel saw the great work which Yahweh had done in Egypt; so the people feared Yahweh, and believed Yahweh and His servant Moses.”
Yahweh fights our battles for us because if we had to do everything ourselves we would think to ourselves, what is there a need for Yahweh? What is there a need for Elohim? What does He do for us? But Yahweh is so loving that He desires a relationship with us, and He uses these situations and these trials in our lives as we just discussed in the beginning. He uses the trials in our lives for His greater glory and purpose. So that when we see and we witness the miracles and how when He works in our life, we learn to fear Him. We have this healthy fear, and we learn to believe Him and what He says. And we take Him at His word.
Next we read Shophetim (Judges) chapter 7, verse 2.
Shophetim (Judges) 7:2
2 “And Yahweh said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me”.”
Another reason why Yahweh fights our battles for us is so that way we do not win a battle and then become puffed up with pride, thinking to ourselves that somehow, we are the saviors. And that somehow, we are the ones who can determine or bring our own salvation into existence. It is not true. We cannot do anything without Yahweh.
I know that I have certainly witnessed it in my own life. I have experienced it in my own life that I could be going through a trial. And I am praying to Yahweh to save me. To deliver me from this trial.. And it is only when I hit rock bottom and only when I have come to the point where I am like, I cannot take another step without you. That is when Yahweh comes in and saves me.
Because when we were in the middle of a trial, it can looks pretty bad, but it is not the worst that it could be! And it is easy to become puffed up with pride. It is easy to be like, “Oh look, I pulled myself out of this trial by my own bootstraps!” And Yahweh does not want that because that leads to a proud heart. And as we will learn with Paro as the example, Yahweh despises proud hearts.
Let us look at Romim (Romans) chapter 12.
Romim (Romans) 12:17-19
17 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says Yahweh.”
So again, the focus is that there is no need for us to fight our own battles. There is no need for us to go to war with people. If it is possible and as much as depends on us, we are to live peaceably with all men and let Yahweh enact vengeance. Let Yahweh seek wrath. In the same way that I tell my children, do not fight with each other. I tell them, if your sibling is picking on you, if your sibling has got a problem with you, if your sibling is bothering you and causing you trouble, you come to me! I am your father. I see and understand life in a different way than they do at their age. Because they are children. And they do not see things the same way that I do.
And so for us, it is the same thing with Yahweh. We are all Yahweh’s children. He created us all. And He does not want us to fight with each other. He loves us all and He desires that we would all live peaceably with each other. I desire that for my children; that they would all live peaceably with one another. And that if they do have issues, they come to me. And I will then enact the correct form of discipline.
Yahweh wants us to do the same thing. We just do as much as we can to live peaceably with all people. Because we know there are some people out there that it seems impossible to live peaceably with. But we do as much as we can on our end. So if this means that we ignore them, if this means that we do not have a relationship with them, sometimes that is just the way it boils down. But we are still to seek to live peaceably with all men and do not avenge ourselves, just give place to wrath. Hold our peace and let Yahweh fight for us. We hold our peace, and we witness the Salvation of Yahweh. That is what Yahweh wants from us. It is what I want for my children.
And so a big part of this parasha is pride. We see that pride leads to death. We see that Yahweh hardened the heart of Paro so that He could use Paro’s pride, anger, and rebellion for His glory. This was done to show that Yahweh despises a prideful heart. And no matter what the course of events were that Elohim would have used to free the children of Israel, Paro was always going to reject Yahweh.
The sad part is, there are many people who do the same today. Not only unbelievers, but this also means people in the body of Mashiach. There are plenty of people who are in the body of Mashiach who call themselves believers. It is one thing to believe, it is another thing to actually walk out the faith. And so, there are plenty of people within the faith of Yeshua (in the body of Mashiach) who still have proud hearts, who insist upon living life their own way.
We understand Scripture might say to do one thing. But some people say, “Well, I know that is what it says to do, but I am going to do it my own way. I am going to take what that says and apply my own interpretation. I am going to apply my own spin to it and not do it as Yahweh says to do it.”
Or Scripture might say do not do this and people might say, “Well, I know it says not to do that, but I have found a way to circumvent the Commandment.”
Again it is just pride that is leading people to be rebellious to Yahweh. That is exactly what Pharaoh’s problem was. He was rebellious to Yahweh because of his prideful heart. So we see that pride resulted in the death of Pharaoh himself as well as all of those who followed his lead.
We read in Mishle (Proverbs) chapter 21 verse 4,
Mishle (Proverbs) 21:4
4 “A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.”
So a high look of oneself and a proud heart are considered sin in Yahweh’s eyes.
Mishle (Proverbs) 28:25
25 “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in Yahweh will be prospered.”
The Hebrew word for proud is Rachab. A Strong’s Hebrew Concordance 7342 and it means wide or broad.
Original Word: רָחָב
Part of Speech: Adjective
Phonetic Spelling: (raw-khawb’)
Definition: wide, broad
Strong’s Hebrew Concordance
This should be ringing some bells for what Yeshua has said about the wide and broad road.
Mattiyahu (Matthew) 7:13
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.”
Yeshua is saying that those who have a prideful heart are led to destruction.
There are many who live their life in constant rebellion and constant pride against Yahweh. In the same way that Paro thought of himself as divine and was in rebellion against Yahweh, he refused to humble himself. He refused to submit himself to Yahweh.
Many people do this, both unbelievers and believers alike. So we have to be careful. We have to constantly examine ourselves through this process of sanctification and developing a personal relationship with Yahweh, and subjecting ourselves to His discipline and disciplining ourselves as well to not have this arrogance and prideful heart that leads to destruction.
This is why in Devarim chapter 10 verse 16 we read, “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.”
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:16
16 “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.”
Because as males, we are supposed to have circumcised the foreskin of our flesh. And in Yeshua we also go through water immersion. These are all outward displays of our commitment to the faith. But if our hearts are not circumcised, then it does not matter.
When the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt, they were physically circumcised, all the males. And yet we see as they are wandering the wilderness, Yahweh tells them (through Moshe) to circumcise the foreskin of their heart. He tells us “In your heart accept Me. In your heart have this relationship with me.”
Because if we are going through the process of sanctification, putting off the old and putting on the new, then we are developing that personal relationship with Yahweh. And if we are subjecting ourselves to His discipline as well as disciplining ourselves, then we should not have arrogant and prideful hearts. Rather, our hearts should be circumcised. And it is a difficult process. It is an arduous process. It is a process that takes a lifetime, and it is something that we have to work at daily and focus on daily.
Now, in this parasha portion, we also read about the bitter waters that were made sweet. To me, the bitter water is symbolic of the world and the type of taste that it would leave in one’s mouth. Bitter water is not just bitter water, it is not just water that does not taste good to drink, but I often think of it as unhealthy, dirty water.
Many countries in the world still have unclean water. And so when we drink this dirty, bitter water, it makes us sick. We have no choice but to drink the water because we need it to sustain life. But when we drink this bitter water, it does make us sick.
Similarly, when we drink the waters that the world has to offer, it makes us sick. It makes us bitter, resentful, proud, arrogant, spiteful, evil. It makes us sinful. And so when we look at these bitter waters made sweet, the tree being thrown into the water, I think is symbolic of Salvation and healing. We also see that the tree represents Yahweh and His commandments. And is also symbolic of the tree that Yeshua would have been crucified on, which is to make the water sweet so that we could have life. Again, we look at various verses that expound and explain all this.
Yochanan (John) 4:14
14 “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
There are bitter waters, and then there is the water that Yeshua has to offer. There is the water of the world which makes us sick and leaves us thirsty and always coming back for more. That will never spiritually satisfy us. Then there is the water that Yeshua has to offer which will never leave us spiritually thirsty. And from that water, comes a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. We have life. The water that Yeshua gives us is the water that sustains our life forever. Whereas the water from the world just makes us sick, We come back for more, and we have no choice but to keep drinking it just to sustain our life. What Yeshua said I think lines up with what Yahweh said in Shemote in chapter 15 perfectly.
Shemote (Exodus) 15:26
26 “and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Yahweh your Elohim and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Yahweh who heals you.”
In the same way that Yeshua is our healer, He heals us from the bitter waters of the world that have made us sick. Yahweh is foreshadowing. He is foretelling here that He is our Savior; that He is the one who heals us. We understand that Yeshua is the manifestation of Yahweh. Yeshua heals us and Yahweh heals us. Part of this is to diligently heed the voice of Yahweh, to do what is right in His sight, and to give ear to His commandments and His statutes. This whole process of sanctification, this whole process of wandering the spiritual wilderness is so that we learn to break the bad habits that we learned in our sin when we were slaves to sin. And instead learn good habits as slaves to righteousness, as slaves to Yeshua. Where we put off our old and put on our new.
And this is what it means to be healed. Because when we are dead in our sin, we are dead. We are sick, but when we receive the water that Yeshua has to give, when we receive the healing of Yahweh, and receive the healing of Yeshua, we are made whole. We are healed. And so we see that again throughout this entire parasha, Yahweh is our Salvation. He is our Healer. There is nobody else like Him and there is nobody else to look to beside Him.
Let us see what the manna from Heaven, the water from the rock, and the war with Amalek tells us. We see that in all three cases that Yahweh provides for His people even when they are ungrateful, disobedient, and fearful. And again, this is to demonstrate His awesome goodness and faithfulness. All of this is for His glory. He uses all of our trials and even our rebellion to bring Himself glory. To showcase how awesome, faithful, and good He actually is. And yet even through all this, He still expects His people, His children, and His house to be in right order and to be obedient to Him.
We see what the manna from Heaven “The whole congregation or the assembly of the children of Israel complained against Moshe and Aharon”, and they said to them, “You have brought us out into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger!”
Shemote (Exodus) 16:2-3
2 “Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
The children of Israel (our ancestors) just witnessed the ten plagues. They just witnessed the Salvation of Yahweh and the parting of the Reed Sea. And only a few days later in their journey, they are complaining against Yahweh. They are complaining against Moshe about their hunger. And I get it. To wander the wilderness with no food or water is difficult! I have never been there. I have never had to go that many days without food or water, but I can see how difficult it can be. But when you have just witnessed all these miracles, how can you be so quick and so easy to complain like this?
If we have good spiritual discernment, it should showcase us just how weak the flesh is. Because it is easy to say, “Well, I would never have complained like they would have complained.” But until we are there, until we are walking in their shoes, we really cannot say that with a great deal of certainty. How many of us complain so often about much less?
This is why we have to be humble. We have to be careful. Because it is easy to end up with a proud and arrogant heart and say, “Well, I never would have done that. I would not have been like them.” This is also why Yahweh responded to them by giving them the manna from Heaven. It was in order to test their hearts to see whether or not they would walk faithfully in His Torah. And also despite their disobedience, Yahweh was faithful and fed them for 40 years in the wilderness with this manna even though they complained about it.
Consider the children of Israel complaining against Moshe Aharon. Moshe was Yahweh’s anointed. Scripture does not specifically say that they complained against Yahweh. But to complain against Moshe and Aharon (to rebel against) Yahweh’s anointed is to go against Yahweh Himself. This is why David did not strike down king Saul even though he had several opportunities. king Saul was still Yahweh’s anointed. David understood that. Here, the children of Israel did not.
So how many of us do this today where we reject sound counsel and sound leadership from those that are in the faith, and from those who are in the true ministry, those that are trying to help us in Spirit and in Truth? We reject their sound counsel, we reject their leadership, we complain against them. And thus we end up complaining against Yahweh simply because we desire our creature comforts.
Tehillim (Psalms) 105:15
15 “Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm.”
In Tehillim (Psalms) chapter 105, Yahweh is protecting His people. “Do not touch My anointed ones and do My prophets no harm.”
For those of us who are in the faith today, we have to keep this in mind. This is part of living peaceably with all people. Just because our flesh is weak, that does not give us an excuse to strike out against Yahweh’s anointed. Even somebody like king Saul who was Yahweh’s anointed, while he was abusing his power and authority in a position of leadership, that still did not give David the right to go against Yahweh’s anointed. Let us learn from David’s example. Let us learn to walk in humble obedience to Yahweh and fear Yahweh and Him alone.
Mishle (Proverbs) 18:2 says, “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.”
Mishle (Proverbs) 18:2
2 “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.”
Again, here is the concept of pride. The children of Israel just witnessed all the miracles that Yahweh did, and yet they still wanted to complain. They still refused to circumcise their heart. And a lot of us do this today in the faith. We are believers in Yeshua today, but we can go through financial struggles, financial burdens, or our job is at risk, whatever the case may be. We go through struggles in our life. And instead of humbling ourselves, instead of just trusting in Yahweh, we allow it to puff us up and actually complain the same way that the children of Israel did.
That is the beginning of becoming “a fool who does not delight in understanding”. Because the delight in understanding means that we are trying to go through this process of sanctification. That we are trying to develop a personal relationship with Yahweh and that we are subjecting ourselves to His discipline. Only someone who delights in understanding and wisdom can actually do that. For a fool does not delight in understanding, but rather would express his own heart and wants to do things his own way. And you cannot want to do your things your own way, and remain a servant to Yeshua and to Yahweh. The two cannot coexist.
In the same way that Yahweh gave the children of Israel the manna to test their hearts, Yahweh puts us through tests all the time to see whether or not we remain faithful to Him. We see with the children of Israel, one of the tests that the people failed in is in regard to keeping Shabbat. Yahweh told them to gather extra manna on the sixth day so they would have plenty to eat on the seventh day which was Shabbat. However, some of the people did not heed this command. And when they went out searching for the manna on the seventh day, they found none. Yahweh responds by asking the question, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and my Torah?”
I am sure Yahweh continues to ask the same question today. Because how many of us refuse to keep the commandments of Elohim the way that He wants us to? I am sure the people who did not heed the command of Elohim in this particular case had every intention to keep the Shabbat. But they wanted to keep Shabbat the way they wanted to. Not the way that Yahweh said to do it, but the way they wanted to.
So again, when we think about the Torah, it is meant to expose the sinful nature within us. We may think about certain things like, “Well, why can I not do this on Shabbat? Why can I not keep Shabbat this way? Why can I not do things this way, that way, or whatever? Why is the Torah telling me to do things a certain way?”
It is there to test us, to test our hearts to see whether or not we are choosing to remain faithful to Elohim. And when we do not, especially when we know better and we willfully walk in defiance to Elohim, it will anger Yahweh and He will ask the question, “How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my Torah?”
Let us not be like the children of Israel in this case. But rather, let us go through the process of sanctification. Let us build that personal relationship with Yahweh and subject ourselves to His discipline as well as disciplining ourselves. We see that with the water from the rock. The people contended with Moshe and Aharon for water. In fact, they were even ready to stone Moshe and his brother. And Yahweh is still faithful and He responds by giving them water to drink. With this example as well as with the example of the manna, we see that Yahweh is always faithful, even when we are not. And this is always His character.
Again, even when we are complaining, even when we are grumbling against Him, Yahweh is still long-suffering. He is still patient with us. He still loves us. So even with our complaining and our grumbling, Yahweh still gets the glory.
I love my children dearly, but there are times that it is difficult to be patient and long-suffering with them. When they are crying all day. And they want their toy, and they want it now. And I tell them to give me five minutes and I can get to that toy and give it to them. Or they want this or they want that. I get it, just give me five minutes and I can get there and I can get it for you, whatever the case may be. And yet they want to cry, and complain, and grumble! And it is difficult in my flesh to remain long-suffering and patient.
We can see where we are lacking and where we are not like Yahweh, because the flesh is weak. And this is to point us back to Yahweh. All these examples in Scripture are to point us to Yeshua. To point us to Yahweh so that we understand. There is no reason to be proud of anything that we do. We are simply to give adoration to Yahweh. We are simply to profess faith in Yahweh. We are simply to love Him and glorify Him. And so that is what all these examples in Scripture are for, that we should not seek to be proud of anything that we do. Because nothing that we do is worthy to be proud of. That it is Yahweh who works through us and that is what we should be humble about and be grateful for.
We see in Romim or Romans right, and it attests to what I just said. “Elohim demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Mashiach died for us.”
Romim (Romans) 5:8
8 “But Elohim demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Mashiach died for us.”
Again, there is no reason why we should be proud of anything that we do, and this is not to say that we should not strive to do good. That is not what I am saying. Rather what I am saying is, there is no reason for us to ever become arrogant about ourselves. We should always remain humble. Because while we were still sinners and we were still in rebellion against Elohim, shaking our fist in rebellion against Elohim, He demonstrates His own love that He sent His one and only Son to die for us. That is truly a special thing when we really think about it.
I do not know if I could have sent my son to go and die for strangers who were shaking their fist in rebellion toward me! But it just goes to demonstrate that Yahweh is all good. This is why Yeshua asked, “Why do you call me good?” And said, “There is no one good except Elohim.” That is the focus. That is the sobering reality that we have to remember. We have to be humble. In order to go through this process of sanctification and have a personal relationship with Yahweh, we have to be humble. There is no other way around it. That is why the children of Israel had to go through what they went through in the wilderness.
We also see with the war with Amalek that as long as Moshe was focused on Yahweh, they were winning the battle. And this reminds us that no matter what is happening to us, no matter the storm, the trial, the battle, and the valley that we go through, if we are focused on Elohim, He will give us the victory. Yahweh uses trials like this to raise up leaders, to strengthen the faith of the leaders and to strengthen the faith of everyone. We see that He does this with Yehoshua (Joshua). We know that Joshua goes on to inherit the position of leadership right after Moshe and him lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. We can see throughout these numerous examples in Scripture where Yahweh would strengthen the faith of Yehoshua so that when the time came, he was prepared. And so, we cannot short-circuit this growth.
This is all part of the process of sanctification. We are going to go through these trials, and we are going to have to learn to overcome in Elohim. We are going to have to learn to trust and depend on Him so that it strengthens our faith. This is all part of building a relationship with Him. This is all part of walking the faith out.
In conclusion, what did we learn with this parasha? We learned that the children of Israel and the trials they experienced is really no different than our walk of faith today and what we experience. We learned that pride makes one a fool, and that pride leads to death and destruction. We also learned that despite the ungratefulness of Yahweh’s people, He still loves us and is always faithful. He never ceases to be our Savior.
So, brothers and sisters, let us not be like our ancestors who were stiff-necked and rebellious. Who complained about everything and desired their old way of living. Instead, let us be like the men and women of faith who patiently waited on Elohim to deliver them.