Category Archives: Curses

Escaping Sin’s Punishment

Escaping Sin’s Punishment

Why do some seem to not reap God’s judgment for their obvious sin?
In some instances it could be “for the sake of“ a righteous ancestor that Father withholds judgment from a person.

In 1Kings 11:12, God tells King Solomon that God is deferring the judgment that Solomon deserves for his idolatrous sin “for the sake of his father, David.”

Any temptation for smugness at having seemingly “avoided” the consequence of sin must be replaced by thankfulness to that generational “saint” in whose honor Father is holding open a “window for repentance.”

Conversely, I find it a wonderful opportunity and encouragement to walk in holiness and obedience before Father, even without knowing precisely what generational effect such intentional living may have. By faith I am sowing the seed that Father may use to defer judgment in my generational line. Just as I was a branch pulled from the eternal fire in my 43d year of life, so might other branches in future generations be pulled from the fire. Psalm 25:12-13 speaks of blessing flowing to the descendants of one who fears (obeys out of honor and reverence) the God of love.

“Thank you Father for Your forbearance in judging me—for pulling me as a burning branch from the flames. Thank you, my ancestor, for your righteous living, paving the way for my eternal inheritance.”

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Sins of the Fathers

Sins of the Fathers

In the Torah portion Chukat (Num 19:1-22:1) we find the Israelites for the second time approaching the river Jordan and entry into the promised land. But again as over 40 years ago they cry out, “If only we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! Why have you brought up the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.”(Nu 21:3-5) How many times has Moses heard this grumbling lament from God’s chosen?

The first time is recorded as being sometime in the second month after their miraculous deliverance from Egypt; after the manna starts falling and quail has been provided. They’re thirsty and cry out, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Ex 16:2)

You might ask, “How could this new generation have possibly forgotten all the lessons learned for disobedience, rebellion, idol worship and lack of faith that has been experienced these past forty years?” The answer would seem to me to be one of sowing and reaping. It was Yahweh’s judgment in Numbers 14:29 that: “The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.” Couple this with Yahweh’s pronouncement in Exodus 34:7 after the golden calf incident: , “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (italics added) –the sins of the fathers would come home to roost—there would be a reaping.

At the time of this last iteration of water lack complaint, the entire assembly which had engaged in the pilgrimage of faithless wanderings was gone. Every one who had been twenty years of age or older was gone. Only Caleb and Joshua remained. Even Miriam and Aaron were gone. Moses’ denial of entry into the promised land was sealed. As an aside I questioned how Eleazar was still on the scene (Nu 26:1). Was he not clothed in priestly tunic along with his father, Aaron, and his brothers Nedab and Abihu? (Ex 29:9) Yes, he was, but he must have been less than 20 at the time of the Sinai census.

Back to my theme. We can so easily see the failings of the fathers from the perspective of Moses’ recording of the historical events which occurred as many as 3500 years ago. We can take admonition as to the need to avoid idol worship, disbelief and rebellion, but there is one other truth we must also come away with: the urgency as fathers and mothers to warn, admonish, cajole, entreat, implore, oh, yes, and pray for our children that they not walk in our sin—in the sins of their fathers.

In Yahweh’s pronouncement in Exodus 34:7, the operative word is visiting. This changes the charge from sin being a certainty to one that says our children and our children’s children will be visited. They will be tempted to sin as we have sinned—including their generational history of sin..

I submit that one of two things happened in the forty years of desert wanderings by the Israelites. Either the fathers were so self-absorbed and fatalistically oriented that they did not practice the instruction of the Shema and teach their children. Or, the children did not heed the teaching and admonition and failed as the opportunity (temptation) to repeat the sins of their parents were presented to them (visited upon them). The Shema is the ancient prayer/command from Deuteronomy 6:6-9 prayed today in Judaism and by Messianic believers alike. It says we are to teach our children.

An additional observation can also be made of the responsibility of our teen agers. Eleazar, the High Priest, at the time of the crossing over of the Jordan, was by then a man at least in his 50’s. He, along with all his contemporaries who were in their teens at Sinai and who also observed the response to the spies’ report, could have been a powerful influence on this second and third generation preparing to enter the promised land. They were now the leaders. Their voices should have forcefully warned the community of the danger of challenging Yahweh and Moses’ leadership. The record seems silent—the visiting was again successful. Today’s teens must not be oblivious to what is happening outside their world. They must observe and prepare for that day when their voice should be sounded to avoid the mistakes of our spiritual history—our sin.

Yahweh has made every provision for us to take heed and take a positive action. Has not the blood of Yeshua given us a perfect shield against the forces of the visit? Yes, but as with every generation, the human spirit must be alert and active, the will exercised to withstand successfully the attack of the visit—the sins of the fathers. The blood of Yeshua will stop the “visitors” from becoming “residents.”

Parsha Vayetze

Parsha Vayetze

Does the title raise big question marks for you? You’re not alone. Many Christians don’t know either word. I certainly didn’t until a few years ago.

My genesis began with Exodus as I was reading the Ten Commandments one day: God said that His people are to keep the Sabbath day holy (Exodus 20). There was no way I could manipulate the fourth commandment into anything other than observing it as a unique, holy day. I could find no scriptural justification to change to any day other than Saturday. Surprise! Surprise!

I had been raised in a Christian family and lived in a “Sunday-Church” culture, but I could not deny God’s invitation to obey His Word. After much study, prayer and questioning, my wife, Janelle and I said, “Yes, Yeshua (Jesus), we will obey Your commandments to show You we love You.” (Jn 14:23)

In the course of following God’s guidance, we not only spent much time on Saturday praying, reading the Torah (first five books of the bible recorded by Moses) but also enjoying each other’s company and conversation and putting aside all work projects for the day. We began on Friday night and ended at sundown on Saturday, following the biblical pattern. Celebrating this time frame was a significant part of our honoring God’s seven days of creation – we saw the connection, and it became very meaningful.

Rather than viewing this big shift in our weekly schedule as a drudgery, a legalistic restriction of our freedom, we both found God met us in adventurous, delightful ways, and we continue to look forward to and embrace each Sabbath experience.

So, that’s how it came about that we ran into the word parsha. Let me now explain what the words Parsha Vayetze mean and as a bonus I’ll tell you of a surprise application of this knowledge!

Well, it turns out these words are transliterated Hebrew words. That is to say, rather than writing them in Hebrew, which I (and most Christians) cannot read, they give the words a phonetic English spelling. Parsha is the Hebrew word for “portion.” Vayetze would be the Hebrew word for “he went out.”

You may ask, “Portion of what?”

I would answer, “A portion of the first five books (Torah) of the Old Testament.”

You might then ask, “What portion?”

“Good question — you’re paying attention. It’s one of the fifty-two portions into which the Torah is divided,so it can be read through, weekly in a year.”

Your insatiable curiosity might then wonder who divided it? “Just like the bible itself and its divisions into chapters and verses, it was a man thing. The division is arbitrary and pretty much thematic. Although some parshat ( portions) seem to contain more than one theme. There had to be some portions so constructed to keep the division doable within the 52 weeks.”

I’ll leave our concersation and just go ahead and define the second word Vayetze. Man’s logic says that each of those 52 portions should be easily identifiable. Logic again says, “Let’s take the opening few words of each parsha and boil them down into a Hebrew word which is included within the first verse.” A neat system if you understand Hebrew, but a little confusing if you don’t. But look at it this way—when you’ve got all the transliterated names down of the 52 portions you’ll know at least 52 words of Hebrew—in case that’s a goal of yours!

Vayetze is the seventh weekly portion for the yearly cycle. It comes from Genesis 28:10, “Now Jacob went out from Beersheba….” The word vayetze is the transliterated Hebrew word for “he went out.”

Let’s now look at my primary purpose for writing this post. My wife, Janelle, and I really try to make personal application of the message in each parsha. This keeps us from just gaining knowledge for knowledge’s sake. We’ve been going over these portions now for the last several years. You would think we had surely gleaned all the application there was by now. Ha, I laugh! The depth of scripture is really unfathomable. We read the ponderings and observations of various other Torah seekers and continue to be amazed at the unlimited nuance of each portion.

What jumped out at me about this year’s reading of Vayetze came from a clue offered by one author and my own expanded revelation. This may sound prideful, but Janelle and I believe that as we seek to have our spiritual eyes opened and don’t depend so much on our thought process we will gain greater insight into the heart of Father.

Last week’s parsha dealt with Jacob’s deception of Isaac and then this week’s parsha (Gen 28:10-32:3) deals with the deception of Jacob by Laban. Although there are several other stories and themes within the few chapters of this parsha, I felt compelled to meditate on the significance of these two scenarios.

Again, I include Janelle in this examination of parsha insight as we are certainly a team and family spiritual life is a team activity. Together, we have for many years personally, individually addressed the question of generational iniquity—dispositions toward a particular sin or sin syndrome that can be traced down through the family line. This sin or at least the temptation of it does not necessarily appear in the same form in every generation, but it can be traced. Sometimes this “tracing” does not come from knowledge of family history, but from Holy Spirit revelation. Often there is no way to “prove” the generational existence, but the effect of recognizing and bringing the particular sin under the cleansing blood of Yeshua (Jesus) has had demonstrable effect on our children and grandchildren. If you’re interested in various testimonies and scriptural support, contact me for a few articles Janelle has written.

This spiritual experience of ours over the years opened my eyes to a possible truth of this week’s parsha. A review of the key players will help: Laban and Rebekah are brother and sister. Rebekah is Jacob’s mother. It is Rebekah who has the word from God that Jacob is to be the preferred son; that the older (Esau) was to serve the younger. It is Rebekah who puts Jacob up to impersonating his brother Esau in order to gain the blessing from his father Isaac—the blessing that by heredity was to have gone to Esau, but by God’s plan was to have gone to Jacob.

Hold on! Yes, it was God’s plan for Jacob to carry on the family leadership, but did it have to come about through the deception by both Rebekah and Jacob? As I continued reading, I was hoping for an answer to this question.

Now, jump ahead to chapter 29 and Jacob’s long awaited wedding day in which he anticipates making Rachel his wife. I’m sure you recall the story: Jacob worked for Laban seven years to acquire his beloved Rachel as his wife. However, on their wedding night, Rachel’s father, Laban, secretly substitutes his oldest unmarried daughter, Leah for Rachel. I call that a cruel deception!

Is this practice of deception a family trait, a family curse, a family sin? Does it have generational consequence? Let’s see.

Although Jacob winds up with Rachel by working seven more years for Laban, it is then Rachel who deceives her father, Laban, and steals the family idols (Gen 31).

Following the deception trail, we come to Reuben, Leah’s first born. He deceives his father Jacob, by seducing his father’s concubine, Bilhah (Gen 35:22). Then read about Leah’s sons Simeon and Levi and their deception of Hamor and the Hivites (Gen 34). We could also talk about Judah, Joseph’s experience and many others in this family line.

Did it all start with Terah the first mentioned progenitor of Abram (Abraham) and his brother, Nahor (Laban and Rebekah’s father)? I’m sure not. However, it was the recognition of the sister—brother relationship of Rebekah and Laban and their respective blatant deceptions that started me to question. Then the pie opened up and all the “black birds” began to fly out (if you remember the nursery rhyme).

What do we do with this bit of information? Well, first, it called for Janelle and me to inquire of the Lord again as to our own unrecognized, unrepented, unblood-washed generational iniquity (including our individual, personal updating of same). Secondly, it gave us a bigger world view of our opportunity to intercede beyond our family borders.

To summarize our understanding of the reading of this year’s parsha it was more than the deception by mother and son, even when premised on seeing God’s will accomplished. Let me summarize it this way:

You cannot change the biblical record, but you can change something that does dramatically affect you. As a child of Abraham by faith, you can identify with your Hebrew ancestors’ temptation to deceive in small and big ways. When you acknowledge your own temptation to do the same, you qualify as an authentic intercessor for those same biblical characters and the sin of deception, even though premised on God’s will, they passed down to you. You embrace a revised standard of spiritual morality.

God’s Word is truly the Living Torah. Reading each Torah portion with this connection to your Hebrew ancestors can bring changes to your own life and to that of your descendants as well. We have demonstrable evidence of this among our four children, thirteen grandchildren and even our three great grandchildren!

What can the possible outcome be of an elderly couple in Tennessee interceding for such an epic challenge? Only, God knows!

If you are a child of Abraham by faith, ask Him what He knows about your connection to the Torah and your Hebrew ancestors. Only God knows what it is, but if you ask Him, He’ll make sure each week to bless you with making the Torah come alive and help you make personal application..

Something to Shout About

Something to Shout About

Two verses from the Torah have arrested my attention and consideration. What is my responsibility in this season of teshuva (repentance) for my failure to acknowledge the truth of Torah for so many of the years of my walk with Yeshua? Is there a possibility I have engendered curses affecting me–from my doing, my not doing, even from my generational line? Can there be something I can shout about? Let’s see. We’ll start with the verses:

‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ ” Deuteronomy 27:26

“Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. Deuteronomy 28:45

As these verses from a recent weekly Torah reading jumped out at me I reasoned that in this lunar season of examination and repentance it was incumbent upon every follower of Yeshua to prayerfully consider where he is in relation to these scriptures. Our God is a jealous God. He did not give us, through Moses, the instructions of Torah as suggestions. He gave them to us that our obedience to them would produce blessings for us (Deu 28:1-14). To underscore the seriousness of His provision, He said there would be consequences for our failure to keep His adjurations of blessing–He called them curses.

Coming out of the charismatic mindset I thought curses only came through Satan–often through the vehicle of my relationships with others. I also understood the Law (Torah) was a curse. I had the mistaken understanding that Jesus (Yeshua) took this curse, that is, the Law and nailed it to the cross ending this burdensome mistake of regulations, the Law, that God had made through Moses. Surprise of surprises, when I found out, as Apostle Paul said, the Law is good! (Rom 7:12) What then was nailed to the cross? It was the curse from not keeping the Law. The perfect sacrifice was made–the broken body and shed blood of Yeshua–God come in the flesh. Now if I fail to keep the law, the attendant curse can be repented of and forgiven. Is this not the new covenant! We are no longer to suffer the curse of not keeping the Law IF we bring it under the Blood. But notice I said–IF.

Now, back to my original thesis–are there curses active in my life for my failure to confirm (and do) the instructions of Torah? In spiritually assessing the evolution of my walk with Yeshua I realized that I had never brought under the Blood of Yeshua my failure to keep Torah. Yes, I made a general confession of sin when I was born again. However, before I accepted Torah as God’s instructions for me today consider the 30+ intervening years from that first repentance, I had, in effect, rejected Torah. Can I say certain health issues, certain generational issues do not reflect the evidence of curse? When God has made a way, at an extreme price, for my freedom I must avail myself of the provision. Hence, a heartfelt confession and repentance. That’s something to shout (teruah) about–maybe even to have a day of shouting, using a shofar for amplification–let’s celebrate it as a feast of trumpets!