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  Devotional Sample—Torah Portion  

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Samples:  Torah  •  Prophets  •  Writings  •  Proverbs  •  Gospels  •  Letters

 

The Torah commentary/devotional is published on the first day of the week (Sunday) to aid in the ample study of the upcoming Torah portion (designated as such according to the traditional one year reading cycle). Traditionally, the calendar marks Torah portions to be read in the synagogue on Shabbat. We encourage the thorough study of the Torah portion before the Shabbat so that the student is able to enter fully into and participate spiritually in the reading, hearing, teaching, application and discussion of the portion; hence the reason for our "early" publishing schedule.

Since the Torah portion covers several chapters, the devotional is based on several passages from the reading, hence, the Torah devotional is generally quite a bit longer than the other daily devotionals.

In keeping with the style of the Complete Jewish Bible, the Sacred Name (usually, the Lord in small caps) is rendered "Adonai", also in small caps.
 

Parashah 1
B’resheet (In the beginning) 1:1-6:8

“On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.” B’resheet (Genesis) 2:2-3

The very beginning of the Torah tells us not only of the literal beginnings of space and time, but sketches out the foundational truth that we are to rest as new creations in the Messiah Yeshua. Every day that God labored over the creation of the earth, the seas, the skies and all living things, his entire labor consisted of a single act: he simply said.

“God said...” His six-day labor was nothing more than his Word spoken into the universe, returning that which he desired. We must remember, however, that while this may not seem to us to have been a difficult task for God, He did consider it “work.” For we see on the very first Shabbat, the very first seventh day, that no work was done-none at all. Indeed, the seventh day, Shabbat, was blessed and set apart as holy without a single word from the mouth of God. By keeping silent on that first Shabbat, God did no work. God establishes Shabbat-keeping from the beginning as a plumb line for submitting to the Word of God.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any wild animal which Adonai, God, had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You are not to eat from any tree in the garden”?’” B’resheet 3:1

Immediately following creation, Adonai’s word is challenged in an attempt to knock humankind off course and keep us from the straight path of God’s Word. The serpent succeeds in his crafty ways by posing a very simple question: “Did God really say...?”

Did God really say not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Did God really say the man and woman would die if they did? Did God really say that the seventh day, the Shabbat, is set apart from the rest of the week as holy and that no work is to be done on that day? We often forget, despite what we may believe-or what we would like to believe-that even if something conflicts with or rubs our doctrines the wrong way, it all comes back to “What did God really say?” Either the Holy Scriptures are true or they are not. When there is a question about Scripture, there is always as answer: “Did God really say...”

“Adonai said to Kayin (Cain), ‘Why are you angry? Why so downcast? If you are doing what is good, shouldn’t you hold your head high? And if you don’t do what is good, sin is crouching at the door-it wants you, but you can rule over it.’” B’resheet 4:6-7

By discounting the Word of God, making it less or equal to our own wisdom, separation from God is the inevitable result. By treating the Word of God as if it is ordinary, common, nothing to be revered or considered to be truth, we cannot receive its protective blessing. Despite adequate warning, we will not do what is good-we will be overtaken by sin and imprisoned by it.

Yet here in the first few passages of God’s Holy Torah, the Good News is preached to us. For even though sin is in the world, crouching at the door, waiting behind every corner, sneaking up from behind, God’s righteousness empowers us to have rulership over that which desires to have us. In the Lord, we have confidence to stand tall over cowering, stealthy sin. In the beginning, by his own mouth the Word of God spoke forth life into Creation, and now, the Word of God continually recreates us in His image, that we may be living beings, Holy and set apart, for a Holy and set apart God.

P R A Y E R

Adonai, God, show me all my beginnings. Remind me what it was like when I first came to know you. Illuminate my mind about the source of any sin that is in my life today, then point me to the day when you redeemed me-recreated me-and made me clean. Father, reveal to my heart how to live daily in your eternal Shabbat rest of which you remind me the seventh day of every week. Adonai, God, you are a good God. Thank you for always desiring to let me start over-to have a new beginning in you....

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