Vayeshev (And he Settled)
Torah: Genesis 37:1 – 40:23 Haftarah: Amos 2:6-3:8 Brit Chadasha: II Timothy 2:15-26
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares יהוה. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
Preparation for Ministry
In this Parasha we see two stories; Yosef and his whole incarceration ordeal and Tamar and her situation. Honestly it seems the story of Tamar is out of place or to me just thrown into the mix of things. In the plan of YHVH nothing is coincidence! The Scriptures are written with a purpose and a plan so no this story of Yehudah (Judah) and Tamar is not out of place.
The School of Hardnocks
We have at least heard of this idiom and most of us probably experienced this at some point in our lives. I believe in the story of Yosef, we have a wonderful example of what exactly the school of hardnocks is and the purpose of this school. Yosef was seventeen and the youngest of all of his brothers at the time of this Parasha. In my opinion the Scripture is giving us his age to show that Yosef was still at the age of immaturity. Why do I say this? In my opinion, Yosef telling his family his dreams was something a mature person would not have done. I see this also as a pride issue. Just because we dream something or receive something from Yah does not mean we go out and tell the world. There are exceptions to that but in this case I think he would have been better off to keep the dreams to himself because it caused jealousy in some members of his family. The main issue here was that Joseph was young & had not gone to the ministry school of hardnocks, spiritual warfare, and adversity but eventually in the end I believe we see that this all served the purposes of YHVH.
The Eternal enrolls Yosef in the school of hardnocks. We see his brothers removing his coat of many colors (which I see as what YHVH was getting ready to do to him by removing his glory, his pride),
So it came to be, when Yosĕph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Yosĕph of his robe, the long robe which was on him. Genesis 37:23
they cast him in a pit,
And they took him and threw him into a pit. And the pit was empty, there was no water in it. Genesis 37:24
sell him into slavery,
And men, Miḏyanite traders passed by, so they pulled Yosĕph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Yishmaʽĕlites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Yosĕph to Mitsrayim. Genesis 37:28
then he is sold into Potiphur’s house,
And the Miḏanites had sold him in Mitsrayim to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. Genesis 37:36
Potiphur’s wife lies about him,
“And it came to be, when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside.” Genesis 39:15
and finally he is thrown into prison for doing a righteous thing.
Then Yosĕph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the sovereign’s prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. Genesis 39:20
I do not know about you but I would have probably began to question YHVH as to why all of this was happening to me especially since I was taking a stand for Him and His Word by trying to live righteous but there is more to this story than meets the eye. Remember we are talking about the school of hardnocks. I truly believe Yah was bringing Yosef to the point where he was becoming broken. This is the toughest part in our preparation for ministry or just plain old part of preparation for life I guess you could say. I honestly believe that we all have a ministry and that you don’t have to be behind a pulpit or open up torah scrolls or have a few letters behind your name to be a minister. We are all called to impact the people around us. One problem thought that many of us encounter is we do not like this stage of preparation. We enjoy the preaching part, miracles, and how the Father uses us, but we do not like the brokenness part or as I refer to it the olive press process.
Love for the Father
This process of the school of hardnocks or the olive press process brings us to a point in our life where our love for the Father is really put to the test. Our true colors come out if you will in this process. We see just how much we love the Father through circumstances and situations like Yosef faced. Hopefully we can have the same success as Yosef did. He did not get offended and maintained his relationship with Elohim. We do see Yosef getting antsy a little bit as well as we do when we go through situations and we begin to try and help the Creator out. Yosef tries to do things in his own power to help Yah out a little.
“But remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness to me. And mention me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this house. “For truly I was stolen away from the land of the Heḇrews. And also I have done naught that they should put me into the dungeon.” Genesis 40:14-15
Apparently YHVH still had a little more schooling on the table for Yosef before he could graduate valedictorian. See we have to stay in the pit or in the desert as long as it takes for us to allow Yah to get us out of us so we can be full of Him and this is a tough process just as it was tough for Yosef.
Words of Exploits
How many of us have received a word where the Father told us all of these good and big things He has in store for us. You know like the Father is going to raise you up to become a great evangelist or a great preacher or I see people being raised from the dead through your ministry. Those words really appeal to our flesh. What the Father does not show us is the price tag that comes along with those types of words. Why? Well if you are like me, the first thing that I do when we are out shopping is go straight to the price tag and if it’s expensive then the item gets put back and can stay right where it is at. I think it’s the same with Yah. If He were to tell us that we had to suffer this or that or go through this situation that might cause rejection or offense; we probably would say no thank you and hand the calling back over to Him and leave it for someone else because the price tag is too expensive. You know we are fickle people like that and run the first chance we get so far away from pain and suffering and sacrifice, but in my opinion we cannot exit our preparation before the whole work is complete if we want to reap the full reward. I am glad that Yosef did not forfeit his calling/ministry because the price tag was too big. He leaves you and me a great example to learn from. Yah wants to do a complete work in each of us but it takes us laying our lives on His altar. There are certain sacrifices unto YHVH where fire was involved and the whole animal was consumed. This to me really gives meaning to the phrase ‘well done’ good and faithful servant. Can someone say we are headed for a barbecue? Spiritually speaking Yah wants us to be a burnt sacrifice so that everything in our lives that is not of Him is burnt away. So again, I am thankful that Yosef allowed YHVH to complete the work He began in Yosef.
From the dunghill to sitting with Princes
The story of Yosef is a great example of a certain Scripture in one of the prophets.
“יהוה puts to death and makes alive, He brings down to the grave and raises up. “יהוה makes poor and makes rich, He brings low and lifts up. “He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the dunghill, to sit with princes, and make them inherit a throne of esteem. For the supports of the earth belong to יהוה, and He has set the world upon them. 1 Samuel 2:6-8
I love this Scripture and use it many times for encouragement especially when I am going through trials and situations or circumstances that try to get my focus and attention off of what YHVH is really doing. I am sure that Yosef felt as if he was not just sitting on a dunghill but in my Louisiana red neck English, he was wollering all around in the dunghill but when it was all said and done he was sitting among princes, literally. Sure the process was hard and crucified his flesh but the end purpose of it all was well worth it for Yosef. It should be the same with us. The hard thing we face is we are very temporal people. I keep hammering this point home all the time. We focus on the here and now and seem to not pay attention or forget the final purpose or end results that come out of tough times and terrible situations. So the next time that we are ‘in a pit or in a desert’ just try and stay focused on the end results that will come out of those situations. We are being prepared for the Kingdom. It’s all about the Kingdom folks we cannot forget that. The way we live now impacts where we are at in the Kingdom and what our roles will be there.
Finally released for Ministry
In the gospel of John, we are given a perfect picture of how sinners are turned into set apart beings that can be used by Yah.
And on the third day there was a wedding in Qanah of Galil, and the mother of יהושע was there. And both יהושע and His taught ones were invited to the wedding. And when they were short of wine, the mother of יהושע said to Him, “They have no wine.” יהושע said to her, “Woman, what is that to Me and to you? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He says to you.” And there were six stone water-jugs standing there, according to the mode of cleansing of the Yehuḏim, each holding two or three measures. יהושע said to them, “Fill the water-jugs with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Now draw out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. But when the master of the feast had tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from – though the servants who had drawn the water knew – the master of the feast called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when they have drunk, then that which is poorer. You have kept the good wine until now.” This, the beginning of the signs, יהושע did in Qanah of Galil, and manifested His esteem. And His taught ones believed in Him. John 2:1-11
First, we see these water pots were set aside (in my opinion this is the preparation that we go through; all the hard times and warfare we face). Next they were filled with water (symbol of being filled with the Word). One of the toughest things in this process is staying set aside and being patient so that Yah fills us all the way to the top and the water is transformed. Finally we see the transformation of the water into wine. Many times we think this should happen overnight but this is a season also and it takes time (the fermentation process; the more aged the wine the better). I see the wine here being a type of the Ruach (Holy Spirit) and life = Torah! So what picture do we see here? We see Y’shua taking twelve human ‘water pots’, if you will, setting them aside to be with him, and taking several years to fill them with water. As we walk with YHVH through each one of these seasons, we eventually will see the fullness of what He ordained and purposed for us before the foundation of the earth. The million dollar question is will we stay in that place until the Creator completely fills us with His water and we are changed into the wine or will we be impatient and not permit Elohim to complete his spiritual surgery on us cutting away the junk so that we can heal and be whole?
Repercussions of not fulfilling our call
I see our call/ministry having three aspects to it: generational, corporate/community, and individual. What happens if we say well the price is too big and therefore I will just pass it off to someone else? A lot happens! Our calling is ko desh (holy = set apart).
For this reason I remind you to stir up the gift of Elohim which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For Elohim has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and of love and of self-control. So do not be ashamed of the witness of our Master, nor of me His prisoner, but suffer hardship with me for the Good News according to the power of Elohim, who has saved us and called us with a set-apart calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and favour which was given to us in Messiah יהושע before times of old, 2 Timothy 1:6-9
So I do not want to be guilty before YHVH in taking something ko desh and profaning it (making it into something common). In the book of Yakov (James) we are told to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
What happens when we go to a building every time there is a meeting or go to this or that conference or seminar or hear someone teaching Torah and do not do the Word but we just hear It? I believe we forfeit our calling/ministry to the next generation and we fail the next generation. I am going to say something that will probably ruffle some feathers but it needs to be said. Right now in our movement we have folks running around trying to be on the cutting edge in their interpretation of prophecy. There’s nothing wrong in studying and looking at prophecy, in my opinion, but I do want to throw in that I believe too many brethren including myself in times past are focused way too much on these things and we are not preparing our children and the next generation that is coming up. Guys what will happen if the Messiah doesn’t return in who knows three or sixty more years? Will the next generation be prepared to stand in the midst of persecution and an evil and dark world? Will the next generation know and understand how to live righteous in front of their peers and the world? If not whose fault is it really?
I recently was in a conversation where the point was brought up that we’ve all pretty much been guilty of watching this DVD series or this seventeen hour prophecy audio series or running off to this and that conference just gorging ourselves with tons of information until we are so bloated that we can’t move while all the while our children and the next generation are being left out. It was said in the conversation that Abraham and Isaac nor Y’shua had blue ray DVD players and they seemed to have gotten their message out just fine and passed it down to the next generation. We saw Abraham digging a well and when folks passed by he gave them a drink and food and shared Torah with them and then remember Isaac goes and re digs those wells that his Pappa dug. I guess the point I am trying to make is that in my opinion we have gotten so wrapped up in this war is this or that war is that and so the tribulation begins at this point and this blood red moon means this and this code means that and here is the timeline how it all will happen so forth and so on as the list is endless; I think we are missing out on the big picture here and that is living our lives in a way that is pleasing to the Father and teaching/sharing with others how to live that life as well in order for those, that next generation to be able to pass it on to the generation that follows them.
I do not want to be negative here because generational failures are redeemable but they have a two edged sword. What do I mean by that statement? Well what the next generation accomplishes becomes a judgment for what the previous generation did not accomplish. For example, Moses’ generation failed to take the Promised Land but Yehoshuah’s (Joshua) generation redeemed the failure. If we learn from the previous generations mistakes then we can contribute to the redemption of them.
Walking out our call
Brothers and sisters we are very important in the purpose and plan of the Eternal.
“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having ordained beforehand the times and the boundaries of their dwelling, Acts 17:26
This passage basically is saying that Yah looked down through history at the condition of mankind before He determined who to create; meaning that YHVH said each one of us were born at this time to carry out His purposes here in the earth. I see it as the Creator having faith in us to turn mankind back to Him that He allowed us to be born in this period because we are the ones that He can use to bring about restoration! Now if we do not do what He has called us to do then His plans and purposes do not get accomplished in the time He wanted and individuals, the corporate body of believers and a generation suffer and we are held accountable for that.
I am thankful that Yosef paid the price and left us with an example to follow and be an encouragement to us when we feel the pressing from the olive press is too much. May we be found faithful and endure until the end keeping our eyes, faith, and focus on YHVH through being a doer of His Word.