Vayishlach (And he Sent)
Torah: Genesis 32:4 – 36:43 Haftarah: Hosea 11:7-12:12 Brit Chadasha: John 15:9-19
Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5
The Learned Lessons that come with Time
Last Parasha we saw Yacov fleeing from Esav. I wonder if Yacov was relieved when he fled from Esav. Something else that I wonder is did he ever think about if a day would come when he would have to face his brother again? Well whether he thought about it or not that day did arrive. Whether he prepared for it or not it came.
All throughout the beginning of Yaakov’s life and his story we see him learning and growing. I have been able to gain great encouragement from reading the stories of Yacov and his journeys. One thing that I have been able to receive from his life is just how human he was and how patient Yah was with him. How many of you can say Amein to Yah being patient with you. I can say it many times. One thing that strikes me in this story is how YHVH is reminding Yacov of the covenant. Why is that?
Petitions that Work
I believe there are several reasons for this. The first is very clear. Yacov is fearful of his brother and the death threat Esav has placed on him.
“The days of mourning for my father draw near, then I am going to kill my brother Yaʽaqoḇ.” Genesis 27:41b
“Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Ěsaw, for I fear him, lest he come and shall smite me and the mother with the children. Genesis 32:11
I know I would have probably felt the same. The second is found in the little petition that Yacov offers up to the Eternal in his time of need.
And Yaʽaqoḇ said, “O Elohim of my father Aḇraham and Elohim of my father Yitsḥaq, יהוה who said to me, ‘Return to your land and to your relatives, and I do good to you,’ “I do not deserve the least of all the kind acts and all the truth which You have shown Your servant, for I passed over this Yardĕn with my staff, and now I have become two groups. “Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Ěsaw, for I fear him, lest he come and shall smite me and the mother with the children. “For You said, ‘I shall certainly do good to you, and shall make your seed as the sand of the sea, which are too numerous to count.’ ” Genesis 32:9-12
This in my opinion was the main reason why YHVH was responding to Yacov in reminding him of the covenant he made with his forefathers and was making with him. How did Yacov approach Yah? Was he whining, grumbling, or complaining or even accusing Him? No. Yacov approached YHVH through the act of a petition. Yacov just prays back to Yah what was given to him before. What do I mean by that? Yacov begins to remind (not that Yah ever forgets His promises) YHVH of His promises that He made to him and his descendants. He approaches the Eternal with a humble spirit and a contrite heart thus I believe he grabs the ear of YHVH (gets His attention).
יהוה is near to the broken-hearted, And saves those whose spirit is crushed. Psalms 34:18
All Yacov is doing is saying now Father remember what you promised to me. I got a little situation down here and need a little confirmation that everything is going to be alright. What does the Eternal do? He responds to Yaakov’s petition. It is my opinion that many times we do not receive the answer to our prayers because we are coming before YHVH with a haughty and arrogant spirit and sometimes even accuse Him. I can remember times when I would pray prayers like NOW GOD YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO DO THIS OR THAT NOW WHY AREN’T YOU DOING WHAT YOU SAID? Can you imagine, for those of you who have children, one of them coming up to you and saying the same thing to you? What would your answer be if your child came and began to accuse you because you did not do what you said you would do? I know what my answer would be.
Well Yacov was different. He had learned a little bit through his days back on his uncle’s homestead about what happens when you place your trust in Yah and live your life the way He says to live it. I mean even his old pagan uncle Laban was blessed on account of Yaakov’s righteousness.
And Laḇan said to him, “If I have found favour in your eyes, please stay, for I have diligently watched that יהוה has blessed me for your sake.” Genesis 30:27
YHVH honored Yaakov’s petition because of the way he approached Him. Are our petitions being answered? If not are we approaching the Father in the proper manner?
My Own Experience
In a past commentary, I shared about the Esav test and how it is a test to see if we will buckle under the pressure of trying times and tough circumstances. Another way to put it is will we give in to the current desires of our flesh to appease ourselves and not have to endure a little bit of suffering? I would like to share a personal experience with you all. I remember when we became Torah obedient and began to share with our financial supporters of the ministry that we are stewards over; we took a major hit in the area of finances. I know that there are others out there who can relate to this and we are not alone in this aspect. Well, I am not one to go out and start rebuking the devil every time something happens to me, the ministry, or my family. I see many times in Scripture where Yah allows things to teach us, build us up, and even discipline us. So when this first happened my flesh was going bonkers. I mean who wouldn’t since we had lost pretty much the whole salary we were living off of (the salary was what we were using to do ministry and live off of) and had a family of four to feed. So sure my flesh was beginning to squirm but this still was no excuse in me getting emotional!
I was at the bank shortly after receiving the news that more support had been cut off. We did not really have much left in the bank and I was going to take out what little we had left to buy some basic things like rice and beans. I had a moment when I was at the bank. There was a really old lady outside who had a swollen foot the size of an elephant and something was oozing out of the ace bandage she had wrapped around it. Needless to say she was begging for money. I just want to be honest here and show you all that we have human moments because we are human. I am not justifying those moments but we are not perfect. I honestly was bothered that she was asking me for money. Not really so much with the lady but with YHVH. What do I mean?
Well I started to complain and grumble about our situation and I almost began to tell Yah why we needed money and how we were not able to help this lady out and so forth and so on, but I caught myself and stopped it. I immediately went to my truck and got a bunch of change out of my console and gave it to the lady and prayed for her. What she said crushed me and I began to repent and weep as I returned to my truck and I could not explain to my wife what had happened to me until several minutes later. When I gave the lady the spare change that I had she said in Spanish, “que monton!” which means what a mountain load of money. Folks I do not know exactly how much I gave her but honestly it could not have been more than four dollars’ worth of change. So this was Yah’s way of jerking a knot in me and getting my attention and teaching me that it was not as bad as I thought it was.
I guess the point that I am making with this story is that instead of petitioning the Father the correct way I was going about it the opposite way when I even knew it was the opposite. I was allowing my circumstances to get the best of me. I was not approaching the Father with a contrite spirit or a broken heart. I broke my number one rule. That rule is what I mention in the commentary a few weeks ago; in order to maintain a move of Elohim in our lives focus on what He is doing or what He has done but never focus on what He is not doing because that will cause us to become offended and accuse YHVH. Again we are all humans and flake out sometimes but thanks to the Father that He loves us and forgives us when we flake out and get in the flesh. Hopefully me telling this story will help some of you and be an encouragement to you.
The Mixing and Mingling Game
I have seen the crippling effects of the spirit of Esav or better put the spirit of Amalek. This is a spirit which brings confusion and doubt. Here in this week’s Parasha we find Esav offering some of his people to mix and mingle with Yacov.
And Ěsaw said, “Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “Why this? Let me find favour in the eyes of my master.” Genesis 33:15
Also, later on with the whole ordeal in Shekem and Hamor offering to mix and mingle his people with the people of YHVH. Isn’t it interesting that almost every time Yisrael is getting ready to go into the land or a covenant is being mentioned that Esav, the Amalekites, or someone shows up and tries to get the children of Yisrael to mix and mingle? Why is that? The reason goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. The enemy added to and took away from the Word or mixed in his words with Yah’s words.
And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall certainly not die. “For Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like Elohim, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5
This is the way that the enemy knows that YHVH will not be happy with His children; if they mix and mingle the things of the world with the things of Elohim. Yah clearly in His Word says over and over again do not mix and come out of her. He is not very happy with mixture. So how can we apply this in our current daily situations? When the vice grips are applied (squeezing) or we have tough circumstances that come our way, we cannot allow ourselves to mix in the emotion of accusing YHVH. We must stay the course and allow the situations and circumstances to do the spiritual surgery in our lives and remove the flesh. The only tough thing is laying there on the operating table without anesthesia while the Supreme Doctor (YHVH) is doing His work (surgery). May we be found faithful like Abraham, Yitzhak, and Yacov! May we endure until the end!
Crossing the River
The moment of truth comes for Yacov to meet Esav. What I find interesting is how Yacov is still wrestling within his flesh as to what the outcome is going to be. He sends his servants, family and animals on across the stream while he lingers behind. I am pretty sure that Yacov was worried and really struggling inside how this meeting was going to turn out in the morning. Confrontation is a scary fearful thing. Most of the time we today like to shy away from confrontation. We mainly choose to cut off the relationship rather than confronting issues and dealing with them head on. Yacov really was in a rock and hard place that was really working his flesh over. Esav knew he was there so there was no turning back or away from the inevitable. During the night Yacov begins to wrestle with and ‘angel’. You can find many commentaries on this particular event. I believe this was Yacov struggling spiritually and naturally within himself as to what he was going to do and then to make matters worse and ‘angel’ shows up and begins to wrestle with him.
In this Parasha study a few years back, Angie Bishop brought up an interesting point about Yacov trusting YHVH and this event with the ‘angel’. She said, “A man who trusts will lead his family and trust that they are following and that Yah is taking care of them. One who does not trust wants wife and children in the front where they can see where they are. What happens in this scenario is either a child or the wife is leading. The reason why the men are in the back is because they want to have a complete look as to where everyone is but one who can truly trust Yah will lead knowing that I have to go and bow down and I am just going to trust that they are right behind me doing what they are supposed to do and that YHVH is going to take care of them.
She continues stating that the Sages teach that Yacov never stopped following Torah even when he lived with Laban but interestingly enough that does not mean that he knew Y’shua. So Yacov was part of the righteous line and he had the birthright he had the blessing and he goes off and has this encounter before he goes and he says if you will do all of this for me then I will follow you and now he has an encounter and he still does not know who he is wrestling with until he gets to that moment. For me it’s a slap in the face. For most of us there are times when we walk so well but I really believe that in the midst of our righteous walk if we had a face to face with Y’shua we would not know who He was because we are so distracted by the things of the world and things that are around us. Yes our flesh gets in the way.” I believe she stated that very well. I know there are many beliefs as to who this angel really was and I will leave that up to each person to decide for themselves.
Are Circumstances and Situations Misfortunes or Blessings?
Where is our trust and hope? Did I really have my trust and faith in Yah or in the support that was coming in for us to live and do ministry? This is one thing we Americans struggle with. Not having finances. Sure we have problems just like anyone else but when it came down to it seems like we always fixed the problems with our money. So I propose the question again. Is our faith in the God of Israel or our finances? Could it be that YHVH is allowing circumstances and situations to happen to us (His children) in order to get or attention and focus off of things and cause us to become focused solely on Him. Remember He is a jealous Elohim.
for you do not bow yourselves to another mighty one, for יהוה, whose Name is jealous, is a jealous Ěl – Exodus 34:14
Could it be that our trials and financial situations that we are going through are blessings? What I mean is could it be that we have put something before YHVH and now because He loves us He is removing it from amongst us in order for us to have to be focused 100% on Him. It sure is hard sometimes to hear the Father with all the bright lights of the cities, internet, and just all the STUFF that distract us. So just what if the Father is removing these things from us in order to bring us into the wilderness where He can speak to us? Our flesh views it as hardships and misfortunes but in the end it can be perceived as a blessing. Something to ponder and chew on I think.