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15
Jul

Matot

Written by Julie Parker. Posted in Sheepfold Gleanings.

MATOT - TRIBES

Numbers 30:1 to 32:42
Jeremiah 1:1 to 2:3
Matthew 5:33-37
James 4:1 to 5:20

Vows and Oaths

The first chapter in the Matot study is devoted entirely to the subject of vows and oaths. When believers come to belief in Yeshua, as their Messiah, it was by way of a vow and an oath. Through repentance they joined with Him in pledging their life to His saying, “Come, rule and reign in my life.” By speaking this pledge, they become part of Yeshua and His Kingdom. This also includes His Sabbath’s, Covenants and principles here on earth (Exodus 24:3).

Yeshua said we are to love one another. He then went on to calibrate that loving your neighbor translates to walking in His holy commandments.

  • “A new command I give you: love one another. On that day [that you give your life to Me], you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love. This is my command: love each other” (John 13:3; 14:17, 20; 15:10, 17).

  • 1 John 2:9-11 “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

What Are Yeshua’s Commandments?

When Yahweh spoke at Mount Sinai it was through His mouthpiece, the Messiah/Ha Mashiach, Yeshua, the Incarnate Living Word called the Torah. Yeshua is the voice/mouth of Yahweh. The principles spoken at Mount Sinai are Yeshua’s commandments called the Gospel (John 1:1, 14, 5:46-47).

By His Word (Yeshua), Yahweh created the universe and everything in it. The physical presence of Yahweh’s Word is Yeshua. To love our neighbor is to love Yeshua by walking in His loving holy instructions/Torah, thus keep His commandments. When we physically act on His word, Yeshua fulfills His promises to us. Yeshua is in the Father and the Father is in Him, and Yeshua is in us - hence the force that creates the universe now lives in us. Therefore, when we speak what the Scripture calls vows/oaths it is with the power to bless or the power to curse. His Word, conceived in our spirit and spoken from our mouth, then becomes a creative force (Isaiah 66:1; Proverbs 23:7; John 1:1,14; 15:7).

We are what we speak. What we say will come toward us and we reap what we sow from our own thoughts and speech. If we sow healthy seed, we will reap blessings and a good harvest. If we have immoral thoughts and perverse speech, we will invite poverty to come upon our lives (physical, spiritual, emotional and/or financial). By our thoughts and talk we join our souls to either a blessed life or a cursed one. We are accountable to Yahweh for the words we say. He is as faithful to the curses as He is to the blessings.

  • Matthew 15:19-20 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

If something has happened in our life to cause trauma or pain (physical, spiritual or emotional), that happening does not have the right to negatively shape our future unless we allow it to. We can change the world around us by choosing to have a good attitude, forgiving others and turning (teshuvah) from painful experiences in our lives and move forward. We make choices hourly and daily for which realm we walk in - blessings or curses - the choice is in our hands.

  • James 1:20-22 “For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
  • Mark 7:21-23  “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
  • John 14:23-24 Yeshua answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”

Vows

  • Numbers 30:2 “When a man, a widow or a divorced woman makes a vow to Yahweh, or takes an oath to obligate themselves by a pledge, they must not break their word but must do everything they have said.”

If a man makes a commitment to Yahweh or to his neighbor, he must fulfill the promise made. If a man makes an inappropriate declaration, he must make restitution, especially if he has made any slanderous remarks.  He is bound both legally and morally to Yahweh for both accounts. If a woman, still living under her father’s care, makes an inappropriate statement, a careless word or oath, according to Torah, her father can forbid/cancel it. The same is true for a married woman. Her husband can respond to Yahweh on her behalf and nullify the vow. The vow will not be binding upon them. But if these men do not respond or cover their women, then any foolish pledge the women have spoken will be binding on both the man and the women. Yahweh holds the man accountable for their words. This is the background to Paul’s words in the New Testament/Brit Chadasha.

Women in the Assembly

  • 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak [out] (The word speak is Strong’s G2981 “laleo” meaning to utter a voice or emit a sound, to speak, to use the tongue or the faculty of speech, to utter articulate sounds); but they are to be submissive, as the law [Torah: Numbers 30] also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak [out, ie: to scream] in church.”

In this setting, Paul was not speaking in a church like we see today. He was teaching in a pagan temple to a people not familiar with His God or His Word. The Corinthian’s were an untaught and unprincipled people practicing pagan rituals. The scene Paul entered into was unruly; it was also a female dominated society. Paul was sent there to establish proper Kingdom order. In his teaching Paul was not saying that women were never allowed to speak in church. These women Paul was addressing were accustomed to appeasing their pagan gods. One method was by screaming. Because of this distraction, Paul requested they be silent so others could hear what he was teaching and if they wanted to learn more, their husbands could share with them when they got home.  

Coverings

  • Numbers 30:16 “These are the regulations Yahweh gave Moses concerning relationships between a man and his wife, and between a father and his young daughter still living in his house.”

The word vow in Hebrew is neder (Strong’s H5088), which means: to bind or imprison, and to dedicate a specific object or creature to Yahweh. The word oath in Hebrew is sh’vuah (Strong’s H7621) meaning: an obligation taken upon yourself rather than imposed on the object. Sh’vua comes from the root word sheba meaning seven.

What happens to a person if they speak a vow/oath without a covering to guide them? What happens when words that they spoke have not been upheld or honored by themself? What if the person making the vow/oath does not intend to keep that vow even after speaking it? The Scriptures are very clear that we are bound by the words (vows and oaths) we speak.

People tend to think vows are only made during formal occasions like a vow or oath in marriage. What many fail to recognize is that a commitment made from their mouth to Yahweh or to another person is a vow and oath that carries a creative force. Therefore we need to follow through by putting action to our words. This is basic fundamental teaching of the faith.

Promises

Many people make vows all the time with no thought of keeping them. They say things like. “I’ll call you sometime.” “We’ll get together.” “That’s a promise.” “You will have it on time.” “We will love to come.” “We will be there.” “You can count on me!” etc. Sadly, many of these vows are really empty promises with no real meaning behind them. Instead, they have become acceptable closing remarks rather than sincere undertakings.

Then there are the personal vows and oaths like “I’ll never hurt you again.” “I’m going to quit.” “I am so sorry.” “I promise Honey.” “I will never do that again.” “I will be home on time.” “I love you.”

As Yeshua is true to His word we also must be true to our word. As children of Yahweh, our promised words become prophesy that act like principles/covenants. Once they are spoken they are linked to Yahweh’s Kingdom, as we are ambassadors of His Word. If the promises are empty and we say things we never intend to fulfill, we misrepresent (blaspheme) His Name and His Kingdom. Comments like these are called lies and not part of the foundation Yahweh builds His Kingdom on.

  • James 3:9-10 “With it [the tongue] we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

When vows and oaths become broken promises others can be hurt by our carelessness. Becoming untrustworthy, unreliable and unpredictable to others does not build trust or respect. Empty words also puts others in awkward situations where they are made to pick up the slack caused by another’s broken promise, adding to their already full load of responsibilities. Breaking vows and oaths is a reflection of not valuing oneself, as well as disrespecting others; both of which are the actions of an unloving spirit. Disrespect is a form of self-idolatry, rebellion to authority and self-deception of the heart. Dishonor of self and others can become a stronghold that creates the fruit of distrust, dishonesty and disrespect, and is contrary to the Holy Spirit/Ruach thus our word no longer is our bond.  No relationship can be built on empty expressions, promises or excuses. If our word is not our bond we will be unstable and unreliable in all our ways (called double minded).  For those caught not keeping commitments, they can learn that by following through on what they say can bring healing, not only for themselves, but also to others who had to deal with that spirit of compromise (James 4:8-10).

  • Ephesians 4:14-16 “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ/Messiah - from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
  • Ephesians 5:28 “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.”
  • Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
  • Proverbs 8:36 “But he who sins against me [Yahweh] wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me [lie] love death.”

Excuses, Justifications and Rationalization

In human nature we all want to be accepted by others. As believers, if we have not totally given ourselves over to Yeshua we become more dependent on man’s approval and the opinions of other’s than in His word to us. If a believer’s behavior and action is inconsistent with their confession in Yeshua and they have not kept their pledge to God, self and others, then in essence they are endorsing disloyalty and falsehood.

If a believer is questioned in regard to a contradiction seen in the fruit of his or her walk, is their first response a negative reaction? Does a believer tend to be defensive and blame others by saying those others are the ones being accusatory, controlling or condemning? If they resort to backtalk, alibis and self-rationalization a believer is revealing a heart that is not fully given over to Yeshua. Accusing, excusing or avoiding the responsibly of keeping their word to others is a sin. Some people reason that the cost of being honest may be too high and create a habit of lying producing a compromised lifestyle while trying to gain favor with the people around them. In conflicts these lukewarm people tend to leave things just as they are so as not to rock the boat. Some just get up and walk out of the room thinking this will solve their problems and keep the other person quiet, hoping the tension will evaporate over time. This kind of reasoning is not from a cleansed heart but allows sin to abound even more. With rationale like that, guilt will always be their constant companion. Excuses, justifications and self-rationalizations are all forms of self-perjury. When a believer starts to weight the cost of compromise and starts to be honest with themselves and with God, they will stop lying and truly begin to have a heart conversion (Luke 22:32 KJV).

  • 1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Are we reactors or responders when we think we are being personally challenged? If we are reactors, there is bitterness still rooted in the heart. Living in unchecked guilt can lead to uncontrolled physical addictions like alcohol, smoking, porn etc., which in turn can lead to illnesses, as one cannot build a life on shifting sand or lies. Justifications and excuses are defense mechanisms. Yahweh holds us accountable.

  • James 1:14-16 “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”

Rationalization

Rationalization (also known as making excuses) is an unconscious defense mechanism in which perceived controversial behaviors or feelings are logically justified and explained in a rational or logical manner in order to avoid any true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable. Rationalization encourages irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings. This process ranges from fully conscious (e.g. to present an external defense against ridicule from others) to mostly subconscious (e.g. to create a block against internal feelings of guilt).

Self-justification (internal or external) describes how, when a person encounters a situation in which a person’s behavior is inconsistent with their belief, that person tends to justify the behavior and deny any negative feedback associated with the behavior. Example: ‘Their minds rationalize it by inventing a comfortable illusion’. Thus for example ‘people who start to smoke or drink again after quitting for a while perceive it to be less dangerous to their health, compared to their views when they decided to stop’ - thereby averting their ‘post-decisional regret’ through their new rationalization. Self-justification aims to diminish one's responsibility for a behavior viewing themselves in a positive light.

Justification

An explanation that is aimed at eliminating or lessening the negative value of the outcome of a questionable action.

Excuse

An explanation that is aimed at eliminating or lessening our responsibility for a questionable action.

Martin Luther King Jr. said,

It seems to be a fact of life that human beings cannot continue to do wrong without eventually reaching out for some rationalization to clothe their act.

People in sin often seek ways to justify continuing in their conduct. If believers are well meaning but addicted to a habit of excuses, chronic inability to finish projects or unable to keep their promises, they have a spiritually rooted problem. When people participate in sinful behavior they cannot excuse themselves by saying or thinking that they should not be held accountable because they could not help themselves. People may continue because the habit has captured them - they are hooked and find it very difficult to quit (as in alcoholism or drug abuse). Nevertheless, they began the sin because they chose a pattern of life that led to the habit. For that reason God continues to hold them accountable. Scripture says that He has provided everything His people need to overcome sin. People have no power of their own to over come a problem. Only through Yeshua will they be able to resist temptation and to overcome it. Therefore, sin is without excuse. Believers need to make it right. They have a moral obligation to Yeshua and to those they have dishonored. They should begin by first returning to where the dishonor initially took hold and return honor to the situation; first with God, then to their fellow man and finally to self. Repent and ask for forgiveness. Yeshua is quick to apply grace, heal and bring restoration (John 8:31-34; Matthew 13:20-21; Psalm 51:2-3, 8-10; Psalm 32:5, 38:18; James 5:16; Ecclesiastes 12:13).

  • Proverbs 24:10 “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”
  • Luke 6:27-28 “But I say to you who hear: ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.’”

Habitual excuses, unfulfilled and empty words are dysfunctions. Sadly they do not win people over and misrepresent Yeshua, whose Spirit lives within us. In some cultures, if a father has to ask his child to do a chore it is considered disrespectful, as the father has already taken the time and the patience to teach his children beforehand. He then expects them to take the initiative and respond, respecting his words by obeying them. Taking the initiative is what brings honor to the father. It is the same for us. Yahweh has already declared His word to us. When we take the initiative and respond this brings Him honor. When we walk in His word Scripture says we are walking in His right ways called righteousness. To do what is right is holiness.

  • Deuteronomy 6:25 “Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD/Yahweh our God/Elohim, as He has commanded us.”

If our words do not impart Yeshua’s characteristics we misrepresent Him. This behavior pattern is called strange fire in Scripture. Our word is no longer our bond (our covenant) and we wonder where Yahweh’s blessings are. Many do not realize they may have spoken out a vow/oath that, when not fulfilled, has bound and imprisoned them. This hinders Yahweh’s blessings. His people need to go back and make right by repenting. Scripture points out the gravity of our thoughts and speech.  We are made in His image – He is our Father. Yeshua has shown us the way. This is who we are to imitate. Talk as He has shown us to talk and walk the way He walks is the way of His disciples. (Proverbs 10:11; 12:14,18; 13:3; 14:13; 15:2,4,14; 16:23-24; 21:23).

  • Luke 8:15 “But the ones [seeds] that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”

It has been said that keeping a commitment or a promise is a major deposit of blessings and prosperity. To break our word is a major withdrawal. Every time we do not keep a commitment we eat away at our self-esteem. How can we feel good about ourselves if we cannot keep our promises? Maybe we say yes when we want to say no because the desire to please others or save face (called pride) gets in the way. Maybe we make a false commitment out of a feeling of guilt or because of wanting to be liked or simply because somewhere along the way we never really learned how to say no. And, then there are the commitment addicts whose life ends up a juggling act of endless promises impossible to keep. Along the way family and friends end up at the back of the bus, as the over achiever trades commitments and promises made to them for more self-serving opportunities. “I’m doing it for you Honey!” Families should not be given crumbs off the table of our lives. It is our responsibility to serve them a banquet.

  • James 4:1 “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”
  • 1 John 1:5-7 “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha Mashiach His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

We are to be Yeshua’s Reflection

Looking further into the Hebrew word for oath and the root word seven, we see our speech is tied to the eternal Spirit of Yahweh who lives in us. Our speech is to reflect Him. If not, we misrepresent Him and bind ourselves to consequences called curses.

The only factor impeding victory in our walk and gaining full inheritance in Him is our own soul. It is not the wife or the husband; the children or our parents; neighbors or co-workers who are responsible. Yahweh’s word points the finger to our heart. Empty promises and all the excuses that people use to protect themselves are from the enemy’s camp. The ungodly order that comes out of our thoughts, mind and mouth is what binds us. We need to make a decision to act upon the promises we see in the word, as our actions will reveal the Kingdom we are in.

  • James 1:12-15 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God;” for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.   But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
  • James 1:19b-27 “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
  • James 2:14-26 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe -- and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
  • James 3:13-18 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” 
  • James 4:1-10 “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously’?  But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

In a book called Hung by the Tongue the author writes,

“What you say is what you get (Mark 11:23). What comes out of your mouth will determine your future. God knows the future because He spoke the future into existence. He also put your future into your hands, so that YOU CAN actually speak your own future. That is why I am training myself to control my words, to control my future. Your words are spirit and life – once you speak them, they become life. What you say is what you get. You cannot rise above what you allow yourself to think or say. You can think back and as you think about your life, the life you have been leading, ask yourself this question: ‘What has been happening to me?’ Then stop and think about what you have been saying or thinking all your life. You will find that you have been speaking your life into existence. A spiritual principle such as the law of sowing and reaping can never be broken. This spiritual principle always works. Luke 6:37-38 tells us that whatever we give out, we will have it multiplied back to us. If you criticize people, you will reap criticism. If you judge people, you will be judged. If you bless people, you will receive blessing in return.” (End of quote)

  • Matthew 5:33-37 Yeshua said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to Yahweh. But I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven for it is Yahweh's throne; or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’, ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

A gracious provision has been made in Scripture for a father or a husband to declare any oath made by his daughter or his wife as void provided he does so upon hearing it. However, where there is no male covering for a young woman, wife, widow or a divorced woman, the vow or oath they speak will be binding on them. For the man, his word will be binding on himself as he is directly accountable to Yahweh. A vow or oath to Yahweh that is obligated by a pledge is not to be broken. All are to honor the words spoken and accountable to them just as Yahweh honors His Word to His people (Numbers 30:2, 9).

For those who have spoken out vows and oaths innocently and not kept them, we come to our Heavenly Father and repent. He is our covering and our redemption. Yeshua has paid the price for our sin and died our death that we might live and walk uprightly in Him.

Renouncing vows and oaths Yahweh’s people made personally before His is what His people do on the New Moon/Rosh Chodesh each month. The New Moon is often referred to as a mini Yom Kippur. The corporate breaking of vows and oaths for all Israel is made once a year on the Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur (the Wedding Day). Each year His people declare the truth of what Yeshua has eternally completed for them. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus/Yeshua Ha Mashiach, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus/Yeshua Ha Mashiach has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).

  • Romans 6:15-18 Paul said, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law [of sin and death] but under [the law of life called] grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you [as believers] offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience [to Torah], which leads to righteousness [and holiness]? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin [before you repented], you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching [the gospel – the Law of Moses and Yeshua given at Mount Sinai] to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin [by Yeshua`s taking our sin upon Himself so that we could be set free from law of sin and death through repentance] and have become slaves to [Yeshua’s] righteousness [and holiness through Yahweh’s teaching and instruction given at Mount Sinai].”

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13

Vengeance on the Midianites

  • Numbers 31:1-18 “Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.’ So Moses said to the people, ‘Arm some of your men to go to war against the Midianites and to carry out Yahweh’s vengeance on them’” (Numbers 31:1-3).

The Midianites are of the seed of Abraham through Keturah who intermarried with the Ishmaelite’s (Abraham’s seed through Hagar). The Midianites also engaged with the Moabites (Lot’s eldest grandchild) to have Balaam curse the Israelites.

After being rejected by the Edomites (descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau), Yahweh warned Israel not to take, provoke or retaliate against them, as they lived in the territory He provided for them. However, when the Israelites arrived at the land of the Amorites they refused access then came out to war against the Israelites. The Amorites were the largest of the Canaanite tribes. Their land bordered Ammon’s territory (Lot’s younger grandchild) thus much intermarriage between the two entailed. So intimidated were the Canaanites of Israel that they attacked. They not only fought against Israel but also deceived them by enticing Israel into sin. The sin of Moab coming into the camp threatened the very essence of Israel’s morals and family life. Because of this, Yahweh gave permission for Israel to take vengeance on the Moabites by making war against them. In this reprisal Yahweh instructed all Moabites were to be killed (Numbers 21:23; 25:1-3).

During the battle, the Israelites succeeded in killing every man, including Balaam. However, the women who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the moral decay in the camp of Israel were captured and brought into the camp along with their children, herds, flocks and plundered goods. When Moses saw how Yahweh’s directives had not been upheld he ordered the killing of all young boys as well as all women who had been with a man while letting only the virgin girls live.

Much impurity and discord come from the Moabite descendants. However, we also see Yahweh’s grace at work through these two people groups for out of Moab’s descendants came Ruth who married Boaz and Ammon’s ancestry produced Naamah the wife of Solomon and mother of Rehoboam (Genesis 19:30-38; Ruth 1:4; 1 Kings 14:21).

Purification of the Camp
Numbers 31:19-24

During this troubling time, where the children of Israel had come in contact with death, Moses instructed the people to purify themselves by staying outside the camp seven days. They entered into the mikvah /water of cleansing for a status change from the realm of death to the realm of life before returning to the community (Numbers 19). Yahweh has His people understand that touching the physically dead has a direct correlation to touching the spiritually dead and both bring contamination into their lives. Since the Moabites brought spiritual and physical death into Israel’s camp, there was a spiritual death for those who participated in the spirit of Balaam and the unclean Moabite practices. Therefore, the Israelites needed to separate and cleanse themselves from this disorder to keep the camp clean; hence, the contaminated individuals followed the instructions by applying the water of cleansing (living water) for purification.  

Yeshua fulfilled the red heifer water cleansing ceremony upon His death. Scripture does not say that by fulfilling this ceremony Yeshua eliminated the benefit of the ritual application of it in our day (along with the benefits of Yahweh’s Feasts, the New Moon festival, the Sabbath and all other physical applications of His Word). On the contrary, Torah, filled with the Spirit of Yeshua, is to continue to be upheld for the blessings He imparts.

  • Romans 3:31 Paul said, “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law [Torah – Yeshua’s words].”

Today, when believers uphold the ritual application of cleansing by going into the mikvah (water cleansing) in Yeshua’s Name, their status is changed from the realm of death to the realm of life. This they can do as often as they need to. Unfortunately, the early church father’s deemed immersion was only necessary on conversion. But the Scripture is very clear instructing His people to apply as often as they need in order to keep the heart clean before Him. The mini form of mikvah, called rachatz in Hebrew, is the ceremonially washing of the hands.  We see this in James 4:7.

  • James 4:7-8 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil [unclean realm], and he [it] will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands [physical application of water – Strong’s G2511], you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded (John 2:6).

We are to apply the Living Water (Yeshua) spiritually and physically. Fulfilling the physical application is obedience to His commandments that brings sanctification and purification to our hearts, and a change of status from the unclean realm to the clean realm.

As we learned in the parsha Balak two studies ago, the spirit of Balaam is still with us today (2 Peter 2: 1-22; Jude; Revelation 2:14). Whenever we come in contact with the unclean realm or if we even suspect that we have become contaminated, we are called to spiritually cleanse ourselves by repenting and then use the application of physical water. The water represents the water cleansing, an eternal commandment throughout our generations for those who have sinned (Numbers 19). This water also symbolized Yeshua’s death and resurrection. Today the application of water is part of the ongoing process, not for salvation, but of holiness and sanctification, as Yeshua is our living water that brings LIFE!  Yeshua is the same yesterday, today and forever (Ezekiel 16:9; Ezekiel 36:25; Zechariah 13:1; John 3:5; Acts 22:16; Titus 3:5-7; Hebrews 10:22; Hebrews 13:8; 1 John 5:6).

The House of Israel and the House of Judah together are Yeshua’s priesthood (Hebrews 8:8-10). The passages above are written to believers learning to walk in holiness. The applications of Yeshua’s commandments are essential for understanding and walking in His Kingdom. The Priesthood of Yeshua is to know the difference between clean and unclean, holy and unholy and about the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feast Days of Yahweh and to serve Yahweh as they teach this to others. Believers are coming to understand how to minister in a holy manner. They are learning to walk in holiness and righteousness as their hearts respond to the sanctification and circumcision imparted in Yeshua’s Word.

Yeshua’s Priesthood today will no longer walk in the sins (iniquities) of their ancestors but are learning how to shed filthy garments (transgressions), to immerse/mikvah themselves in the water of cleansing and to clothe themselves in righteous holy ways as witnessed by the fruit of repentance called the fruit of the Spirit.

Dividing the Spoils – The Law of Reciprocation
Numbers 31:25-54

This section has to do with correctly dividing the increase in our camp. Only after everything was purified did the Israelites proceed to divide up the spoils. The spoils were divided between the men who went to war and the Israelite community. Before taking possession of the goods, the army paid a tribute to Yahweh through Eleazar the High Priest. The same was offered to Yahweh by the Israelite community and to the Levites.

The army of Yahweh was lead into battle by Eleazar’s son Phinehas, and by the Levites. They had no inheritance of land among the children of Israel. The Priests and Levites, caretakers of the Tabernacle, were the moral teachers of the community. This tribute given to them was a thanksgiving offering that blessed the whole community. This is the same for us today. Our tribute called the Law of Reciprocation ought to be a priority in our lives.

Reciprocate

To give or to take mutually; interchange. To show, feel or give in response or return. To move back and forth alternately. To give and take something mutually. To be complementary or equivalent. To return in kind or degree.

What we receive from others needs to be returned in kind, to be acknowledged; otherwise the Law of Reciprocation is not fulfilled within ourselves or with the other party involved. If we do not reciprocate, the blessings do not pass on life or multiply, thus become stagnant. Out of the ten lepers Yeshua healed, only one returned to give Him thanks. There are many in ministries today who have served the people for years. The people continue to freely take without a word of thanks or acknowledgment or even an offering of support. The Dead Sea in Israel is without life. It has no life form in it because there is no outflow of water, only inflow. This stands as a stark witness for God’s people today. We have become a high-speed culture that is very self-focused. We are a generation that expects, and in that, can take for granted or advantage of what others have freely extended to us through their hard work and efforts to help to teach Yeshua’s Gospel - that has transformed our lives for the better. Those who have worked so hard on our behalf need to be acknowledged under the Law of Reciprocation. This law can also be practiced within our family, among our friends and to our neighbors. This is a universal law and a holy tribute before Yahweh - that blesses both sides (Luke 17:11-18).

The Transjordan Tribes
Numbers 32

The tribes of Reuben and Gad saw that the land east of the Jordan was suitable for livestock. They said to Moses and Eleazar and the community leaders, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan” (Numbers 32:5).

The Reubenites and Gadites had yet to see the Promised Land but they were certain this land east of the Jordan River was better than what Yahweh had prepared for them. The two tribes would have had deep conversations over this before approaching Moses. They made their own decision and took both their lives, as well as the lives of their future generations, into their own hands. How many of us have made decisions that we are sure Yahweh would approve of?

Moses remembered when the first generation of Israelites spied out the land and the forty years it took for the consequences from that bad report to be over and done with. He did not want any difficulty with this generation when they were so close to entering the land. We see Reuben and Gad were very accommodating to Moses and the rest of the tribes by offering to help settle their brothers first before returning to the land of their choice. Moses agreed to this but we do not read of him inquiring of Yahweh first. Moses also allowed the Makir and Jair families of the tribe of Manasseh to settle east of the Jordan along with Reuben and Gad.

These two an 9 Matot Num 30 1 to 32 42.docd a half tribes suffered the consequences of their decision later, as they were the first tribes to be deported in the exile eight years before the other tribes (1 Chronicles 5:25-26).

Shabbat Shalom,
Julie Parker

References

Hung by the Tongue by Francis P. Martin www.amazon.com

The Tongue: A Creative Force by Charles Capps http://charlescapps.com/

A More Excellent Way by Henry Wright http://www.beinhealth.com/public/

Sheep Banner by Phil Haswell

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