Have you been brought in?
By: Michael Peebles
Date:January 18 , 2013
Suggested reading; Exodus 13:11-16, Hebrews 12:22-24
The Torah portion for this week is BO. The focus of this devotional meditation will be in the closing verses of the reading. This segment of the reading is partly an instruction about the firstborn. It also is concerned with how the things the children of Israel experienced in coming out of Egypt were to be communicated through the generations.
The Parashah title means “enter.” It is drawn from the instruction of the Lord to Moses in the opening of the reading, to “go in,” or “enter in”, unto Pharaoh. In that speech to Moses two reasons were given for the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. First, so that all the signs intended by God could be displayed before Pharaoh, who evidently had not learned to be in awe of anything more than himself. Secondly, so that future generations born in Israel would be able to benefit from knowing the signs that had been wrought, amounting to judgments poured out on the false gods of the Egyptians.
The closing part of the reading, which is our focus here, deals with the same thought. It is interesting that it has the same verb in it. But here it is rendered “shall bring thee”, or “has brought you”, or something similar, according to the translation you use.* So, the opening question of the devotional has to do with this entering into the thing promised, with the help of our creator. In framing the question, I followed the portion of text we are considering here, thinking from the same verb of the portion title, and using the form “brought”, instead of simply “entered”.
Pharaoh and the Egyptians were not acknowledging their Creator. As a result, they came under judgment. Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Israelites go (bear in mind that the Egyptians did not reject the leadership of Pharaoh) resulted in a death sentence against the firstborn throughout the land of Egypt. By doing this, God showed a special relationship to the firstborn, and he instructed Israel through Moses what they were to do about it.
This special relationship to the firstborn seems to be visible in the opening chapters of Genesis. Abel brought from the firstlings of his flock to make an acceptable sacrifice. He was not himself firstborn, but unlike Pharoah, his heart was not lifted up against the preferences of his Creator. He wanted to be pleasing to the Lord, and acted accordingly. In contrast, Cain was the firstborn, but he wanted to please himself. He wanted the Lord to like what he liked, instead of learning to prefer what his Creator liked.
In the passage of text we are meditating upon, a heritage was to be passed on – a legacy. It was to be a way of remembering the power of YHVH. It was to be both an example of how to live in a way that was pleasing to the Everliving One, and an explanation of how the special relationship between the Lord and the people of Israel developed.
On one hand Yeshua is the last Adam (I Cor. 15:45). But on the other he is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). He is both a life-giving spirit, and the perfect sacrifice, the one by whose blood I am able to be received before God. There is a Book associated with the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world – the Book of Life! What a privilege to have our name inscribed there.
The writer of Hebrews is surely thinking of these things when he writes of a congregation of the first-born, written in heaven, and of a blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Have you been brought in as an heir to the promise of Yeshua?
Have you been born of the Spirit of God, through repentance? Yeshua preached it to people who were ethnically of Israel, who were in Torah and other Scripture, in congregation, and in the Land. The way had been prepared by John the Baptist, who preached the same thing. Peter and the Apostles preached the same thing. Repentance requires contrition.
Have you come to Mount Zion, as it is spoken of in Hebrews? Have you found that unique and special relationship with your Creator that is available only through knowing Yeshua? If you don’t understand, or even if you can’t accept the things revealed in Scripture, pray and ask for help and understanding from the Heavenly Father. If you doubt that he is really able to meet you and commune with you daily by the Holy Spirit, just pray, asking him to reveal to you whether this is true.
Let’s strive to enter more fully than ever into the heritage of our new birth. As we pray together for the peace of the earthly Jerusalem, let’s also make sure we have been brought in to the heavenly Jerusalem together in Yeshua haMashiach. That means both facing toward our Creator, and being brought in ourselves, and also – helping others to be brought in.
* This is one of those cases when nit-picking the handling of tense in translation can be counterproductive. The expression is, “vehayah ki-yebi’akha YHVH”. Here is another possible rendering: “And it shall be when YHVH shall have brought you…” 🙂