Summary: Close out of the Torah reading cycle. Stories of biblical characters and their struggles.

20180922 Parsha 151 Tree of Life Messianic Congregation Houston.

Give up, give in, or give it all you’ve got


Today is the day we close out the Torah cycle that we have been on since the beginning of Tree of Life back in February 2016. We had decided to do the three year cycle rather than the more traditional One Year Torah Reading Cycle.

This morning we have read some of the traditional scriptures for Shabbat of Tabernacles. But as I was preparing this week, rather than a message focused on the Feast of Sukkot, I felt the prompting of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit to go a different direction. Perhaps there is someone here today or in our social media audience that needs to hear this message.

I want to look back over the Journey from Genesis 1 to Deuteronomy 34 and throw in some lessons that we can learn from Yeshua’s own time here on earth. When studying Torah, we find innumerable life lessons illustrated by the various characters beginning with Adam and Eve. I see some concern on some of your faces. Don’t worry, we will still be concluding at noon.

You may be seen this type of poster before. It says, In life you have three choices, Give Up, Give In or Give It All You Have.

We see in the characters of the Bible examples of choices that faced these men and women. Fortunately, the Bible didn’t sugar coat these people. It portrays the good, the bad, and the ugly. They were real people, faced with real choices and they had to make real decisions. Sometimes they failed miserably. Sometimes they tried to ride the fence. Sometimes they were victorious.

Adam and Eve had a choice, to obey one of the few commands that God gave them or listen to the siren call of Satan to be like God. The first couple gave in to a pride that caused the end of Paradise and the introduction of sin for all mankind.

Noah had a choice. Would he believe God and begin the ridiculous task of building an ark that would take him 120 years to complete. All the while he and his sons were building this ark, those around him mocked him. No one would believe him. 120 years! Think of it. Some of us can’t stand to be derided and made fun of on Facebook by people we may not even know. But Noah kept plugging along, every day, heading to the forest for another log. I’m sure in that 120 years he got discouraged. I wouldn’t doubt that he might have wanted to quit. But he never gave up. As a result, he and his family were saved from a watery grave.

It seems like the life of Abraham was one crisis of choice after another. He was a wealthy man in Ur, but God called him out to go. Can you imagine how that conversation might have gone?

Abraham: Where do you want me to go Lord?

Adonai: I’ll tell you when you get there.

Abraham: Which direction do I go?

Adonai: Just saddle up the camels and I’ll tell you.

This was not an easy journey. He was leaving his home and base of business to go to a foreign land. People were not always friendly. Sometimes he was attacked by armies. He fought back. He tracked hostile forces that had captured his nephew Lot from Beersheba all the way to Damascus. He never gave up.

God promised him he would be the father of many nations. This was a little tougher for Abraham. Sarah was barren so how could this be. Abraham Gave In to the advice of his wife Sarah and fathered Ishmael by Sarah’s handmaiden Hagar. This gave birth to a people group that has been at odds with Israel even to this day. Abraham gave in and the cost was great.

Abraham gave in to fear when he traveled to Egypt and allowed Sarah to be taken away by the Pharaoh. It was almost a disaster because Abraham gave in to fear.

Many years later, Abraham and Sarah were rewarded with the miraculous birth of Isaac. But then Adonai told Abraham to take Isaac up to a mountain and sacrifice him. This was a three day journey. Three days is a long time to think about killing his son, the son of promise. But this time Abraham did not give in to the fear of losing his heir. He did not give in to selfishness or self pity. He never gave up. He took Isaac up the mountain and there prepared the altar and laid Isaac on it. Abraham was prepared to give it his all. The son of promise. His miracle son. He gave God his all, even though God had prepared a ram for a sacrifice. Abraham gave it his all.

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