Parasha With Passion Weekly Torah Reading Cycle – Week #4

This week’s Parashah is rich and sprawling.  In Parashat Vayera, Abraham is visited by the Almighty Himself and receives the promise of the birth of his son Isaac.  Also, in this week’s Parashah we read about Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah and its ultimate destruction, the incestuous conception of Moab and Ammon, Sarah’s abduction by Abimelech, Isaac’s birth, Hagar and Ishmael’s banishment, and the binding of Isaac. Whew!  All this in Parashat Vayera

Today, let us focus our attention on one small (but very important) verse of Scripture.

Genesis 21:33:

“Then he planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba and called there on the Name of Adonai, the Everlasting God.”

After Abraham’s alliance with Abimelech at Beer-sheba and right before the binding of Isaac, Abraham planted a tree and there he proclaimed the name of God. 

This is a pattern we see throughout Abraham’s life. Abraham proclaimed God’s name and planted God’s attribute of chessed (kindness) by offering hospitality to all who walked by his tent.

The sages explain, that just as the roots of a tree are planted and connected, we too as believers are planted and connected to one another.  At Ohev Yisrael, Abba has inter-twined us (as a community) with His cords of love and compassion at a heartfelt level.  We rejoice with one another.  We experience life with one another.  Also, just as the roots of a tree are sprawling in every direction, we are called to have an expanded reach as we proclaim the name of God.

The Olive Trees and the Menorot (Lampstands) 

This week’s Parashah, speaks of outreach, which is very much the heart of God for Ohev Yisrael.  I recently had an interesting discussion on outreach, relating to the Two Witnesses in (Revelation Chapter 11) and (Zechariah Chapter 4). 

In these two passages of Scripture, some scholars, identify the Two Witnesses as the “Olive Trees” and the “Menorot.”  Many Bible scholars would agree that throughout scripture, God often refers to Israel as an “Olive Tree.” Also, (Revelations 1:20) gives us a clue about the identity of the “Menorot.” 

Revelations 11:4-7

“These are the two olive trees and the two menorot that are standing before the Lord of the earth…. these two have the power to shut the heavens…..When they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the abyss will make war on them…”

 Zechariah 4:11-14

 What are these two olive trees, on the right and on the left of the menorah?” Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two golden pipes that empty the golden oil out of them?….    “These are the two anointed ones, who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth.” 

According to the Scriptures, could it be that the “Olive Trees” (Jewish Believers) and the “Menorot” (Gentile Believers) are the Two Witnesses that join together to preach the gospel in the last days? Thisis a very interesting theory that would take more theological work to validate. 

Sprout like Olive Trees – Shine like Menorot

In Parashat Vayera, Abraham planted a tree and proclaimed the name of God.Likewise, let us be encouraged to always make God known wherever our paths take us.  Let us sprout like “Olive Trees” and shine like “Menorot.” 

When we proclaim God’s name, we pave the way for others to enter into a love relationship with Him.  When God’s word takes root in a person’s life, that person becomes mighty and strong – like a tree planted by the waters.  As each one reaches another, soon our communities, our neighborhoods, and even our cities can become a forest of firmly planted “Olive Trees” and brightly shining “Menorot.”

Be a Witness

“We must do the work of the One who sent Me, so long as it is day! Night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4)

Now is the time to preach the gospel.  We don’t have to wait for Moses, Elijah, or Enoch to appear as the Two witnesses in the last days. God has called us to be a light and a witness.  Now is the time to make Yeshua known, for soon that time will be cut off.  

Weekly/Daily Scripture Reading Cycle

Torah:         Genesis 18:1 – 22:24

Haftarah:     2 Kings 4:1-37

Shlichim:     Luke 17:26-37; Romans 9:6-9; Galatians 3:15-18

Next Torah Portion: Chayei Sara

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