Parasha With Passion – Weekly Torah Reading Cycle – Week #17
In Parashat Yitro, Yitro (Jethro) counsels Moses, Moses raises up elders, God visits His people at Mount Sinai, the people become afraid, and God gives Israel the Ten Commandments.
Encounters That Make Us Better
In our Torah reading this week, Moses finds himself exhausted, listening to a litany of cases as the only judge for the entire community. However, Moses’ encounter with his non-Jewish father-in-law, Yitro, provides him with the wisdom he needs to successfully lead God’s people.
Moses embraces Yitro’s recommendation to delegate authority by raising up elders to assist him in governing God’s people. Yitro’s recommendation gave Israel a life-long blueprint on how to function as a nation.
Over the years, I have learned to see every encounter as an opportunity for me to grow and to hear from God. In our Torah lesson, we learn that God will often speak to us through people. We also learn that the message is more important than the messenger.
God used Yitro to facilitate a breakthrough that Moses was unable to reach on his own. We limit ourselves when we can only experience God from our point of reference.
Moses’ encounter with Yitro teaches us that our encounters with those different from us can be an asset and will often make us better people. Moses’ encounter with Yitro made him a better leader. Moses’ encounter with Yitro reminds us that transformation (being made better) is essential to the Jewish experience.
Long ago, I decided that I did not want a “homogenous experience” in my walk with God. God has given me a broad reach in the Body of Messiah.
I love to discuss the theological works of Wesley, Spurgeon, and Wigglesworth. I also love to discuss Torah, and the works of Maimonides, Rashi, and Akiva. God has taught me to eat the meat and throw out the bones, by doing so I get the “choice meat” of what the Christian world and the Jewish world has to offer.
This diversity has made my spiritual life just as enriched and well-rounded as my natural life. God has cultivated within me a heart that appreciates the various ways He moves throughout His Body and the various expressions of worship that glorify Him. God has expanded my capacity for Him because I’m open to take the best parts of the Baptist experience, or the Jewish experience, or the Pentecostal experience and use these experiences to enrich my walk with God.
I get nervous in environments where everyone thinks the same, looks the same, and have the same thoughts, and opinions. Where is the room for growth?
What I love about Messianic Judaism and the Jewish world in general, is that there is much room for thoughts, opinions, and expressions about the wonders of God. The encounters that I experienced in both the Christian world and in the Jewish world have equally enriched my walk with Yeshua.
My encounters with my Jewish friends have made me a better believer. I pray that my zeal and inspiration for God has inspired you to walk stronger in your Jewish faith.
What Can We Learn From One Another?
I have experienced so many Yitro encounters in my walk with God. I have witnessed Jewish friends yearn for the deep personal relationship with God that Christians speak of so naturally. I have witnessed Christian friends eagerly embrace Jewish culture and traditions to enrich their walk with God.
Moses’ encounter with Yitro shows us that our spiritual lives can be enriched by learning from the faith and spirituality of those different from us.
In our Torah Portion, God desired to bring Israel close to Him. But, they were afraid of the thunder, the lightning, and the shofar blasts. Instead, of coming near to God, Israel stayed at a distance and did not draw close to Him.
“All the people witnessed the thundering and the lightning, and the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled and stood far off.”
In (Exodus 20:18), Israel told themselves that this move of God was a source of fear. This fear blinded Israel from the possibility that this great experience with God would bless them.
Today, let us be open to the God encounters and the Yitro encounters that God will send to bless us and make us better. There is a river flowing in the Kingdom of God. In these latter days there will be a divine convergence that will unite the various streams throughout the Body of Messiah.
God is about to show us His glory. However, God does not adjust who He is to fit who we are. We serve a big God. Let us allow God to expand our capacity to receive more of Him! Get Ready! – Amen!
Weekly Scripture Reading:
Torah: Exodus 18:1 – 20:23
Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1 – 7:6
Next Torah Portion: Mishpatim