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December 22, 2018 (14 Tevet 5779) Vayechi "and he lived"

Vayigash

“and he approached”

Genesis 44:18-47:27

Ezekiel 37:15-28

John 5:1-47

This Torah study in Hebrew titled “Vayigash” means “and he approached.” It teaches us that in life our choices sometimes separate us from our family and loved ones, but with God’s help we can be united again, if we try. It is God’s desire for us to be reunited, then we can be that mighty force God intended.

Additional Scripture

Acts 2:1 Deuteronomy 32:30

Romans 10:8-13 Genesis 21:33

Vayigash “and he approached”

The Torah portion this week is titled “Vayigash #5066” in Hebrew and means “and he approached.” It is in Genesis 44:1-47:27.

Genesis 44:1 records Judah interceding for Benjamin.

Genesis 45:1 records Joseph revealing himself to his brothers.

Genesis 46:1 records Jacob’s journey to Egypt.

Genesis 46:28 records Jacob settling in Goshen.

Genesis 47:1 records Joseph dealing with the famine.

The Haftarah or prophets portion is in Ezekiel 37:15-28.

Ezekiel 37:15-28 declares that God will unite Israel and Judah.

The Gospel portion is in John 5:1-47

John 5:1 records Christ healing the paralytic man.

John 5:10 records Jesus healing on the Sabbath.

John 5:17 records Yeshua is equal with God in nature, power and authority.

John 5:31 records the witness of John the Baptist.

John 5:37 records the witness of the Father.

John 5:39 records the witness of the Scriptures.

Vayigash “and he approached”

Torah Portion

Genesis 44:18-47:27

Genesis 44:18 (Interlinear Bible) reads, “And Judah came near “Vayigash #5066” to him and said, oh my lord, please let your servant speak a word in the ears of my Lord, and let not your anger glow on your servant, for you are like Pharaoh.” This is where our Torah study gets its title.

Judah “Vayigash” approached the second highest leader in all of Egypt to plead for his brother Benjamin’s life. In the previous chapter, we learned Benjamin allegedly stole a silver cup from the Egyptian ruler, but in reality, the Egyptian ruler is Joseph their brother, who planted the cup. He hasn’t revealed himself to them yet but has devised a test. “Joseph as Zapnath Paanaeh #6847, second most high in all the land of Egypt demanded that the youngest son (Benjamin), the presumably guilty one, become his slave for the offense. Genesis 44:17 reads, “But he said, ‘far be it from me that I should do so; the man in whose hand the cup was found, he shall be my slave. And as for you, go up in peace to your father.’”

Joseph tested them. Would the brothers leave Benjamin, their youngest brother who was the son of Rachel, instead of their mother Leah, as a slave in Egypt Like they did years earlier with Rachel’s other son Joseph, when they sold him as a slave? Or would it be different this time? Judah answers Joseph’s question.

“Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, it will happen, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die. So your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave. For your servant became surety for the lad to my father, saying ‘if I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father forever.’ Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad as a slave to my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers. For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father?” (Genesis 44:30-34)

In the preceding verses, Judah explained to Zapnath Paanaeh (Joseph) that his father would die of grief if he lost Benjamin, the only surviving son of Rachel, so he offers himself as a slave in Benjamin’s place. Instead of the envy, jealousy and indifference he had shown to his family in the past, Judah now offers his own life to save Benjamin. (One thing has to be noted here, Judah #3063 meaning praise, repented of his past sins and selflessly offers himself for his brother’s stead, maybe in effect cleansing and making righteous the lineage of the Messiah. Just something to think about.)

In Genesis 45:1-5, Zapnath Paanaeh reveals himself as their brother (Joseph). In previous meetings, Joseph as Zapnath Paanaeh, spoke through an interpreter. So in Genesis 45:3b it says that the brothers were dismayed. They could not believe their ears. Joseph had to tell them twice that he was their brother. Their minds must have been racing. Had they not sold Joseph as a slave? Surely, he would have died by now, could this be true? This Egyptian ruler, who held their lives in his hand was their brother! Wow!

Genesis 45:5 reads, “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”

Joseph knew now God had worked through his brothers’ evil plans and detestable actions to preserve not only Jacob’s family, but also the lives of many thousands in the land of Canaan and Egypt. As amazing as that is, what do you imagine Joseph would have thought if he had known the whole truth, that all of this would eventually save the whole world?

Genesis 46:1-7 is the Abrahamic covenant being reaffirmed with Jacob, as it had been with Isaac and would be with Joseph. Genesis 46:3 (interlinear Bible) reads, “(vayahamar #559 ahniki #576 ha El #410) “He said, I am God”, “the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.’” Here, the Lord may have been revealing Himself, not only as the God who always was, but also as the God who always is and the God who always will be. El Olam #5769 (Genesis 21 v 33)

Next, Genesis 46:28-34 34 tells of Jacob and his people settling in the land of Goshen.

Goshen is an area in the Nile River Delta that is well watered. It is an ideal place to raise all kinds of livestock. The Egyptian word “Goshen” is a kindred word or a derivative of the Hebrew word “Geshem #1653 meaning rain, rainy or showers.” Genesis 46:33-34 reads, “So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘what is your occupation?’ That you shall say, ‘your servant’s occupation has been with livestock from our youth even until now, both we and also our fathers,’ that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”

This is how blinding prejudice is. In a land that is experiencing a famine undoubtedly caused by a drought, rain, water and livestock are considered a blessing from God. In spite of this, the Egyptians refer to shepherds as an abomination, a term implying the strongest sense of revulsion and distaste. But God uses the racial and ethnic prejudice of the Egyptians to sanctify, set apart in a blessed place, His children, 66 members of Jacob’s family, descendants of Abraham, as a way of preserving their ethnic and spiritual identity. God did not want them intermarrying with the Canaanites, so He moved them. God did not want His children intermarrying into the Egyptian bloodline, so He used the Egyptian’s own prejudices to keep them separate, to keep them sanctified, to give them the most fertile, well-watered, productive land in all of Egypt. Amen.

“Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, ‘your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and your brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. And if you know any competent man among them, then make them chief herdsman over my livestock.’” (Genesis 47:5)

Genesis 47 describes how Joseph deals with the famine in Egypt.

Genesis 47:13-14 says, “Now there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, for the grain which they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.”

During the first years of famine, Joseph sold grain from the stores that had been gathered up the previous seven years until there was no money left for people to spend. After the money ran out the people of the lands traded their livestock in exchange for bread that year. When there was nothing left of their herds, the people sold their land and themselves into the hand of Pharaoh.

Genesis 47:23-24 reads, “then Joseph said to the people, “indeed I have bought you and your land this day for Pharaoh. Look, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the harvest that you shall give 1/5 to Pharaoh. 4/5 shall be your own, as seed for the field and for your food, for those of your households and as food for your little ones.”

Though the people’s lives were saved and they were grateful, there was now a 20 percent tax on all future crops, and all the land belonged Pharaoh, except for Goshen. God greatly enriched Joseph’s family. God gave the Israelites the wealth of the land of Egypt and He will do so again in the future.

In life there are choices that separate us from our families and loved ones. Sometimes the choices of our families and loved ones separate them from us, but with God’s help we can be reunited, if we try. It’s God’s desire that we be reunited, because, then we can become the mighty force He intends for us to be.

Haftarah Portion

Ezekiel 37:15-28

Ezekiel’s message is: One kingdom, one king.

God Himself desired the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah to be made whole under David. In Ezekiel 37:26 it reads, “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst for evermore.” Amen.

God wanted them to have peace, “shalom #7999 in Hebrew means peace.” But, it also means to be complete, to be whole. God wants us all to be whole, and of one mind, one accord Amen. It is a simple fact that phenomenal results occur when people work as one, as a whole. Acts 2:1 reads, “when the day of Pentecost came, they were all with one accord in one place.” Amen.

You know the story of the first church in Acts. Mighty and great things happened as they prayed. When people or nations become cemented together by a godly goal it produces unity. When God’s kind of unity is at work among people, nations, ministries, businesses, organizations, teams or couples they become a mighty force that can and will reach goals. Then the vision God has ordained for them and placed in their hearts will keep them together bearing fruit.

One day, one Kingdom, one King, one new man, one accord. One day? Today?

Gospel Portion

John 5

In chapter 5 of John, Yeshua heals the lame man at Bethesda, but He, Yeshua, makes it plain He is not doing these things (miracles) on His own accord. John 5:19-21 reads, “Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.’”

Even Jesus Christ plays by the rules and works as a team, He works as a team with the Father and the Holy Spirit to accomplish what God has ordained. It’s these established principles that produce mighty works in this earth.

God wants us to know that while we can do mighty things in Him on our own, when we work as a team, wow. Deuteronomy 32:30 reads, “How could one chase 1000, and two put 10,000 to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had surrendered them?” And Ecclesiastes 4:12 echoes this sentiment. “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Amen.

God does not want you, His people, His church or His nation to be divided. There’s too much adversity out there now. God wants us to be strong together so we can prevail. Whatever is dividing you, old hurts, old resentments, old wrongs, let them go like Joseph did and allow God’s blessings to flow into your life. Forgive. Overcome. Have peace. Shalom. This is especially true in marriages; God wants us to be one “echad #259”

Would you like to have peace in your life? Are you tired of being alone? In Jesus it’s as easy as ABC.

A. Admit, admit you have sinned and you are sorry you did.

B. Believe, believe Jesus died for that sin then rose from the grave three days later.

C. Confess, confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and make Him King in your life.

If this is what you want, if you want to belong forever to a family read Romans 10:8-13 then pray that and say, “Father fill me with Your Spirit that I too can be one in You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Bibliography for Vayigash “and he approached”

Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible words, Thomas Nelson publishing, 1996

Interlinear Bible, the, Hendrickson publishing, 2006

New King James Version of the Bible Thomas Nelson publishers, 2007