Starting October 11, Bethel UMC and Woodlawn UMC are holding services in their churches. Sunday Service at Bethel UMC will be on Facebook Live and will be on Zoom. Please join us by going to email@example.com and leave us a message to get on Zoom. An email will be sent to you in order to join the meeting. Please check the calendar on this website for times.
Torah Reading for October 18-24, 2020
Welcome to the second week of the Providence season. Last week you heard Jesus saying to us “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses [Torah] and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled,” (Luke 24:44). Jesus, then, did something extraordinary. He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. Jesus said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things,” (Luke 24:45-48). With this in mind, let us look at this week’s Torah encoded reading, Genesis 28:10-32:2. In the Hebrew language (God’s sacred tongue) from which our English Bible translation was taken, this week’s Torah encoded reading is called, “Vayeitzei,” translated “and he [Jacob] left,” see Genesis 28:10.
To understand this, one has to first of all identify the double references in the text. On a simple linguistic level which is what we refer to as the first layer of the text’s meaning, the reading focuses on the code “Vayeitzei” translated (And he left). Thus, in the opening part of the reading, we are told that Jacob is forced to leave his hometown of Beershebaand journeys to Haran. In the main part of the reading, we learn that on the way, Jacob encounters “the place” and sleeps there, dreaming of a ladder connecting heaven and earth, with angels climbing and descending on it. God appears and promises that the land upon which he lies will be given to his descendants. In the morning,Jacob raises the stone on which he laid his head as an altar and monument, pledging that it will be made the house of God. Jacob stays for twenty (20) years in Haran before returning to Canaan. During his stay he shepherds Laban’s sheep and survives and prospers despite all his uncle’s attempted deceptions. He marries Leah and Rachel and the first eleven tribes are born.
On a deeper theological level, this week’s Torah reading, “And he [Jacob] left,” has a profound message to us, the Church, the Body of Christ. This becomes increasingly clear when the reading is interpreted in the context of this second week of the Providence season. That is, if we are going to build the Kingdom of God where we are, then we need to have the courage to get out of the box, whatever that box may be. It may be the culture of the land that we grew up in, or our own personal tastes and preferences. It may refer to our fear of the unknown, or what is lying ahead of us. It may refer to a sense of indifference or indecisiveness. Or it may refer to our comfort zones in life. How do we know that? Listen, again, to our text for this week: ‘Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran,’ (Gen. 28:10). This means that Jacob left behind the comfort of his home to go to Haran, the worst place of all places in the ancient Near Eastern world. But it was precisely in Haran that Jacob lays the foundation for the future nation of Israel out of which Jesus the Messiah would come.
Please refer to Jacob’s fourth son, Judah, the tribe out of which the Messiah would come. Question, How could this be possible? Answer, because our God is a faithful and awesome God who has the power to provide for our needs. It is no wonder why God, himself, said to us, “Lift up your eyes on high and see who created these,” (Isa. 40:26). “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth…?” (Isa. 40:28). It is for this reason that King Solomon put it this way “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths,” (Pro 3:5-6). Question, Where, then, can we find the road that will lead us back to God? What do we need to do right now? Listen to what Peter wants you to do, “Rid yourselves of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander,” Then, “Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight,” (1 Pet 2:1-4). Why bother to do that in a time when the world is in crisis? Because Peter says, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” (1 Pet 2:9).
|Adult Sunday School||10:00 AM|
|Worhip Service||11:00 AM|
|Church Wide Bible Study||6:30 PM|
3180 Fort Campbell Blvd.
Clarksville, TN 37042