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Lekh L’kha (Get Yourself Out)B’resheet(Genesis) 12:1-17:27

Torah Portion: Lekh L’kha (Get Yourself Out)B’resheet(Genesis) 12:1-17:27

Haftorah Reading: Isaiah 40:27-41:16

Today we read and study the most important Torah portion of the bible. Up until the last few words of last week’s study we know almost nothing of Abraham’s life. We find nothing in scripture about his childhood, his youth, how he came to marry Sarah. Nowhere does scripture describe any of the qualities of his character that brought G-d to single him out to become the initiator of what ultimately turned out to be the greatest revelation in the religious history of human beings until the coming of the Messiah. We can all trace our faith back to this nomad who stepped out and followed G-d.

3o I want us to look at this portion and really let G-d speak to us about our lives and where we fit in to this journey. To begin let’s read Genesis 12:1 which opens with the words Lekh L’kha. In Hebrew these two words, lekh and l’kha are spelled exactly the same but with different vowel markings. For this reason they are pronounced differently. In English we read these two words as “Go out.” However, the words mean so much more than just go out. To translate these two words more accurately it would be, “Go to yourself.” Your question this week was what does it mean to go to yourself? Give me your thoughts.

As we talk in the next few minutes I want each of you to consider what it means to go to yourself. Maybe to some of us G-d is saying, “Begin to live the life I have chosen for you.” Or it could be G-d asking us to become who He created us to be. It could be something else G-d is speaking to you today.

I received a great response to my question this week. This person’s answer struck me as being pretty close to the heart of what this phrase means. He wrote, “at this point in history, all things came together so I could be here now.” G-d brought him to a specific time and place to represent Him to people in need. G-d has a purpose for each of us, for each day, that is our G-d given mission in life. It could be to comfort someone who is struggling in life. It could be to step in to a situation and just be there, to be present when a person is hurting. Never think you have no purpose. G-d breathed life into you for just such a time when you can reach out beyond yourself and comfort and help.

Here in our portion I believe G-d was telling Avraham there is more, become who I created you to be. Don’t let this seem overwhelming to you. G-d was with Avraham and He will be with you. Remember Avraham lived in a world of idol worshippers. He lived in a place where the weak were at the mercy of the powerful. 

 

G-d came to him and told him to leave it all behind. The pull to assimilate is strong. In our head we hear, “just be like everyone else, don’t make waves, just blend in.” So G-d was asking Avraham to separate himself from what was around him and follow G-d to what G-d had for him. G-d was urging him to take the first step down the road toward becoming who G-d created him to be.

For Avraham to step into G-d’s plan he had to put G-d’s calling above all else. In Matthew 8:21-22 we read Yeshua telling His disciples, “Another disciple comes to Him, L-rd, first let me go and bury my father.” But Yeshua told him, “follow Me and let the dead bury their own dead.” What was Avraham’s response to G-d? In Genesis 12:4 scriptures records it like this, “So Avraham departed as the L-rd had spoken to him.” Notice there was no argument, no excuse for why he couldn’t go right now. He left. Often we tell G-d, “just let me arrange things or let me take a bit of time to make changes in my life.” If we delay, often the words G-d has spoken to us begin to fade.

You may be thinking, “At this stage in my life I have already done all this.” I believe this is an on-going process of moving close and closer to G-d’s best for us until we draw our last breath. So don’t relax and say I’ve arrived. We should all still be on the journey.

Following G-d does not mean we will not have problems and our life will be easy. Look at Avraham’s life as he followed G-d. In Genesis 12:10, after arriving in the land of promise, he had to endure a famine, his nephew was taken prisoner, his wife was barren. Do you think he ever looked up to G-d and asked why have you brought me here to a land of wars, no food where everything is more difficult?

Have you ever had this experience in your life? Difficult times are the time when our faith is tested. These are also the times when our faith can falter. These are the times when we are called to hold on, to remember how G-d called us and said, “follow me.” He loves you and has promised to never leave you. We can rest in the fact that G-d is still there.

The word Hebrew, ivre, means to cross over. Avraham was called the Hebrew in Genesis 14:13. All the world may be on one side but G-d has called us to be on the other. G-d expects us to carry on even if it seems we are the only one doing so. He desires us to be and to do what He has created us to be. We are the other. In some ways we too have crossed over.