Torah Portion: B’resheet (In the Beginning) Genesis 1:1-6:8
HafTorah: Isaiah 42:5-43:10
This week we have the privilege of starting over in the Torah. We read the first chapters of Genesis. We read about creation, we read of the creation of man, the first birth, and the first sin. We have many things to contemplate tonight.
Even in the first four words, B’resheet bara Elohim, (In the beginning created G-d) By the creating force of His word G-d spoke into being that which had not existed prior. John 1:1 identifies that Word as Messiah Yeshua. G-d alone was/is able to create out of nothing. We all bear His signature, His creative power, when sperm and egg unite and by G-d’s hand another soul enters this world. All of this and we are only in the first four words.
We see in His creation, time expressed for the first time, spread over seven days. In verse 1:14 we can go further and see time put into motion covering days, years and seasons. I would like us to look at this verse for a bit and see what we can learn that we often overlook. In this verse the word translated into English as seasons is actually a bad translation of a Hebrew word which most of us will recognize. That word is Mo’adim. What is the meaning of mo’adim? Appointed times are mo’adim. So if we look at this verse correctly we see G-d’s calendar set out as a series of appointed times (holy days) which give rise to years. We see G-d clearly giving us a cycle by which to live and that involves not around some random calendar but one that follows His plan, His way for us to look at time, from the weekly Sabbath to the seven major holidays which reflect His plan for our spiritual renewal. This is His plan for our walk with Him. When we look at these chapters of Torah we see it not as a burden to be carried, but as a love story between our creator and us, starting with a weekly reminder of Him and His desire for us to slow down and spend time with Him and ending in Sukkot, when the final harvest has come and we can rest in having been faithful and lived our life with our eyes not dimmed or our natural vigor not abated. This is and was the plan of G-d from, “In the beginning,” until the last word of Revelations. By missing the word mo’adim time looks like just a series of days none more important than another.
So why have we missed this? Why do we live from day to day as if we are the one in charge? I would submit it is because we still suffer from the first sin. Let’s look at the interchange between the serpent and Havah (Eve) in Genesis 3:1-6. I want us to take a moment to see what appealed to her. In verse 6 she says, “The tree was good for food,” then, “it was pleasant to the eyes.” And lastly, “A tree to be desired to make one wise.” First, what do these three have in common? They are those doors into our spirit. How do we slip into sin today? We do that through things that appeal to our appetite, both physical and carnal. These are things that we deem good but which scripture has said otherwise. Things that appear to be pleasant to the eyes and lastly things that appeal to our ego. The argument of the serpent used all these in effect telling Havah that G-d had held back on them and by eating of this tree they could become as G-d.
To what sin can we relate this? When we desire to put ourselves in G-d’s place or to put something, anything, in G-d’s place, to what does it equate? Idolatry. So the progression was, lust of the flesh, (good for food), lust of the eyes (pleasant appearance) and desire to become like G-d (making one wise). Contrast this with how Yeshua was described in Phil. 2:5-11. So for us today, we are constantly bombarded by these same three temptations. They still pull us, but thank G-d we, through Messiah’s example, have another way, a more perfect way. May we each rise above these and be what G-d has called us to be.