Torah Portion: Yitro (Jethro) Shemot (Exodus) 18:1-20:26
HafTorah: Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6:7
New Testament: Matt. 5:21-30, 15:1-11; 19:16-30; Mark 7:5-15; Mark 10: 17-31; Luke 18:18-30; Acts 6:1-7; Romans 2:17-29; 7:7-12; 13:8-10; Eph. 6:1-3; 1Timothy 3:1-14; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 12:18-29; James 2:8-13; I Peter 2:9-10
Tonight we look at, I think, the only Torah portion named for a non-Jew. Why do you think Jethro was given this honor? Torah tells us that he heard of all that G-d had done for Israel. It seems he wanted to know more. So, the sages say he was honored for his search for the truth. I pray that this can also be said for each of us when we come together each week – that we are seeking the truth. In chapter 19, verse one of Shemot we read where the people came to the mountain in the third month after they had come out of Egypt. As we read on in chapter 19 we see G-d instructing Moses on what to tell the people. He was to tell them how He cared for them, bore them up on eagle’s wings and brought them to Himself at Sinai, and there He proposed to them as a groom does to his bride.
In verse 8 we read their response to this proposal of G-d. They said, “All the L-rd has spoken we will do.” In verse 17 they were assembled under the mountain and it was covered with smoke and fire. The shofar blasts grew louder and louder.
In chapter 20 we come to the giving of the Ten Commandments, which I want to go over later. But here I want us to talk about the holiday connected with this event. In Hebrew it is known as Shavuot or Weeks. It comes 50 days after the Passover. It celebrates the giving of the Law on Sinai. This event was initiated with fire and the voice of G-d. The Talmud says that the voice of G-d took the form of flames that settled on the people. Now I want to look at the connection between this holiday and a holiday celebrated by the church. Anyone know what holiday that is? It is Pentecost. In fact we have churches and denominations built around this holiday and what happened on it. Look at Acts 2 and we see people from every land gathered in Jerusalem. Apostles spoke and everyone understood in their own language and flames of fire appeared. Sound like something you are familiar with?
Why do you think this is the only Biblical holiday usually celebrated by the church? The church sees Pentecost as its beginning so it was easy to take it on as its own. I want us to go beyond that and look at the importance of Shavuot in G-d’s time line for us as believers. When Shavuot is not connected to the other holidays such as Passover, Succot and the other Biblical holidays, you lose the picture of how G-d has ordered our spiritual life. Shavuot is the second major holiday or appointment with G-d that we encounter on our spiritual journey each year. It is the time, when after redemption and becoming part of the bride, we are given the Handbook or what G-d expects from us on this journey. It falls in perfect order when we see it in context.
Now back to the Ten Commandments. Let’s look at each one.
Shemot 20:2 I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you out of Egypt. We see G-d is watching over us no matter what. He just requires we believe Him. John 14:6-7 says, “To know Yeshua is to know the Father.”
Shemot20:3-6 No other gods before Him. G-d and He alone controls the events of our lives. Nothing, government, bosses, spouse can benefit or harm us unless G-d has allowed it. Each of us has a special relationship with G-d through Messiah. Nothing can interfere with that unless we put it before G-d. Matthew 4:10 says to satan, “you shall worship the L-rd your G-d and serve Him only.”
Shemot 20:7 Do not take the name of the L-rd in vain. Our relationship with G-d should never be allowed to cause us to lose perspective. He is your creator, not your buddy, not a little old gray haired man who will give us a pass when we sin. Never forget He is the King of Kings. Matthew 6:9 says, “Hallowed be Your name.”
Shemot 20:8-11 The Sabbath. To maintain our relationship with G-d requires effort on our part. Sabbath is a framework to do that. It is a time when we can focus on what is truly important, to draw inspiration for the week to come, to get our priorities in order. Yeshua patterned His life around the Sabbath. Luke 4:16
Shemot 20:12 Honor Father and Mother. The New Testament is full of verses that speak of this commandment. Yeshua was quick to call people out (Mark 7:10-11) He honored His earthly parents (Luke 2:51) even in His death. (John 19:26-27)
Shemot 20:13 Murder is when we deem another person as of no value. Each of us are created in the image of G-d. Matthew 5:21-22.
Shemot 20:14 Adultery (Matthew 5:28 and Matthew 19:6) Adultery is somewhat like murder. It begins with an idea or emotion that gets out of control. It is our challenge each day to guard our relationship with our spouse from all imaginations.
Shemot 20:15 Do not steal (Luke 18:20, Mark 10:19, Matt. 19:18) taking someone else’s property for your own gain, only thinking about your own needs.
Shemot 20:16 False Witness (John 18:37) Yeshua is the essence of truth. We are told not to judge, not to slander by passing our own verdict.
Shemot 20:17 Covet your neighbors possessions. What causes us to do this? Greed. We should be able to rejoice with people when they prosper. (Luke 12:15) There is so much more to life than things. So as we pass through the waters of redemption we now have the handbook to live by.