Thursday, June 16, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Exposing the Darkness

Torah Portion: Nasso (Numbers 4:21-7:89)
Gospel Reading: 1 John 1:5-9; John 8:2-12
Commentary by: Chris Knight

This week we read about laws regarding restitution, the woman suspected of adultery, nazarite vows, and uncleanness outside the camp. I want to focus in on the passage regarding adultery and God’s attitude toward the exposure of sin. When we read this passage of Numbers, we see that it is concerning a wife suspected of adultery, who has decided to cover up her sins. No witnesses, no proof, no evidence. God gives the prescription; a most embarrassing ceremony that will bring the truth to light whether for good or bad. Too often this is our tendency as humans. Sin is almost always accompanied with guilt, fear, and embarrassment; so why not hide it? Why not cover up the most embarrassing part of ourselves? After all, what believer who professes a life in service to Christ would want their sins against their own savior to be known by their peers?

No one likes to fail the one they love and this is especially true of the one who has an indescribable love for the God of all creation. In fact, we have sought to cover our sins since the very beginning. In the first chapters of Genesis we see the very first sins and the very first human reactions to sin. When Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened and they realized they were naked and ashamed, they hid from God. They sought to cover themselves up on the outside, not realizing that it was the inside that needed redemption. We find the same reaction with Cain. Cain denied his sin and sought to hide it from God. The question is, what should our reaction be to sin and shame? What does God want from us? When we read the beginning of the story of Cain and Abel we read that Abel brought an acceptable offering and Cain did not. This caused Cain to be jealous and angry but listen to God’s response,

“So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.’” -- Genesis 4:6-7

God seems to tell Cain that there are two options. You can do better (repent) or give into sin. He even questions Cain’s frustration, almost reminiscent of a dad saying to his child learning to walk, “It’s ok son. Get back up and keep going. You can do it. Don’t stay down or you’ll never learn to walk.” However, instead of embracing God’s desire for his success and improvement, Cain decided to cling to his jealousy and sin.

God is light, Yeshua is light, and His Torah is light. Light exposes darkness. Light exposes darkness so that we can see what needs changing. It shows us where to clean, what not to bump into, and what doesn’t belong. Light is a tool for the sake of improvement and change. We can choose to stay in the dark, but then we will never grow and never know what is secretly, slowly killing us. The book of 1st John says it like this,
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -- 1 John 1:5-9
God’s light is meant to expose and to cure. To free us from the sins that are hiding in the darkness. God’s goal is for us to have life and life more abundantly. However, when we feel guilt and shame, we hide from the light. We tend to believe that the light is going to add to the embarrassment of our downfall. We see the light as a final condemnation that leaves us with no escape. We continue to hide our sin and let it fester and develop into worse and worse sinful habits and behavior, not realizing that Yeshua wants to use this light to mold us more and more into His image. We can’t clean what we don’t see. We can’t repair damage that is hidden under the surface. We can’t break chains that we don’t recognize. Yeshua beautifully demonstrates His desire to use the Torah as a means of correction rather than condemnation in John 8 where we read this,

“Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’ This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Yeshua stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’ And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Yeshua was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Yeshua had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Yeshua said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’ Then Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” -- John 8:2-12

Yeshua did not condone the woman’s adultery or ignore the fact that she sinned. However, He did use the Torah to free her from death and give her a new chance at holiness. The Torah demands tried, tested, righteous witnesses when it comes to condemning someone to the death penalty. Yeshua tested the witnesses and they dropped their accusation. Since there were no reliable testimonies of witnesses, the Torah rules that she is free to go. He used Torah to set her free and give her life! He used Torah to give her a wake up call. He said to her and says to each and every one of us, “go and sin no more.”

There is most definitely a consequence to sin. There is a final judgment. There is a time where it will be too late for repentance and correction. We must repent, confess our iniquities, and allow the Messiah to change our hearts and behavior from the inside out. The good news is that He is on our side!! He is wanting our success and repentance. When He brings conviction, correction, and exposure of sin, He is doing it for our well being. He wants us to be redeemed while the opportunity is still available. So don’t run from the light. Don’t cover up your sins and flaws in shame. Run into the arms of the only one who can bring you out of the mess you are in and allow Him to shape you into the new creation you are meant to be! His Torah brings life, not death.
“For Messiah is the goal/aim/purpose of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” --Romans 10:4
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” -- 2 Peter 3:9

About the Author: Chris Knight is a 21-year-old Torah teacher from Lancaster, California. He is the founder of Love 4 Yeshua Ministries and is an Associate Pastor and Youth Director at the Oasis Life Center, his local congregation in Lancaster. You can find him at http://love4yeshua.com/ or follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/loveforyeshua/

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