Torah Study/ Slavery

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“‘In that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them.” Jeremiah 30:8. One would think that a people freed from Egypt and Babylon would do away and want no part of slavery, but sometimes it takes a little longer than we would think to free our minds from ignorance.

I have been living in a small town for about a year now. Most everything in the town seems frozen in time, from the town square my parents walked around, to mostly the same staple eateries. Change is something that has to happen gradually for folks here, if it’s too abrupt people can’t seem to swallow it. A dear friend reminded me of this today by sending out a quote from Mary Shelly, who once said, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” Our small town is pushing to let go of a law that’s been in effect since the 1920’s. They’ve been prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol for decades. Of course you can get alcohol here, you just have to go through the drive thru of the local bootlegger who is well known by most folks in the town, including the police. Matter a fact, I hear in some places the police call and warn the bootlegger before they head for a raid. I read an article today about one woman who was able to purchase wine at 14 from the bootlegger here in town. No I.D required. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, alcohol is not the problem, neither is food, sex, or any other substance, its men who are over indulgent. In order to get towns like ours prepared, they have come up with something in-between called “moist.” This is when the people are allowed to have a glass of wine or an alcoholic drink with dinner, but not on Sunday and not without food involved. Many towns like this one, try and ease into the new mindset so the people can adapt. Which brings me to our Torah portion.

I’ve been behind on my Bible studies and posting to Obadiah’s Cave. It’s been a jam-packed couple of weeks, but I wanted to begin this Torah portion with a topic that can be touchy and often misconstrued through ignorance. When we begin chapter 21 of Exodus we see slavery mentioned and rules for slaves. I must explain to you that they were not slaves in the sense that you may envision. What is actually going on here is indentured servitude, of course that was only for fellow Hebrews. Ownership did exist and I am not condoning it. Due to the times and culture, the topic of slavery had to be addressed in the Torah and it had to be eased into. We found that out the hard way in our own nation. Men in Lincoln’s day found verses in favor of slavery and they found verses against it. One God, one book, and may different doctrines.

Let’s take a look at the verses closely.

If you purchase a Hebrew slave, he is to work six years; but in the seventh, he is to be given his freedom without having to pay anything.  If he came single, he is to leave single; if he was married when he came, his wife is to go with him when he leaves.  But if his master gave him a wife, and she bore him sons or daughters, then the wife and her children will belong to her master, and he will leave by himself. Nevertheless, if the slave declares, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children, so I don’t want to go free,’  then his master is to bring him before God; and there at the door or doorpost, his master is to pierce his ear with an awl; and the man will be his slave for life.” Exodus 21:2-6 CJB. By the time we get to verse seven we see more rules for women and the text even implies fathers were selling their own daughters.

“If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.  If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed.” 21:7-8 NASB.

According to myjewishlearning.com, “She is not the amah ivriyah (Hebrew indentured servant) the text speaks about in 21:7-12. In that case, a girl has been sold by a presumably impoverished Israelite parent into a wealthier family on the understanding that she will eventually be married to the master or one of his sons as a free woman. This practice is well attested in other ancient Near Eastern documents. Should the man take another wife, he must continue to support her. An Israelite woman may not be resold if her owner is displeased with her; instead, she must go free without any compensation to the master. Her servitude, too, is time limited.”

Hebrew slaves were given rest on Shabbat, Feast days, and they ate the same food as their masters. When we study more verses on “slavery” we get a much more humane picture of what was going on here for the Hebrew slave, as they were given parting gifts. Here is a passage from Deuteronomy 15:13-18.

“If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, he is to serve you for six years; but in the seventh year, you are to set him free. 13 Moreover, when you set him free, don’t let him leave empty-handed; 14 but supply him generously from your flock, threshing-floor and winepress; from what Adonai your God has blessed you with, you are to give to him. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God redeemed you; that is why I am giving you this order today. 16 But if he says to you, ‘I don’t want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your household, and because his life with you is a good one; 17 then take an awl, and pierce his ear through, right into the door; and he will be your slave forever. Do the same with your female slave. 18 Don’t resent it when you set him free, since during his six years of service he has been worth twice as much as a hired employee. Then Adonai your God will bless you in everything you do.”

In Jeremiah 34 the Lord makes it clear that the people have sinned by not releasing any of the male and female bondservants in the 7th year and He again reiterates that they once were slaves in Egypt until He set them free.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, In Rabbinical Literature:

The following account is drawn mainly from Maimonides’ Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah:

The Hebrew servant referred to in the Torah is of two classes: (1) he whom the court has sold without his consent; and (2) he who has willingly sold himself. The court may sell a man for theft only, as noted above. A man may sell himself (Lev. xxv. 39) because of extreme poverty, after all his means are exhausted; he should not sell himself as long as any means are left to him. He should not sell himself to a woman, nor to a convert, nor to a Gentile. Should he do so, however, even if he sells himself to a heathen temple, the sale is valid; but it then becomes the duty not only of his kinsmen, but of all Israelites, to redeem him, lest he become “swallowed up” in heathendom. The sale of a Hebrew into bondage should be made privately, not from an auction-block, nor even from the sidewalk, where other slaves are sold.”

Slaves were treated horrible, and in order to put a stop to these practices the Torah went into detail. You may remember that Samson’s eyes were gouged out. King Zedekiah’s eyes were gouged out by Nebuchadnezzar. They would pull out their teeth so they couldn’t eat much and they would beat them to death. If they broke something they lost a hand. They were castrated and treated horribly. The Romans would even cut out their tongues so they couldn’t bring unwanted information among leaders that they may have overheard. The instruction in Torah was to save, free, and bring better treatment to those who were in servitude positions. But like all progress, at times we have to ease into it.

Job is thought to be the oldest book recorded. He had this to say, “If I have despised the claim of my male or female slaves when they filed a complaint against me, what then could I do when God arises? And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him? “Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb? Job 31:13-15 NASB.

All the other nations owned their slaves, but in the Torah Hebrew slaves would go free in the 7th year and not leave empty handed but with livestock and abundance just as the children of Israel left Egypt.

Ultimately, when you read about slavery it comes back to loving your neighbor as yourself and that includes everyone. “Never deprive foreigners and orphans of justice. And never take widows’ clothes to guarantee a loan. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God freed you from slavery. So I’m commanding you to do this.

This is what you must do when you’re harvesting wheat in your field. If you forget to bring in one of the bundles of wheat, don’t go back to get it. Leave it there for foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

When you harvest olives from your trees, never knock down all of them. Leave some for foreigners, orphans, and widows.

When you pick the grapes in your vineyard, don’t pick all of them. Leave some for foreigners, orphans, and widows. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. So I’m commanding you to do this.” Deuteronomy 24:17-22.

Even the slaves that were beaten and were under ownership, were gradually given more and more freedom. Even in Deuteronomy we read, “If a slave escapes from his master and comes to you, don’t return him to his master. 16 Let him stay with you and live among your people wherever he chooses, in any of your cities that seems best to him. Never mistreat him.” 23:15-16.

This goes against the laws that were in place at that time among other nations. If a slave ran off they would kill him and if you took in a runaway slave they would kill you as well. Some people treat their dogs in a manner that’s just unbearable. Beating and chaining an animal outside in the cold…feeding them food that is unhealthy, never speaking kind words to them. I see this gradually changing too. Going over some Torah portions are more inspirational than others, but I also believe we need to dig in and learn all we can about our faith. I’ve come to look at it like the dry, wet, and moist counties, it was a gradual change and we are still changing. Now if we could only rid sex slavery and trafficking!

The Scapegoat, the Mediator, & the Favorite

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If you are not an only child, I propose that you and your siblings did not have the same childhood. None of us had the same view from our living room window. The relationship our siblings have with our mother and father is not the relationship we have, as we are all different. Did you know that many people in your life molded you into the person you are? Teachers, childhood friends, co-workers, and of course, our parents and siblings.

Let me elaborate on this and show you how this changes the relationship dynamics in families and helps shape future generations for better or worse. Habitually this has been going on since the beginning of time. It started in the Garden and continued to be a frequent topic. Even Jesus-Yeshua’s family thought he was madly insane and at one point he acted as if his real family were the people listening to him teach, but what about just regular ole folk like you and me? Did your mom or dad have a favorite? A scapegoat? A mediator? More than likely you fit into one of these categories.

“Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” Genesis 25:19 NASB. Yes, we see this over and over in scripture, and it causes problems not just for the children un-favored, but for everyone involved. Rebekah even schemed and plotted and had her son disguise himself in order to get the blessing. Isaac’s son Jacob ends up playing favorites with his own children, and he doesn’t seem to hide it from his other sons. As a matter of fact, the text bluntly tells us, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children” Genesis 37:3. Have you ever felt loved more than all your siblings? Do they tell you that you are the favorite? Or did you feel invisible? An outsider? An attorney?

The jealousy was so toxic concerning Josephs brothers that they discussed over lunch how to kill him. Meanwhile, he waited in the pit they had thrown him in. Can you relate? I guess they had reasons for their jealousy. When your brother is getting a coat of many colors that signifies his ability to prophesy, interpret dreams, and hear from The Father, not only will you be jealous of his favor with God, but his favor with man… and especially when it’s the one man you are trying hard to impress, your earthly father. And if while you are out in the fields working in the heat of the day, he comes prancing along in his colorful coat without a callous on his fingers, you could get irritated. Joseph and Benjamin had a different mother and Jacob also let us know he was in love with Rachel, but tricked into marrying her sister Leah. He favored one over the other.

Siblings born at different times also have different experiences. For instance, if you were born and raised up pretty good before the divorce, before the job loss, the chronic illness, the financial difficulties, etc., but your younger siblings were at a crucial age when one of these happened, they may see things differently because after all their parents were acting differently. If your parents went in debt, started stressful jobs, had mental breakdowns, addiction issues and so forth, depending on the time or your arrival, you will have a whole different view. I once had a friend who had a five-year-old son, and then just a month or two before he started kindergarten her daughter was born. He thought his mother was sending him away to school because she loved the new baby more and no longer needed him. He cried and cried for the first year of school. Yes, even the age of our siblings affects us.

When I was pregnant with my middle son I cried almost every day, was in a stressful situation and lost my apartment in the 8th month of my pregnancy. Financial stress and a controlling marriage put a strain on me emotionally and physically. I know now that it was not good for my unborn child. When he was a small boy he would cling to me, always wanted to be in my lap, and would follow me around. So many families in the Bible had dysfunction and we see the impact of the differences falling upon their children.

Cain was so jealous of his brother he killed him. Horrific. Can you imagine the shame of seeing your parents after taking the life of their son, your own brother? Amnon, Davids son raped his sister Tamar. David did nothing about it and his other son got tired of waiting and murdered Amnon. Families are full of tragedy, secrets, hurts, wounds, and usually, there is a scapegoat, a mediator, and a favorite. Being the favorite is not always peaches and cream as we see Joseph sitting in a pit, fearing for his life.

Very quickly I am going to define these three terms and I want you to see if you fit in any category. A scapegoat bears the blame and is held responsible for all the things that go wrong regardless of whose fault it is. They suffer in place of the guilty. This doesn’t just happen in childhood but in adulthood as well and it can occur on the job, in the home, in religious settings, and with peers. One example would be a person on a sports team that gets blamed for losing the game, or one colleague is held responsible for the bad review, the death of a patient, the cashier drawer being short. In families, it’s, even more, heartbreaking for the scapegoat because they take the blunt for moms drinking problems, upsetting dad, the dent in the car door, the house being a mess, the gloomy mood of the family members and on it goes.

Next we have the mediator, this is usually the middle child but can fall in a different order depending on age difference and gender or how the parents view the child. The mediator tries to bring balanced and is usually unbiased. They are fixers and try to smooth out the wrinkles. They make good negotiators, sometimes getting stuck in-between parties involved and especially family drama. At times, this position of mediator, falls on the oldest and not the middle child depending on maturity and the disposition of the child.

Last we have the favorite. This child can do no wrong and even if they do it’s not their fault. Most parents favor first born children but other circumstances can cause this title to fall on another birth order. For instance, a child who suffers from a sickness or disability can become the favorite. Also a child’s gender, personality, intelligence, and so forth, can cause favoritism, as well as their appearance. The Bible says that Rachel was beautiful, but Leah had weak eyes. Jacob favored the appearance of Rachel over Leah. Children who act out or tend to be mischievous are usually not the favorite. Being disfavored in childhood can carry lasting wounds and heartache into adulthood. Many times parents try to be fair even when they seem drawn to one child more than others. Many problems can occur due to parents giving more financial help to one child, or spending more time with certain grandchildren, making a difference in gifts, birthdays, holidays and so forth. We see clearly that many families in the Bible made a difference in their children and many siblings had jealousy issues. It’s important to remember that we are special in our own ways and we are always loved by our Father Adonai, our Abba daddy. We all have different gifting. Our role in our family is one we can change at any time. Become more aware of how you fit into your family and how your siblings fit. Take steps to defend yourself if you feel scapegoated. Listen to your heart and ask yourself why you feel the need to be a mediator between your parents and siblings. If you feel like you are the favorite, try and include your siblings in the mix and if you see your parents making a difference in you or your children over your siblings, point it out, bring awareness and lastly, love the child you were and the adult you have become. You are special in God’s eyes even He sent an angel to Hagar and the son of a slave woman and heard their cries.

“God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.” Genesis 21:17 NASB.

Blessings!

*Free Chapter* Sickness & Disease

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When I was severally sick with a neurological disease and fibromyalgia, I began to attend a small church with a kind pastor.  I noticed the pastor often looked at me, my cane and my wobbly legs strangely.  On one occasion he prayed for me; it was a loud boisterous prayer, “Lord, get to the root of this sickness, the very root!”  I felt as if the root he may have been referring to was my sin.  He had suggested more than once to me, that sickness can be a spiritual issue.  I wondered if he thought the root was something evil in my life like pride, lust or anger.  I remembered the scripture in Timothy about laying hands on the sick and seeing them recover.  It also said, “And if they have SINNED it shall be FORGIVEN them.” (James 5:13-15 KJV)

Many well-known Evangelist and pastors had prayed over me, but I was still suffering horribly. I pondered this and went over a list of people I had forgiven and the prayers I had prayed for God to search me and cleanse me.  I cried out to God that I knew I had sinned and had things I needed to work on, like most of us do, but still felt awkward in the presence of this pastor.  It seemed every time he prayed for me, it was suggested I was responsible for this disease.  I felt like I was constantly surrounded by Job’s friends in the church.  Of course I was no Job, my past had its colorful moments.  But I had returned to the Father with all my heart, just like the prodigal son and I knew God had ran to meet me, kiss me and clothe me with a new robe.  I was now in covenant with my Father.

The following Thursday night Bible study was quite a shock for me.  I waddled in on my cane and there was the pastor, with one shoe off.  His right foot looked swollen and he was using a cane.  Gout had set in his foot.  Had God allowed this to happen for a reason? I wasn’t sure but I felt quite relieved that a minister that I deemed to be very holy could also go through pain. It was confirmation that perhaps it happens to the best of us. He spoke about how his gout had caused him to get still before God because he couldn’t go to work. How he had a wonderful time in prayer at home resting. Sickness can be an unusual friend at times.

This chapter will enlighten you about scriptures and your eyes and mind will be opened to sickness in a manner you may have never been taught. Have you ever wondered who the first person to become sick was written about in the Bible?  Job would be the first and I believe the next person written about was Jacob.  After Jacob wrestled with an angel all night, his hip was out of socket, and he walked with a limp afterwards.  Indeed, he walked with a limp until the day his sons buried him. Hosea says this about Jacob, “Yea, he had POWER over the ANGEL and prevailed.” (Hosea 12:4 KJV)  Perhaps you have never pondered Jacob’s hip being out of socket? The devil had nothing to do with maiming Jacob, it was an angel!  We have been taught that angels only protect us, this one WRESTLED with Jacob and injured him.

 

Many times the children of Israel were sick or even died because of complaining and bitterness.  Snakes sent from God bit them and the quail they requested came up through their nostrils, the Earth even swallowed some.  “The Lord SENT fiery SERPENTS among the people, and they BIT the people; and much people of Israel DIED.” (Numbers 21:6 KJV)

Miriam spoke against Moses and GOD STRUCK HER WITH LEPROSY and then Moses begged God to restore her and He did.  Yes, over and over again we see sickness caused from SIN.  Now we know this is not always the case, look at Job and all his troubles and there are others that I will illustrate to you shortly.

When Adam and Eve fell many believe we were then cursed and that is when sickness came into existence, but that is not what God’s word says, “CURSED IS THE GROUND FOR THY SAKE; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth… (Genesis 3:17-18 KJV)  The Lord placed a curse upon the ground and the serpent. This curse on the soil is followed to Adam’s son Cain after he kills his brother: “The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you.” (Genesis 4:10-12 NIV)

Now after the flood came and Noah came out of the ark and built an altar to the Lord, that curse on the ground and upon the earth was broken.  “And the Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord said in his heart, I WILL NOT AGAIN CURSE THE GROUND ANY MORE FOR MAN’S SAKE; for the imagination of man’s heart is EVIL from his youth; neither will I smite any more everything living, as I have done.” (Genesis 8:21 KJV)  So God knew that we had evil in us, even from our youth and yet he removed the curse on the ground.

Noah knew that and he planted a vineyard afterwards.  The land would ONCE AGAIN be FRUITFUL. Yahweh goes on to say this… “I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:21-22. ESV) This is a loving God who goes on in chapter nine to say that not just the plants and vegetation would be for food but that the animals as well.

God said this in Deuteronomy, “And the Lord will take away from thee ALL SICKNESS and will put none of the EVIL DISEASES OF EGYPT, which thou KNOWEST, upon thee; but will LAY them upon all them that HATE thee.” (Deut 7:15 KJV)  Now wait a minute did you catch that?  God is going to PUT SICKNESS on people that HATE HIS people.  Wow! That doesn’t mean that every person who gets sick hates Israel! We know that isn’t truth. This verse was more than likely speaking about the terrible plagues of boils and other ailments sent to Egypt during Pharaohs rebellion against God.

Sickness wasn’t something we hear Adam or Eve dying from, nor was it something Abraham or Isaac had, but Elisha one of the mightiest men, died of a disease.  “Now Elisha was FALLEN SICK OF HIS SICKNESS whereof he DIED.” (2 Kings 13:14 KJV)  Elisha raised the dead, made an ax head float, cured Naaman from leprosy and so forth, yet he died in his sickness.  You might say, “WELL, TEKOA, THAT’S THE OLD TESTAMENT.”  However, several missionaries who were with Paul became sick and Paul was not able to heal them, but told the people these men have risked their life for the sake of the gospel.  You can read about Epaphroditus in Philippians the second chapter and a man named Trophimus in 2nd Timothy chapter four.  “Erastus abode at Corinth; BUT TROPHIMUS HAVE I LEFT AT MILETUM SICK” (2 Timothy 4:20 KJV)

Both men were doing a work for the Lord and both men were with Paul.  Now Paul was the apostle who could heal the sick with his apron.  Why would Paul leave a man sick if he could heal him?   SO WHY THEN WERE THEY NOT HEALED?  I hear men and women proclaim “greater works shall we do,” but Paul left Trophimus sick.  Sickness can be challenging to grasp.  Paul told Timothy, “Be no longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” (1 Timothy 5:23 KJV)  The water back then wasn’t fit to drink and the wine helped kill the parasites and bacteria.  So we see wine as a medicine prescribed by the Apostle Paul.  He doesn’t say, “TIMOTHY, DON’T SPEAK YOUR STOMACH TROUBLES, DON’T EVEN CLAIM THEM, LIFE AND DEATH ARE IN THE POWER OF THE TONGUE. TELL THE DEVIL WHERE TO GO.”  No, that doesn’t happen, nor will you find one of these great men of God ever prescribing that formula.

Now, I want you to think about medicine in a different way. 2nd Kings 20, tells a story about a king named Hezekiah.  The Lord told him to get his house in order, that He was taking Hezekiah’s life.  Now this man was Godly, he was not a sinner and when he heard it he began to weep and argue his case with God.   “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.  And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amos came to him, and said unto him, thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; FOR THOU SHALT DIE, and not live.” (2 Kings 20:1 KJV)  Wow, can you imagine being greeted with this type of Word from God?  He was only around forty years old.  We all like to hear a prophetic Word from the Lord, but not one of such doom.  Hezekiah begins to cry out to the Lord and bring before Him how he has served Him with a perfect heart.  The Bible says, “He wept sore.”

Before Isaiah left the court of his kingdom, God tells him to go back and listen to the beautiful promise He gives him. “Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up into the house of the Lord.” (2 Kings 20:5 KJV)

“And Isaiah said, take a LUMP OF FIGS.  And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.” (2 Kings 20:7 KJV)  Yes, good ole herbs, figs and plants can cure many diseases.

Adam lived to be nine hundred and thirty years old, now that’s a ripe old age.  The Bible says Moses lived to be a hundred and twenty years old and that HIS EYES WERE NOT DIM and his natural force was unabated.  He still had the strength of a young man.  No sickness there.

Remember Jesus healed.  However, He didn’t just do it for any reason; there was always a lesson to learn.  I HEAR PEOPLE SAY, “Jesus healed all; however, HE DIDN’T CLEARLY HEAL EVERYONE ENTIRELY.  Jesus has trouble in His hometown and says “A prophet is not without HONOR except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on A FEW SICK people and healed them. 6 And He marveled because of their unbelief.” (Mark 6:4-6 KJV)  So we have unbelief. We also read about a man at the pool of Bethesda who was healed, but we don’t read anywhere in that story that THE MANY others lying there were healed.  Then we have a story after Jesus’ resurrection about a man who was laid at the temple gate for years.  “Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.” (Acts 3:2 NIV)  Now Peter and John walk past him and say, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”(Acts 3:6 KJV)  Now we know Jesus walked into the temple many times, He must have passed this man.

Each time we study healings in the Bible, the process amazes me.  Even from the Old Testament, Elijah laid his body upon the Shunammite’s son who died, and then the boy sneezed seven times and came back to life.  You have Naaman, who had to dip seven times in some water that was far from clean to get his healing.  Then you have the priest who would quarantine the sick for seven days before checking their ailments, but how did Jesus do it? Most asked Him to heal them.  The lepers said, “If you will, you can make us clean,” and so Jesus did.  Blind Barnabas cried out all the more for his healing.  The people tried to quiet him but he would not give in.  One blind man was healed after Jesus took some clay or mud and spat on it and placed it on his eyeball.  Then the man had to go wash his eye in a pool of water.  All the way there the man’s faith was brewing and he was saying after I wash I will see.

The woman whose daughter was vexed with a demon would not relent but had faith.  Jesus never met her daughter, but the Bible says the demon left her the same hour.  Jesus wanted to hear them speak it.  He wanted to know that they believed He truly was able to make them whole. Sometimes He told them their sins were forgiven after He healed them and sometimes He just felt virtue go out of Him, as He did with the woman with the issue of blood.  Other times Jesus DIDN’T HEAL them, He waited until they were DEAD and then He called them to come forth. YES, HE IS AMAZING!

Sickness and disease is mentioned in full detail in the book of Deuteronomy.  There is a list of blessings and a list of cursings.  Most ministers and sheep are very familiar with the scriptures that ring, ‘YOU WILL BE THE HEAD AND NOT THE TAIL, above and not beneath,’ but little is discussed about the curses and why they come.  The 28th chapter begins a short list of blessing, around twenty or so and then it goes on to list the sickness and suffering of curses which far outweigh the blessings.  These things would fall upon the nation and people who worship idols and do not keep God’s commandments and statutes.  Let’s look at some of them.

“The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. The LORD will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the land where you are entering to possess it. The LORD will SMITE YOU with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew, and they will pursue you until you perish. The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. The LORD will make the RAIN of your land powder and DUST; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. The Lord will smite thee with the BOTCH of Egypt and with TUMORS, SCABS and itch, SICKNESS that CANNOT be healed.” Deuteronomy 28:20-24, 27.

The list is much too long to go over, but here are a few more. “The Lord will smite thee in the knees and in the legs with a sore botch THAT CANNOT BE HEALED from the sole of your feet to the top of your head.” (Deut. 28:35 KJV)  So many forms of sickness and blindness are mentioned that it’s too much to list them all.  Also every sickness and every plague and all the diseases of Egypt He promises to bring until everyone is destroyed. These don’t come from Satan, but from God and on a people who are sold out to idolatry.

I hear many people today in the church talk about sickness.  They make comments about lack of faith, wrong confessions and hidden sin,—and they usually blame it on Satan.  Most of the time what I hear doesn’t line up with the word of God. How can we have a miracle—a healing—without sickness and suffering?  Many ministers today think sickness enters due to sin and the devil, but that cannot always be the case. “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, WHO SINNED, THIS MAN OR HIS PARENTS THAT HE WAS BORN BLIND?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”(John 9:1-3 NIV)

Moses told the Lord that he was not eloquent or good at making speeches, but God answers him with this, “WHO HAS MADE MAN’S MOUTH?  OR WHO MAKES THE DUMB OR DEAF, OR THE SEEING, OR THE BLIND?  HAVE NOT I THE LORD?”  (EXODUS 4:11 KJV)

Many would call blindness, deafness and paralysis a curse from Satan.  But we just read God created it.  When we read the New Testament, we find how they prayed for the sick. Today much has been distorted, especially in the Charismatic movement.  Let’s examine this again.

“As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you.  Get up and roll up your mat.”  Immediately Aeneas got up.” (Acts 9:32-34 NIV)

Peter, did not ask God to get to the root of his sickness.  He did not PLEAD THE BLOOD over him or BREAK GENERATIONAL CURSES, he did not BIND anything, Peter did not say, “Aeneas, I’m sorry, but you just don’t have enough faith right now.  Study Hebrews chapter eleven for a few more years, and I will be back to lay hands on you.”

King David said this about sickness and suffering, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Thou art good and doest good; teach me thy statutes.” (Psalm 119: 67-6 KJV)  He goes on in verse seventy-one to say, “It is GOOD for me that I have been AFFLICTED; that I might learn thy statutes.  I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in FAITHFULNESS hast afflicted me.”

Job makes a statement in chapter twenty one about what the wicked man’s life is like.  He says, “Their houses are safe from fear.  Neither is the rod of God upon them.”  He talks about how they spend their days in wealth.  King David speaks almost the same word in Psalm 73:3-5, “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  They (The Wicked) have no struggles; THEIR BODIES ARE HEALTHY AND STRONG.  They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by HUMAN ILLS.”

Job makes a comment to his wife after she tells him to curse God and die.  He tells her she speaks as a foolish woman would speak.  “What?  Shall we receive GOOD at the hand of God and not receive EVIL?” (Job 2:10 KJV)

Sometimes we give Satan too much credit.  Sometimes I think we spend too much time talking to Satan and about him.  Many have been taught that every sickness comes from Satan or hidden sin.  They never take into account that this Earth is getting old and that we have polluted it badly with factories, chemicals, landfills, oil spills, and water that is no longer fit to drink.  Some believe we need more faith and that medicine is not of the Lord.  I have seen countless people go off their medication and become severely sick, especially the mentally ill.

Sickness in a POSITIVE form is mentioned often in the Bible.  If you read the parable of the great supper you will find that the healthy, wealthy and wise in their own eyes, did not have time to come to this great feast of the Lord.  “The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and INVITE THE POOR, THE CRIPPLED, THE BLIND, AND THE LAME.” (Luke 14:21 NLT)

Yes, the wealthy, busy people of the world rejected his invitation but not the sick and the poor.  Why were they so willing to come?  Sickness and poverty can humble a person greatly and cause them to realize that they need a savior.

A man named Saul, whose name was later changed to Paul, was one of the greatest apostles of all time.  Paul didn’t start out that way in fact he was one of the persecutors of the church.  He was one of the main ones who helped stone the Christians and throw them into prison.  And the Bible says that as he was on his way to Damascus he saw a bright light shining down from heaven and he heard a voice and he fell down on the ground. “And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.” (Acts 9:6-9 KJV)

So we have just read how God struck Saul blind for three days.  He got Saul’s attention (or Paul as I will refer to him).  By striking him with blindness, he was able to humble Paul.  We even read here how he fasted and prayed during those three days.  We also hear the voice of the Lord say that he will show Paul how greatly he must SUFFER for His names sake.  Now Paul went on to influence Christian thinking in a way no other apostle could.  He wrote at least seven books in the New Testament, books on how to bring praise and glory to God.  Through his suffering and famine type circumstances, he became a humble Apostle.  He also said he was given a thorn in his flesh, a messenger from Satan to buffet him.  He asked God three times to take it away but God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9)

Sickness may be something you pay more attention to in the scripture now.  Our bodies are supposed to get old. Paul said, “Though OUTWARDLY we are WASTING AWAY, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2nd Corinthians 4:16)

“Remember, “Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died.” (2nd Kings 13:14) Years later a dead man was thrown into his tomb and landed on his bones and was revived. He came back to life and stood upon his feet! He might have died of sickness and disease but God’s word was still shut up in his bones and his bones brought life. Do you really think Satan gave Elisha a disease in his late eighties? No. Hopefully your view on sickness has been broadened and you see that God is in control of more than we realize.

In the next chapter we will look at a very touchy topic, Mental Illness. This is often misunderstood and can cause great pain in the body of Christ.

You are a Warrior

Part of this week’s Torah portion is from Judges Chapter four and five. I have always been strangely curious about Deborah because she breaks all the stereotypes men have set for women in religious circles. Not only was she a judge, she was a prophet and she was very comfortable in her authority. Her gift as a Torah expert was so amazing other Torah scholars came to her to gain understanding. This is the very opposite of Paul’s words, “I suffer not a woman to teach.” Of course, I go over that in my post titled,  Should women be Behind Pulpits? I explain the language and the audience and the goddess teachings of that era and location. If you haven’t read that teaching you may want to.

The men came to Deborah’s palm tree to seek wisdom, counsel, and knowledge. The sages compared her to Samuel in means of prophecy and she had no problem calling the weak men out in her song after victory in battle. However, Deborah’s husband is also strangely curious and mostly unnoticed unless you know more about his name or names rather. Her husband had three names. Judges 4:4 says, “Now D’vorah (Deborah), a woman and a prophet, the wife of Lapidot, was judging Isra’el at that time.” CJB. The name Lapidot comes from the word lapid which means “Torch.” It was thought that he made wicks for the tabernacle because he was unlearned. According to Tamara Kadari and the Jewish encyclopedia, “Deborah’s husband had three names: Barak, Michael and Lappidoth: Barack, because his face was like lightning; Michael, because he would lower (memikh) himself, or after the angel by this name; Lappidoth, because of the wicks that he would bring to the Tabernacle at Shiloh.” When the text says unlearned, it more than likely is referring to his knowledge of Torah and his ability to read or study.

Deborah’s husband, when commanded to go to battle, tells her this, “Barak answered her: “If you go with me, I’ll go; but if you won’t go with me, I won’t go.  She replied, “Yes, I will gladly go with you; but the way you are doing it will bring you no glory; because ADONAI will hand Sisra over to a woman.” Judges 4:8-9 CJB.

Not only does she tell him a woman will get the glory, she takes it a step further and explains to him that he didn’t need her help or any woman’s help because the Lord would go ahead of them and fight. Let’s look at that verse.

“D’vorah said to Barak: “Get going! This is the day when ADONAI will hand Sisra over to you! ADONAI has gone out ahead of you!” 4:14 CJB.

Sometimes it’s us women who need to remind our husbands that God is the one in control and reassure them to TRUST Him and not men or even their own flesh. Deborah’s song in chapter 5 is similar to Moses song and is blunt at calling out the men who were weak or more concerned with money than fighting alongside their brothers.

“Among Reuben’s divisions important men had second thoughts.
 Why did you sit between the saddlebags?
Was it to listen to the shepherds playing their flutes?
Reuben’s divisions of important men had second thoughts.
     Gilead remained east of the Jordan River. And Dan . . . Why did he stay by the ships?
Asher sat on the seashore and remained along the inlets. But Zebulun mocked death,
and Naphtali risked his life on the battlefield.” Judges 5:16-18 GWT.

And why do men, even important men have second thoughts? Because they are weighing their own strength and not the strength of Adonai!

Deborah doesn’t give these men an excuse or cover up their weakness and selfishness. She commends those who risked their life, but as she said earlier, a woman was going to get the glory and she does. Deborah sings the next verses with passion.

“Jael who drove the peg through the kings head and killed him. Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, should be the most blessed woman, the most blessed woman living in a tent.
 Sisera asked for water. She gave him milk. She offered him buttermilk in a royal bowl.    She reached for a tent peg with one hand, for a workman’s hammer with the other.
She struck Sisera. She crushed his head.” Judges 5:24-26.  In the garden of Eden, Hashem told Adam that the snake would crush his head, but Jael crushed the mighty kings head and won the victory. One woman and a glass of milk. This puts a whole new twist on the slogan, “Got Milk?”

If you are a woman today struggling with your authority and gifting, stop. Look at Deborah and Jael and remember what you were fashioned to do. You can take out a whole army with the Lord Adonai on your side. You may have been fashioned from your husbands side but you are a warrior!

A little more about me, Bonnie (Tekoa) Manning

Tekoa Manning is the author of two fiction works, Polishing Jade & Walter the Homeless Man. She also is the author of several non-fictional works, including Doctrines of Demons.

After a neurological illness left her disabled and eventually homeless, Tekoa began to channel her creativity into writing and devouring the Word of Yahweh. She is the wife of a retired police chief, and the mother of three sons. Tekoa and her husband reside in a small town in KY.

The pen name Tekoa means Trumpet; the instrument that unites people at a sudden impulse.

I have a separate website highlighting  my books, artwork, and charities I support!

To view Tekoa’s website click here.

To learn more about and purchase my books click here.

To support my favorite charities click here.

To view and purchase my artwork click here.

For upcoming events click here.

Depression

The post below was originally posted on Facebook, but due to the many comments received I decided to post it here.

“As one who takes away a garment in cold weather, or vinegar on soda, so is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Psalm 25:20.

 

This post is uncensored. I’ve been very depressed lately. Having been raised in a jubilant Christian atmosphere, I was taught depression was a sign of demons, not having peace due to a backslidden condition, a spiritual weakness, a sign that one did not have the Holy Spirit, a sign of torment due to sin, and on and on. Often, I heard responses to people who were depressed, from well meaning folks. They quoted scriptures like, “Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” or The joy of the Lord will be your strength”, “You need to praise Him in your storm.” I am sure most people had good intentions behind their words, but I would compare it to someone telling a grieving family member at a funeral that God needed another angel in heaven and that’s why He took their family member. (Hogwash!) We’ve been made to believe that if we are depressed we can’t tell anyone because it’s a secret like catching a Sexually transmitted disease. It’s not positive. It’s not of HaShem.

While pondering this, I wrote a blog called, “A day The Lord has Made”, and touched briefly on the topic. I just want to say something and please understand when I do that I am not against joy, as a matter of fact, I need some but everyone in the Bible was depressed with a capital D at some point! And let me just start by naming a few. Cain kills Abel and Adam and Chavah not depressed? Noah watches all life die and plants a vineyard and gets drunk. Joseph was thrown in a pit by his own family, placed in prison for something he did not do, and shackled. Jacob was told his son was killed by a wild-beast and when he finally reaches Egypt and Joseph, he tells the Pharoah, that few and difficult have the years of his life been. Well yeah! Job was depressed and asked God to remove his birthdate from the calendar. Jeremiah was so depressed he wrote a whole book called Lamentations. King David’s son tries to kill him, Saul tries to kill him and to just speak of the time he danced before the Lord Adonai would be insane. Naomi was so depressed after burying her husband and her sons she said, “don’t call me Naomi call me “Bitter!” John the Baptist was depressed and so was Paul on many occasions, but he said He finally learned how to be content no matter what.

If no one ever was depressed or fleeing Moab, no one would ever reach Boaz and the house of Bread. Staying in the depression is the problem. Wilderness journeys have a purpose…”You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” Deut. 8:2. The children of Yisrael left Egypt and entered not into the promise land but a dry weary land of cracked earth and bitter waters. Our location is a big factor.

In a years time, I have gained over 20 pounds, been in and out of the hospital and been pumped with more solu-medrol than should ever be allowed. I haven’t slept well since I landed here and I’m extremely tired. Some days the depression makes all your favorite things dull and lifeless. The giants look bigger than the grapes right now but I will continue to trust my Abba Father, my Elohim and I’ll leave you with what Jacob said when he blessed Josephs sons, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day,…Gen 48:15… My God has fed me my whole life and He has not left me, nor you! I am sharing this for anyone else who is dealing with the same in hopes that they realize many people were depressed and that this too shall pass.

Obey the Voice

“Then Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? “Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.” Exodus 4:10-13 NASB.

Many times I have used the verse above as a way to encourage people that The Lord Adonai can use our mouths and fill our mouths with His Words and help us in our times of fear. Jeremiah says almost the same thing when Hashem calls him to be a prophet to the nations.

“Then I said, “Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth.” Jeremiah 1:6 NASB.

One theory is that Moses problem was he had forgotten how to speak Egyptian during his 40 year sojourn in Midian. Others claim he could not have had a speech impediment because he was High Priest until Aaron was given the position. Since Moses argued with God over and over about how he was not qualified, God overrides his objections and commands him to go.

“The Talmud teaches that God’s wrath always leaves a lasting effect. (Zevachim 102a) In this case, Moses was punished permanently for his recalcitrance by the loss of the priesthood. Had he accepted God’s call, he, not Aaron, would have been the Kohen Gadol, and the priesthood would have gone to his descendants; now it was stripped from him and reserved for Aaron (Rashi).

According to writings, it was not just a one time command to go to Egypt and free the Israelites but a seven-day dialogue. It is believed that Moses did not want to assume superiority over his older brother Aaron, who was also a prophet. Due to Moses constant bantering, he and his brother would trade positions. This makes me think of Jacob and Esau and also “the older will serve the younger.”

Many times in my life, especially in my early days of hearing the voice of The Lord Adonai, I was scared to do what He was telling me and also uncertain that what I was hearing was really from Him.

One day the Lord prompted me to visit a friend’s parents’ home who were very affluent and intimidating. He told me to go speak to my friend’s mother and pray for her son. I looked at my beat up car, my school books, and heaps of papers thrown here and there and was embarrassed to even park in their driveway, let alone pray with them. I made excuse after excuse, even being afraid of the dog they had. About two days later I was prompted to send a card or call an old neighbor I had not seen since childhood. I kept feeling led to do it but didn’t. One night a few days later in the wee hours of the morning I heard this, “You wouldn’t dip 7 times if I told you to dip.” I was instantly awake and grieved in my spirit at my disobedience. I went and bought two cards and in my friends mothers, I told her that I had been disobedient and that I was praying for her son and to please forgive. I have no idea what would have happened in that instance if I would have obeyed but two days later I received a phone call from his mother. She said, “Bonnie I received your card today and was in tears. I had not heard from my son in months and he just called and invited me to lunch. The card and prayers mean so much!” A few days later I received a card from my old neighbor and she said, “Funny that the Lord has put me on your heart as I was just diagnosed with Cancer and have been having Chemo. Your card has blessed me so and please pray for me.”

This was the beginning of me learning I better obey the voice.

Please share any testimonies you may have that are similar.

Blessings!