Torah: B’resheit (Genesis) 47:28-50:26
Haftarah: Melekhim Alef (1 Kings) 2:1-2:12
B’rit Chadashah: Yochanan (John) 13:33-14:31
In Chayei-Sara, we saw how the Bible is the unfolding story not of men, but of God, and demonstrates this by showing the passing of the torch from one generation to the next as a recurring theme. This week’s parashah has a similar theme, but more than focusing on the change of the generation, it focuses on the charge of the former generation to the next. Jacob gives Joseph his final instructions, including where to bury him. He goes on to bless all of his sons, and implicit in those blessings are prophetic promises and warnings that in themselves constitute instructions for those with ears to hear. For example, Rashi teaches that the blessings to Zebulun and Issachar are related, so that Zebulun would grow strong in commerce so as to be able to support the scholars that would come from the tribe of Issachar. We see this same pattern in King David’s instructions to Solomon and to Yeshua ben David’s instructions to His disciples on the eve of His Sacrifice.
All too easily we cast aside the wisdom and instruction of the former generation when it comes time to take charge ourselves. As I type this, the United States are in the midst of a financial and economic crisis that could have been averted had we remembered the lessons of the Great Depression. We were so foolish and greedy that we not only did not heed those lessons, we changed the laws to remove the safeguards that were put into place after the Depression. And if the Lord tarries, another generation will rise up that will forget the lessons of our own.
The same takes place in many Messianic and Evangelical congregations. All too easily we cast aside the accumulated wisdom of the rabbis and great Christian expositors under the guise of Sola Scriptura. Of course, the Scriptures are supreme and we must carefully test every teaching we receive to make sure that it is true (Acts 17:11), but did Solomon despise the advice of his father David just because he already had the Torah? Neither should we lightly cast aside the wisdom of our fathers, though we should always be prepared to carefully examine and test it.
Today the West is in the midst of civilizational collapse, not simply because we ignored the financial lessons of the Depression, but because we have ignored the great instruction of our Father in Heaven and of all the many generations that have preceded us to bear His Word. The very truth of Scripture is despised even by those who call themselves Jews and Christians. We have let ourselves become lukewarm in the name of seeking the approval of men and will therefore be vomited from our Messiah’s mouth.
Let us pray that our children’s generation learns from our mistakes and, if our King tarries, rebuild on the ruins of our foolishness. But in the meantime, though it is probably too late to turn back our civilization from the cliff, let each of us individually and our assemblies corporately hearken to our Father’s instruction and turn each of us from our sin.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction
And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;
Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head
And ornaments about your neck. (Pro. 1:8)