The Shofar Newsletter
THE SHOFAR Newsletter of Bet Yeshurun Messianic Assembly
Good News for the Assembly of Bet Yeshurun
No. 1202 / April 30, 2020
Schedule of Gatherings
2020 Holy Day Schedule (BYA Gatherings to resume later)
5/18 Shavuot (Feast of Weeks and the 3rd month of the Divine Year) *
2020 Schedule for Reading the Bible in One-Year
Torah; Bemithbar (In the Wilderness); Book of Numbers
4/24 - Chapters 25 – 28 4/25 - Chapters 29 – 32 4/26 - Chapters 33 – 36
Torah; Devarim (Words); Book of Deuteronomy
4/27 - Chapters 1 – 4 4/28 - Chapters 5 – 8 4/29 - Chapters 9 – 12
4/30 - Chapters 13 – 16 5/1 - Chapters 17 – 20 5/2 - Chapters 21 – 24
5/3 - Chapters 25 – 28 5/4 - Chapters 29 – 32 5/5 - Chapters 33 – 34
Nevi’im; Yahoshuah (Yah is Salvation); Book of Joshua
5/6 - Chapters 1 – 4 5/7 - Chapters 5 – 8 5/8 - Chapters 9 – 12
5/9 - Chapters 13 – 16 5/10 - Chapters 17 – 20 5/11 - Chapters 23 – 24
Nevi’im; Shophetim (Judges) Book of Judges
5/12 - Chapters 1 – 4 5/13 - Chapters 5 – 8 5/14 - Chapters 9 – 12
5/15 - Chapters 13 – 16 5/16 - Chapters 17– 21
Nevi’im; Shemu’El 1 (Heard of El) First Book of Samuel
5/17 - Chapters 1 – 4 5/18 - Chapters 5 – 8 5/19 - Chapters 9 – 12
5/20 - Chapters 13 – 16 5/21 - Chapters 17 – 20 5/22 - Chapters 21 – 24
5/23 - Chapters 25 – 28 5/24 - Chapters 29 – 31
Nevi’im; Shemu’El 2 (Heard of El) Second Book of Samuel
5/25 - Chapters 1 – 4 5/26 - Chapters 5 – 8 5/27 - Chapters 9 – 12
Interested in joining Bet Yeshurun Assembly? Please contact Pastor ObadiYah by email, telephone, mail, or in person at a gathering of Yahushuah’s Body.
Prayers and Forgiveness
(Mark 11:25-26) "Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against any one, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
This article for Bet Yeshurun Assembly (BYA) continues a Bible study series on Yahushuah’s commandments, words and sayings. We previously studied a teaching on how to get prayers answered. The opening passage has another prayer lesson. We must learn to forgive, as our prayers can and will be hindered by our grudges and grievances against others.
The phrase “stand praying” was a distraction and led me to overlook the connection between prayers and forgiveness. By focusing on physical aspects of praying such as kneeling, being prostrate or standing, I missed Yah’s spiritual lesson. By sharing a deeper study into His teaching, I pray that it helps lead to a better understanding of how BYA should keep praying for Elohim’s forgiveness, but likewise we are expected to forgive others.
The NKJV Bible translates the word “stand” from “steko.” That Greek word means “to stand firm, persevere and persist.” Thus, this teaching isn’t about prayer positions at all. It’s about being persistent in our prayers and having a forgiving spirit toward others. The New Living Translation (NLT) of the Bible conveys this message well: (Mark 11:25-26; NLT) “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. [“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]
Please don’t take this article as a suggestion to start reading the NLT. HalleluYah Scriptures remain my go-to book for reading. The NJKV is my choice for studies because its English version of ancient manuscripts is pretty accurate and it has many Bible study resources available to use with it. In any event, continue reading your favorite version. Just be aware that some translations add and remove words to make it more understandable and keep in mind this adage, “There’s something lost in the translation.”
For example, in replacing the words “stand praying” with “are praying”, the NLT kept me from focusing on prayer positions. Yet, that subtle change removes an important point about having resolute faith during prayer time. Furthermore, the NLT parenthetically notes the second sentence of the passage is redundant and unnecessary. Although absent in some early manuscripts, like the Codex Sinaiticus, that verse reiterates the need for us to be forgiving. When others commit unintentional, or even willful misdeeds against us, if we wish to be forgiven by the Heavenly Father for our own trespasses and sins, we must forgive those who offend us, as this Gospel attests: (Matthew 6:9-15) “In this manner therefore, pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name...And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
The process starts by being faithfully persistent in prayer. Consider this parable as another illustration: (Luke 18:1-8) Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear Elohim nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 'Get justice for me from my adversary.' And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, 'Though I do not fear Elohim nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.' " Then the Adonai said, "Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall Elohim not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"
While the NKJV text didn’t reveal what justice the widow sought from the judge, I pictured her as seeking the forgiveness of a loan. I envisioned the widow crying for judicial relief to avoid losing her home over a debt that her now-deceased husband couldn’t pay back. Few judges will side with a destitute widow over the interests of a big bank. So in my mind, I understood a judge’s reluctance to relieve her distress. Yet, he eventually comes to her aid, and his response is in keeping with Yah’s will for Believers toward widows. (Psalm 68:5) “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is Elohim in His holy habitation.”
Does anyone want the Heavenly Father to limit His forgiveness of our mistakes and wrong-doing? Likewise, we must extend that same unlimited forgiveness toward others. Still I wondered, as did Peter, how much can a Believer be expected to bear? Our answer? Without limit! (Matthew 18:21-35) Peter came to Him and said, "Adonai, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Yahushuah said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife, children, and all that he had, to make that payment. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.' And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that was done. Then his master, after he called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you from his heart doesn’t forgive his brother’s trespasses."
The importance of forgiveness can be found within over 100 verses that use a Hebraic or Greek word for it. That’s plenty of Scripture for BYA to further investigate and reflect upon. For example, check out YAH’s Way of forgiving as described in “aphiemi” (G863). Strong’s Concordance says that Greek word means to “send away, yield up, let go, let alone, let be, allow, disregard, forgive, give up, keep no longer, permit, not hinder, depart from so that all mutual claims are abandoned, abandon.”
Granted, extending forgiveness isn't easy. It's challenging even under the best of circumstances. It requires saintly attributes and most of all trust in following the lead of our King, who demonstrated the ultimate act of forgiveness toward His executioners under the worst of circumstances: (Luke 23:34) "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
Are you thinking of litigating in America’s court system? Looking for justice? Looking for a cash settlement on a grievance? Hoping to avenge a crime committed long ago upon you by imprisoning, or by defaming the perpetrator? Do what must be done, but consider another option. Can you find a more powerful, righteous judge than Elohim? Paul encourages BYA to follow a different path: (Colossians 3:12-13) “Therefore, as the elect of Elohim, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Messiah forgave you, so you also must do.”
Acts of evil never go unnoticed or unpunished by Elohim. Consider leaving the vengeance to Yah and having your prayers heard: (1Peter 3:8-12) “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of YAHUAH are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of YAHUAH is against those who do evil."
Worship services are held online for now during the virus epidemic. Contact us to be notified of dates and times.
Men's Meetings are postponed for now.
Thoughts for Meditation
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Abraham Lincoln
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success until they gave up.” Thomas Edison