The Shofar Newsletter
THE SHOFAR Newsletter of Bet Yeshurun Messianic Assembly
Good News for the Assembly of Bet Yeshurun
No. 904 / July 8, 2017
Schedule of Gatherings
7/8/17 Sabbath 1:30 pm
7/9/17 Shavuot/Pentecost(consecutive count) *** 5:00 pm
7/14/17 Shavuot/Pentecost(lunar count) *** 1:00 pm
7/15/17 Sabbath 1:30 pm
7/22/17 Sabbath 1:30 pm
7/24/17 Chodesh (5th New Moon celebration of the year) 1:00 pm
7/29/17 Sabbath(consecutive) 1:30 pm
7/31/17 Sabbath(lunar) 1:00 pm
8/5/17 Sabbath(consecutive) 1:30 pm
8/7/17 Sabbath(lunar) 1:00 pm
*** High Holy Day – No work
2017 Schedule for Reading the Bible in One-Year
Nevi’im; Melakim 2 (Sovereigns) Second Book of Kings
7/6 - Chapters 9 – 11 7/7 - Chapters 12 – 14 7/8 - Chapters 15 – 17
7/9 - Chapters 18 – 19 7/10 - Chapters 20 – 22 7/11 - Chapters 23 – 25
Nevi’im; Yeshayahu (Salvation of Yah) Prophecy of Isaiah
7/12 - Chapters 1 – 4 7/13 - Chapters 5 – 8 7/14 - Chapters 9 – 12
7/15 - Chapters 13 – 17 7/16 - Chapters 18 – 22 7/17 - Chapters 23 – 27
7/18 - Chapters 28 – 30 7/19 - Chapters 31 – 36 7/20 - Chapters 37 – 40
7/21 - Chapters 41 – 44 722 - Chapters 45 – 48 7/23 - Chapters 49 – 53
7/24 - Chapters 54 – 58 7/25 - Chapters 59 – 63 7/26 - Chapters 64 – 66
Nevi’im; Yirmeyahu (Exultation of Yah) Prophecy of Jeremiah
7/27 - Chapters 1 – 3 7/28 - Chapters 4 – 6 7/29 - Chapters 7 – 9
7/30 - Chapters 10 – 13 7/31 - Chapters 14 – 17 8/1 - Chapters 18 – 22
8/2 - Chapters 23 – 25 8/3 - Chapters 26 – 29 8/4 - Chapters 30 – 31
8/5 - Chapters 32 – 34 8/6 - Chapters 35 – 37 8/7 - Chapters 38 – 41
8/8 - Chapters 42 – 45 8/9 - Chapters 46 – 48 8/10 - Chapters 49 – 50
8/11 - Chapters 51 – 52
Interested in joining Bet Yeshurun Assembly? Please contact Pastor ObadiYah by email, telephone, mail, or in person at a gathering of Yahushuah’s Body.
Rumors, Gossip and Hearsay
When I worked in the secular world many years ago, I started my monthly staff meetings with this question, “Does anyone have any rumors, gossip or hearsay?” Before becoming a manager, I often heard the company's latest scoop through my network of associates as we sipped a morning brew around the coffee pot. Back then, getting information like that was a common practice as Marvin Gaye noted in his popular song, “I Heard It Through The Grape Vine.”
While some chitchat was true, much of it was idle talk with hardly a glimmer of truth. Nonetheless, I felt having that agenda item in an open meeting forum would help connect us as a team, plus enable me to dispel any false ideas about our company. I didn’t realize at the time that my good intentions were encouraging a counterproductive form of communication. Instead of helping us converse, I invited a process that can separate people and can even harm work careers. I began to realize that most of the rumors were lies, the gossip was exaggerated and the hearsay tended to be false perceptions often based on inaccurate information. In other words, I was wasting time on fictional reports.
Later after becoming a Follower of Yahushuah, I learned that participating in rumors, gossip and hearsay is not how Elohim wants me to live. I also confess that bad habit is still a struggle at times in my life. So, I decided to do a Scripture study in search of some tips on how to better follow the Way of Elohim. This article will share with Bet Yeshurun Assembly (BYA) some of what the Word reveals about an ancient plague of mankind. It's still very much present throughout modern society, and not just in the Business System I left behind.
I deliberately refer to rumors, gossip and hearsay as an affliction, or an illness, or a disease because it can erupt at any time among people like a flu bug. It can infect one person, a whole family, entire neighborhoods and even assemblies of Yahushuah. If people aren't aware of it, or don't treat it properly, this illness can damage lives, destroy relationships and even be potentially fatal. Yet, it doesn't creep up without warning those who have eyes to see, or ears to hear. So, let’s turn to the King James Version (KJV) of our Bible that we might recognize this affliction when we hear it and for practical tips to avoid getting sickened by it.
This disease comes from the mouth and needs at least three people to sprout forth: (1) a host; (2) a recipient (can be more than one person); and (3) another person (or group) who isn't near the host or recipient. YAHUAH warned Moses and Israel of it: (Exodus 20:16) “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Note YAH's command involves: (1) a speaker who gives an untruthful report; (2) a listener who hears it; and (3) about someone they know. The KJV translates “bear” from “ana,” Hebrew meaning “give account, announce, speak, testify, utter;” “false” from “seqer” meaning “an untruth, a sham; without a cause, deceit, deceitful, lying, falsehood;” and “witness” (“ed” derived from “ud”) meaning “to duplicate, repeat, testify, call or take to record, stand upright.” (Strong's Concordance) In other words, one should not speak about others to anyone without good cause.
Our Redeemer and King reiterates the importance of speaking truthfully as it is listed among YAHUAH's key Commandments: (Mark 10:19) “You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery’, ‘Do not kill’, ‘Do not steal’, ‘Do not bear false witness’, ‘Defraud not’, ‘Honor your father and mother’.”
Mark's above passage was written in the Greek language, which mirrors Hebraic thought. For example, “pseudomartyreo” describes “untrue testimony, false witness.” and is related to “pseudomartys,”a Greek word that describes “a spurious witness, bearer of untrue testimony” by attaching “pseudo” (false) to “martys,” “a judicial witness.” (Strong's) Thus, bearing false witness means speaking untruthfully about someone.
Doctors In America give illnesses Latin names. In Hebrew, this sickness has a name, too: “lashon ha rah.” In English, that's “the evil tongue” for an apt description of a sin that comes from the mouth of people. In the KJV, those who speak rumors, gossip and hearsay are said to: “lie, slander, gossip, tale bear, tell secrets, complain, murmur, whisper, and are busybodies and backbiters.”
Webster’s New World College Dictionary explains“to lie” means “to make a statement that one knows is false; give a false impression; deceive.” In other words, “lying is a purposeful or intentional false statement,” and a deadly sin: (Ephesians 4:25) “Wherefore put away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (Revelation 21:8) “But the fearful, unbelieving, the abominable, murderers, whore mongers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
“To slander” means “the utterance in the presence of another person of a false statement that damages a third person’s character or reputation.” In other words, “slandering is injuring someone’s reputation or character by false and defamatory statements:” (Numbers 14:36) “The men Moses sent to search the land returned and made all the congregation murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land.” (Psalm 101:5) “Whoso privately slanders his neighbor, him will I cut off.” (Proverbs 10:18) “He who hides hatred with lying lips, and he who utters a slander, is a fool.” (Proverbs 20:19)
“To gossip, tell tales” means “to chatter or repeat idle talk about the private affairs of others; to spread scandal or tell secrets.” In other words, “gossiping or tale bearing elaborates and exaggerates the truth so as to make a story more dramatic.” Speaking rumors or secrets spreads malicious words about others behind their back. In other words, it repeats things about others that we have no right to repeat.Consider the wisdom in this adage: “if you are not part of the problem or the solution, it is gossip.” (Leviticus 19:16) “You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among your people, nor shall you stand against the blood of your neighbor. I am YAHUAH.” (Proverbs 11:13) “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals the matter.” (Proverbs 26:20–22) “Where no wood is, there the fire goes out. So where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases. As coals are to burning coals and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are as wounds and, they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
“To complain” means “to express pain or displeasure.” In other words, “complaining is finding fault, or claiming to be annoyed with someone.” (Numbers 11:1–2) “When the people complained, it displeased YAHUAH and YAHUAH heard it. His anger was kindled and the fire of YAHUAH burnt among them and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried to Moses and when Moses prayed to YAHUAH, the fire was quenched.” (Jude 16) “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts and their mouths speak great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.”
“To murmur” means “to mumble, or mutter complaints through low, indistinct, continuous sounds as if from a stream of far off voices.” In other words, “murmuring is the act of grumbling:” (Philippians 2:14) “Do all things without murmurings and disputes that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of Elohim, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
“To be a busybody” means “to mix into other people’s affairs, to meddle or gossip.” In other words, a busybody “spreads around the business of others:” (1 Peter 4:15) “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.” (1Timothy 5:13) “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.” (2 Thessalonians 3:11) “We hear that there are some who walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.”
“To backbite” means “to speak maliciously about an absent person.” In other words, “backbiting is speaking evil against someone else:” (Psalm 15:2–3) “O YAHUAH, who shall abide in your tabernacle? Who shall dwell in your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, works righteousness and speaks the truth in his heart. He who does not backbite with his tongue, does evil to his neighbor, or takes up a reproach against his neighbor.” (Proverbs 25, 23) “The north wind drives away rain, so does an angry countenance, a backbiting tongue.” (2Corinthians 12, 20) “For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found to you such as you would not: lest there be debates, envying, wrath, strife, backbiting, whispering, swellings, tumults.”
Scripture has an example of a “slanderer” inNumbers 12:1–16, whenMiryam (Hebrew name means “bitterness, rebellion”), in league with her brother Aaron, spoke out against their brother Moses because of his wife. They also questioned his authority to solely speak for Elohim. After YAHUAH confronts them for their malicious words, Miryam's skin becomes leprous (“tzara”). That word describes a contagious skin condition, which in Hebraic thought pictures a person’s inner sinful condition. In other words, her skin disease physically manifested the spiritual condition of her heart, thereby revealing a sinful attitude for everyone to see.
Lashon ha rah defiled Miryam, contaminated Moses, and would have spread, if not isolated and cured. Aaron, who initially supports the rebellion against Moses, repents and asks Moses to intercede to Elohim. Mercifully, she heals after being expelled from camp for 7 days. Her quarantine period pictures a return to “spiritual purity.” The infection was limited to one person through repentance and isolation that keptthe sickness from spreading. If left unchecked, her words would be like a forest fire among Yah's camp: (James 3:5-6) “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles! The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. So is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole Body, and sets on fire the course of nature. It is set on fire of hell.”
Personal perceptions led to outspoken words. Miryam's removal from Yah's Body was a form of restitution (a “time-out period”) to stop disease from spreading impurity and contaminating others. Speaking her thoughts damaged Moses and endangered Israel. Everyone was better off had she minded her own business, instead of thinking of herself. The lesson - Be careful when voicing our opinions, about others, especially Yah's spiritual people: (Exodus 19:5-6) "Now therefore, if you obey My Voice indeed, and keep My Covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people for all the earth is Mine. You shall be unto Me a Kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (1 Peter 2:9-10) "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light: who in time past were not a people, but are now the people of Elohim; who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."
So, lashon ha rah can lead to sickness, even death as Scripture teaches in Numbers 16 as another plague infects Israel. Korach, an influential community leader also spoke slander against Moses. His speech appealed to those who didn't place Elohim's Word foremost in their hearts. Yah also dispatched Korach from the camp, along with 250 other family leaders, who died in their rebellion. The lesson - Be careful of speaking against Yah's annointed: (Deuteronomy 13:5-6) "That prophet or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death because he spoke to turn you away from YAHUAH your Elohoim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust you out of the Way which YAHUAH your Elohoim commands you to walk in. So shall you put the evil away from the midst of you."
So, Scripture answers, “What is the affliction of lashon ha rah?” Now that we can recognize it, a good question is, “How can we avoid it?”TheGood news is that itcomes with warning signs. It’s a communicable disease you only get from speaking to another person about someone else. For example, it can infect Speaker A and/or Listener B while they discuss Individual C.
Some naturally shy away from lashon ha rah. For example, Listener B may realize Speaker A enjoys talking about others, and if not present, they're a topic of discussion. Getting away from Speaker A is a good way to avoid the disease, following Yah's Way of turning away from unholy tongues that speak evil against others. The lesson - Choose to speak good words about others to others: (Ephesians 4:29–32) “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of Elohim, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as Elohim for Messiah's sake has forgiven you.”
Harming a neighbor’s reputation and taking pleasure in belittling others can infect Speaker A, Listener B and/or Individual C. Thus, one way to avoid lashon ha rah is to not become person A or B. In other words, we can choose to bless rather than curse others. That process begins in our thoughts and our heart's attitudes, which then flows through our speech. A caustic, destructive tongue used against people, spreads evil in contrast to the positive effects of blessing others. The lesson - A tongue can wound or heal others, bless or curse, bring life or death. (James 3:7-10) “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Elohim and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of Elohim. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (Proverb 18:21) “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
Don't associate with known gossipers, who ignorantly serve as a tool of the enemy and speak in Satan’s name (means slanderer, accuser of the brethren). Participating in rumors, gossip and hearsay will cause arguments, disagreements and dissension among the Body. The lesson - If we partake in that, we actually are speaking for Satan: (James 4:11) “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaks evil of brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law (Torah), and judges Torah. But if you judge Torah, you are not a doer of Torah, but a judge.” (Matthew 12:35–37) “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things. An evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I (Yahushuah) say to you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.”
Another way to avoid lashon ha rah is to stay out of conversations about others. For example, if you are not part of a problem or its solution, stay out of the matter. If someone begins to share rumors, gossip, or offer hearsay, ask whether Individual C offended them. If they didn't, quit listening to the matter. Change the subject. If Speaker A says yes they did, then suggest they reread Matthew 18, which describes a process for reconciling offenses: (Matthew 18:15–17) “If your brother sins against you, go and reprove him between you and him alone, and if he will hear you, you have won your brother. But if he will not hear you, take to yourself one witness or two, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. If he will not hear them, speak to him in the Assembly, but if he neglects to hear in the Assembly, let him be to you as a heathen or a transgressor.”
Some think none of those three steps apply to them. All they are doing is sharing information about what they heard themselves. That is the problem. Whether heard first, second, or third hand, no one should repeat stories except within the context of Matthew 18. Yahushuah teaches that anything else violates His command. That’s the bottom line, plain and simple!
Rather than go behind people’s backs to speak with others uninvolved in the situation, we serve YAHUAH better speaking one-on-one straight with our spiritual brother or sister. It's imposible to withdraw words after they leave our lips. To rectify the consequences of lashon ha rah is a problem for humans. Whether gossip, slander, murmuring, lying, etc. - a simple solution is “if you don’t have something nice to say about someone then don’t say it at all!”
What if you're Individual C and become a victim of gossip. Follow Matthew 18 to verify the rumor. Confront Speaker A, then go to Listener(s) B. While it may seem impossible to erase a rumor, yet with Elohim all is possible. The lesson - Take comfort knowing deceivers, backbiters, busybodies, gossipers and whisperers will not be in Yah's Kingdom: (Romans 1:28–32) “And even as they did not like to retain Elohim in their knowledge, Elohim gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient. They being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of Elohim, spiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. They who know the judgment of Elohim, and they who commit such things are worthy of death. They not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
If gossip has become a bad habit, ask Yah to change your heart, to master the tongue and to speak blessings of our Heavenly Father YAHUAH and of our brother Yahushuah, and of our fellow humans. The lesson – Speak Job's words through all your trials to avoid speaking evil or uttering lies. (Job 27:3–4) “But as long as my soul is within me and the spirit of Elohim is in my nostrils, my lips shall not speak iniquity and my tongue shall not utter deceit.”
Heavenly Father, YAHUAH Elohim, please help BYA to speak according to your Will and Way as Your Son and our King Yahushuah ha'Messiach, instructs. And may your mercy and grace be upon us all as we do so. Shalom, Elder Curt
Saturday Sabbath worship is highlighted by an important new series on the Book of 2 Samuel beginning August 5, 2017. Join us!
Thoughts for Meditation
“Every human being has within himself or herself a desire to reach out to others and to share our blessings with those who are in need. But it's one of the most difficult things to do.” Jimmy Carter, America's 39th President
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” Thomas Edison