Encouragement from Shabbat and Parashah Eikev
Rabbi Mark Rantz
22nd of Av, 5781
“Shout, O heavens, and rejoice, O earth! Break into shouting, O hills! For the LORD has comforted His people. And has taken back His afflicted ones in Love.”
- Isaiah 49:13, Sefaria Translation
Today is the second Shabbat of our seven weeks of Comfort and Consolation. So significant to our coming High Holy Days, Adonai in His perfect compassion sets for us His very heart, and our need for love, healing, and restoration. Thus, as seen above (in Isa. 49:13), and as the verse just before the start of this week’s Haftorah, Isra’el is reminded again of how valuable they are to Adonai and that they have never been forsaken.
From the B’rit Chadashah, we find an equally corresponding passage where God reminds the redeemed, “Therefore, rejoice, I heavens, and you who dwell in them! But woe to you O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short.” (Rev. 12:12, ESV) Although in our day we are seeing great trouble and growth of evil, Yeshua is reminding us as His Messianic community, that we are not forsaken, we are not cast off and He is coming to us soon!
Like us, today in our troubles, when Isra’el had faced calamity and exile they surely had thought that all had been lost, yet in response, Adonai (through the prophet Isaiah) provides a word picture in verse 15, that no one could miss,
“Can a woman forget her baby, Or disown the child of her womb? Though she might forget, I will never forget you.”
From this passage, we are immediately confronted with the enduring love of a mother. In her 2016 “Motherly” magazine article, A Mother’s Love is the Most Powerful Force on Earth, Catherine Keating reminds,
“As mothers, we have the opportunity to see our children for the pure love they are, and to keep that love as the basis of their upbringing. With every child who grows up living in love, believing in the power of love, we can potentially add awareness, compassion, and beauty to an all too often cruel and ugly world.”
Yet, when we consider that in the physical, there is “no love like that of a mother’s,” we are even more assured that even greater than her is our Father in Heaven who promises that even if a mother was to forget her child, He never will! This is echoed in Psalm 27:10,
“Though my father and my mother forsake me,
Adonai will take me in.” (TLV)
In this, friends, we are given true and everlasting comfort - knowing that the Lord will never leave or forsake us, now, or any time in the future! (Deut. 31:8)
~ Rabbi Mark Rantz
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