Throughout this last year, the world has seen untold suffering - both economically and as a result of the devastating Coronavirus. With such trouble, religious persecution in the past few years has skyrocketed - where believers in Yeshua are being beheaded and imprisoned around the world at numbers not seen in centuries! According to the ADL’s “Center on Extremism,” anti-Semitism is surging at numbers unheard of in decades. Of this, in 2019 alone, some 234 incidents of violent anti-Semitism were reported in the United States and around the world!
Even with the recent COVID-19 shutdowns, some believe there has even been undue targeting against Orthodox communities (all disproportionate to non-Jewish areas) in New York City, where some have even wondering if the powers at be are possibly using this pandemic to justify religious bigotry? Of the tsuris (troubles) we are all facing many hardships at this time as many are isolated from their families and loved ones Yet, in this there is a Message of Hope found in this week’s Parashah (Vayigash) in Genesis 44:18-47:27, and with it, a reminder of our Calling in Messiah Yeshua!
In Genesis 45:1-11, Joseph is brought to a place of not just healing - but also the necessity of Forgiveness and possibility of full Restoration. In the chapters prior, he had been sold into slavery by his own brothers, suffered as a slave and then imprisoned - only to later be elevated by God to a place of power ad prominence! From a secular-mind, many might falsely think this new-found wealth and power of Egypt would erase past memories, but we all know that no amount of money can really do that! Thus, in vs. 3 he reveals, “I am Joseph,” your brother and the family is again Reunited, Healed and Restored. In reading this, you might wonder how do the events of this week’s Torah portion have ANYTHING to do with us in 2020?
To this, we would have to state - EVERYTHING!
Joseph faced trouble beyond imagination, even greater than ours today and in the end through pain, tears and a healing which only God could provide, Joseph became an agent of God’s Hope and Deliverance not only to his family, but also many thousands of others! For Joseph it began with forgiveness and in seeing a sinful world through God’s loving and forgiving eyes and as manifest in his declaration that what his brothers had meant for evil, God nevertheless intended for their good! In this, we are reminded of the goodness, faithfulness and sovereignty of Adonai!
So, friends, when we see the troubles and experience the hurts of betrayal and rejection for the sake of Messiah - know that today we are also being chosen by God to be agents of restoration to a broken nation and world!
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