Dr. Allen and Dr. Karen Ranney
December 1, 2018 (23 Kislev 5779) Vayeshev "and he dwelt"
December 1, 2018 (23 Kislev 5779) Vayeshev "and he dwelt"
“and he dwelt”
This Torah study titled “Vayeshev,” in Hebrew means “and he dwelt.” It teaches in Genesis that if we dwell in God, if we stay in God’s word and meditate on His precepts, we too can have dreams and visions that He will speak to us through. We also see in the book of Amos there are consequences if we don’t heed what God speaks to us. Reading from the book of Acts shows us that God desires to speak to every nation, tribe and tongue, Jew and Gentile alike.
Numbers 12:6 Acts 6:8-15; 7:54-60
Amos 1:1 Matthew 10:17
Vayeshev “and he dwelt”
The Torah portion this week is titled “Vayeshev” and in the Hebrew it is a phrase meaning “and he dwelt.” “Va is a conjunction meaning and,” yesh or ish #376 means man, he or husband” and “yeshav #3427 means dwell, lived or dwelt. “It is found in Genesis 37:1-40:23
Genesis 37 records Joseph’s dreams of greatness and Joseph being sold by his brothers.
Genesis 38 records the story of Judah and Tamar.
Genesis 39 records Joseph’s time as a slave in Egypt.
Genesis 40 records that Joseph interprets the dreams of pharaoh’s two servants.
Haftarah reading or Prophets portion is in Amos 2:6-3:8
Amos 2 deals with judgment on Israel and the authority of the prophet’s message.
The Gospel reading is in Acts 7:9-16
Acts 7:9-16 deals with the patriarchs when they dwelt in Egypt.
Vayeshev “and he dwelt”
This Torah study is titled “Vayeshev #376 and 3427” and means “and he dwelt.”
Genesis 37:1 (Interlinear Bible) is where we get the title portion and it reads, “and Jacob lived “Vayeshev” in the land of his father’s travels, in the land of Canaan.”
Jacob, his life and where he lived are not the focus of our Torah study this week, as the Scripture quickly refocuses on Jacob’s most favored son Joseph.
Genesis 37:5 reads, “now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more.” Then in verse 9 it says that he (Joseph) dreamed still another dream.
It is said that God inhabits the dreams of His people. “Then He said, “here now My words if there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream” (Numbers 12:6)
Surely, Joseph’s dreams made him unpopular with his family, yet he could not deny the dreams because, surely they were from God. Many, many times, the dreams or visions given to God’s chosen, be they prophets, kings or ordinary people, were not readily accepted by the people they were intended for.
The word dream or dreamed was used 10 times in the seven short verses from Genesis 37:5-11. With the word used that many times I felt it needed a closer look. The Hebrew word for dream or dreamer is “chalam #2472” and of course it’s primary translation is dream. It also can mean to be healthy or strong – to become strong or restored to health.
We know that if a person does not get enough sleep, especially the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) deep sleep with dreams, a person can become sick, mentally as well as physically. I think that in itself tells us how important dreams are, as they are an avenue of communication with God. Just something to think about.
Dreams are our subconscious communication with God just as prayers are communications with God in our conscious mind. Only through a relationship with God, do we have true peace “shalom #7999.”
Sleep is important to us in another way. Most of the time we don’t slow down long enough or shut up long enough when we are awake for God to get a word in edgewise. He can’t talk to us because we are too busy to listen. There are over 7 billion people in this world today, and God is trying to talk to us, but He keeps getting interrupted 7 billion times a second. I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I get interrupted just a couple of times in a row I get kind of upset. Think about the great, great patience God must have with man. Wow and Amen.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and now Joseph are given these extraordinary dreams and visions. They were chosen out of a people so God could talk to that people. By dreams, visions, signs, wonders and miracles, God did and God does talk to His people. Though the lives, trials and tribulations of the forefathers are inspirational, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph’s lives shouldn’t be our primary focus here, the center of the story should be God. It’s God’s divine sovereignty, not human success that shines through. God was ever present in their lives. God would never leave them nor forsake them, as God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).
God’s plans for His people are for good and not evil to give them a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
God gives us dreams and I encourage you to pay attention to them. I encourage you to dream big, the bigger the better, because when dreams are bigger than ourselves, there’s no doubt they are from God. So maybe then, God can show His glory through you, if you let God “yeshav, dwell in you.
Amos 2:6 reads, “Thus says the Lord: ‘for three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals.’” Now Amos 3:7-8 says, “Surely the Lord does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will fear? The Lord has spoken! Who can but prophesy?”
The book of Amos is given to us by the prophet Amos, right? Well, yes and no. It is given to us by Amos, a shepherd from Tekoa. He was not a “preacher’s kid,” he was just an ordinary herdsman, a lay person if you will, that heard an extraordinary word from God, who made him a prophet.
Like so many prophets before him, the words given Amos, whether by dream, vision or by God Himself, were not well received by the people that needed to hear them the most. Like Joseph’s brothers, they just got angry and rejected the word (Dream).
The purpose of Amos’ prophecy was to awaken Israel and the surrounding nations to the fact that they are responsible and accountable for their sins. The people needed to repent and just like people today, they did not want to hear that. God desires that man be a sanctified and holy temple “dwelling place” for His Spirit, so He sends prophets with dreams and visions to tell us, now more than ever before, because I believe we are living in the last days before the coming of the Lord. We need to listen to the words of the prophets! Listen to the word of God and we need to “Vayeshev” dwell in Him. Amen.
Acts 7:9 reads, “And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, then gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.”
The patriarchs, the 11 brothers of Joseph who would one day become the progenitors of the tribes of Israel, were envious. It made them angry when their little brother told them the dreams God gave him. Verse 9 goes on to say, “but God was with Joseph.” In verse 10 it says that “God delivered him out of all his troubles and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.” Joseph gained that favor and wisdom by dreams and their interpretation. Amen.
Before Stephen was falsely accused of blasphemy, speaking against the Temple in Jerusalem and put on trial, we know, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, he was full of faith and power. He did great wonders and signs. Stephen prophesied or spoke the words of the prophets that were before his time, warning the people and urging the children of Israel to repent, but that just made them angry. They didn’t want to hear that, because, if they believed, then they would have to change their evil ways. Stephen also makes another point.
“So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers. And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.” (Acts 7:15-16)
Why did Stephen point out that the patriarchs were buried at Shechem? Because, at the time of Stephen’s trial, Shechem was the center of Samaritan life (the Gentiles). Nearby was Mount Gerizim, the site of another Temple, and Stephen was being charged with speaking against the Temple of Jerusalem as if it were tantamount to speaking against God Himself. Stephen’s point was that God had been speaking and moving in the lives of all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, with or without a Temple. The most important address God made was at Mount Sinai, which is nowhere near Jerusalem. God spoke to all who came out of Egypt there, Jew and Gentile alike were assembled at the foot of Mount Sinai. Amen, God speaks to whomever He chooses. Scripture records in Acts 7:54-60 that Stephen had one last vision as he was being stoned to death.
“But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and cast him out of the city and stoned him.” (Acts 7:55-58)
They just couldn’t stand to hear the truth about Jesus. A lot of people are like that today. They don’t want to heed the words of Jesus or the prophets as they preached “repent and be baptized for the coming of the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17; Luke 3:3)
Another prophet named Joel predicted how God’s Spirit would be poured out on all of humanity.
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-30)
People, beloved of God, if you have heard the words of this prophecy, if your heart has been touched and you want Gods Spirit to “dwell” in you, know that the Lord is calling you. All you have to do is answer. Right now, I would like to go over the ABCs of answering that call.
A. Admit, admit that you have sinned and ask Jesus for forgiveness.
B. Believe, believe Jesus Christ died for that sin, then rose again from the grave on the third day.
C. Confess, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and make Him King in your life.
Read Romans 10:8-13 and pray, “Father God, I admit I have sinned. Please forgive me. Father God, I believe Jesus died for my sins and that He rose from the grave on the third day. Father God, I confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and I make Him King of my life. Father God, I pray now that you would fill me with your spirit, that I may hear you through dreams and visions with that still small voice. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Bibliography for Vayeshev “and he dwelt”
Interlinear Bible, the, Hendrickson publishing, 2006
New King James Version of the Bible, Thomas Nelson publishers, 2007
Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible words, Thomas Nelson publishing, 1996