Torah Portion VAYAK’HEL – Shemot (Exodus) 35:1-38:20
The Wisdom Series – Part 3
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:3
Shabbat shalom, dearly beloved!
The Book of Daniel starts with a historical background of his life; the timing is after the terrible destruction of the Beit Mikdash (Holy Temple) in Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Daniel was an orphaned young boy from the royal family and the nobility of Judah. He came as a captive to Babylon and, in simple words, a slave of the murderers of his people. He was well educated in Torah (Laws and Commandments of YHVH) and was a Yah (God) fearer. He had seen many horrors, bloodshed, and destruction and could have been “traumatized,” but apparently this young man had true faith that sustained him in the darkest moments and did not have an ounce of self-pity. Though he had lost everything, including parents, family, and country, he did not seem angry with Elohim or the Babylonian perpetrators. Throughout the Book of Daniel, we discover that he had a humble spirit and trusted in YHVH. He was willing to do what was right in the eyes of the Almighty even if it cost him his very life!
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Daniel 1:8
Having experienced so much tragedy, he could have had the attitude that many people seem to entreat these days and rebel against Elohim’s Commandments and calling. Instead, he resolved within himself not to defile himself. He resolved within himself not to compromise his walk of holiness and righteousness before YHVH. No tragedy or trauma could cause Daniel to rebel against Elohim. The Fear of Yah made him into a wise young man. His faith in YHVH and his excellent testimony were maintained through thick and thin, in the good times and the bad times. We do not see Daniel pointing a finger to the Almighty and saying, like many do today when terrible things happen: “It is all your fault!” No! We see Daniel honoring His Father in Heaven, honoring the Master of the Universe. He had a full understanding that we do not “master Elohim” but rather submit and surrender to Him, even when we do not understand our circumstances. Daniel’s obedience and fear of YHVH did not depend on any circumstance; it was real and unconditional as fitting to the Creator of the Universe.
The Wise and Tested Become Instructors
Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. Daniel 11:33
The Word of Yah is very clear that righteous and wise people will go at one time or another through trials and tribulations. As they pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, one day they will instruct many and help them maintain their faith during valley and tribulation times. Sometimes even wise people (which really means that they are God-fearers!) stumble and seem to be failing. When you look at them, you would say, “Is that a real believer? Is this what a real Son or Daughter of Elohim looks like?”
When you go through these seasons of severe testing, you may be tempted to doubt. Maybe Yah is not real; perhaps I just imagined that He exists. Maybe His Promises are nothing but a fairy tale. He is not the Miracle Working, loving God that I believed in. After all, how can I be in this condition?
Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. Daniel 11:35
Throughout the Scriptures, we see that adverse circumstances can purify the wise. It is during these circumstances that the true believers are recognized, those that can be entrusted with Power, Authority, Influence, and even great wealth. If we are not able to worship, honor and obey Yah in the “valley,” we do not really fear Him, but instead are still in Self-Idolatry. Self-Idolatry is the biggest sickness of this age: people are revolving around themselves, feeling sorry for themselves and pointing a finger to YHVH rather than doing Teshuva (repentance) by honoring Him even when all is dark. This is the exact point that “makes it or breaks it,” and it is all over the Scriptures!
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in YHVH, I will be joyful in Elohim my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17.18
Habakkuk, the Prophet who prophesied during the Babylonian exile, knew about it; Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, and, of course, Yeshua knew about it! Yeshua would have never been able to redeem mankind from sin had He not chosen to submit to the Father on the cross. He hanged onto His faith and obedience to His Father YHVH all the way to His last breath when He cried out:
And about the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46
“Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?” means in Aramaic, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” He could take any suffering, and I believe He experienced all of the categories of disease and the scope of the curse at once while He was hanging on that cross-execution stake. But there was one thing and one thing only that broke His heart: when the Spirit of Elohim departed from Him, because He took all our punishment and became a curse. The highest punishment for rebelling against YHVH is banishment from His Presence, and that is unbearable on earth and even more unbearable when it lasts for all eternity!
King David was willing to suffer anything, but not to lose the Spirit of Elohim.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:10-12
When we choose to satisfy our flesh or self-pity (getting offended) with sin of any kind, we lose His Presence. When we choose to be angry at Him and sulk rather than humble and remain in the Fear of YHVH, His presence is removed from us. It is important to be honest with Him about our feelings, but still choose to trust and honor Him in spite of them. Our feelings and perceptions often lie to us. We need to cast down vain imaginations that do not align with His Word and Character.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah. 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5
I can identify with King David. Without the Spirit of Elohim, I do not want to live. I prefer to die immediately than live one minute outside of His Presence! Only in His Presence is there fullness of joy.
You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11 NASB
Our Response to our Circumstances Determines our Future
Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of Elohim. Psalm 50:23 NKJV,
Our wellbeing does not depend on our circumstances, but upon our response to the circumstances. Daniel’s response was faith, honor, trust, and obedience – even risky obedience at all costs. His life was not dear to him at all; the Commandments of YHVH were dearer to him than his own wellbeing or life.
To entreat Yah’s Presence we must thank Him and praise Him, trusting Him fully even when it is darkest! And follow the praise with obedience to His ways and commandments.
Later on, we read in the Brit Chadasha (New Covenant):
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25
First, we must lose our lives, which goes against the grain of self-preservation. Suicide is self-preservation; it is normally done by people that want to escape the pain. Losing our lives or dying to ourselves is the antidote. When we lose our lives, we surrender to Yah in the midst of the pain. We choose to obey Him and glorify Him in our lives amid adversity. That is what Daniel did in Babylon. It was very painful to be a slave in a foreign country, and maybe he even witnessed his parents being murdered by the very king he was called now to serve. He could have been angry, bitter, vindictive, even to the point of murder or suicide, but instead he chose to honor YHVH and not defile himself.
It was dangerous, but he knew that becoming an enemy of Elohim was much more dangerous! His healthy fear of Elohim kept him sane and on target. There is no way to love YHVH without a healthy fear of Him. We know that He is our loving Father, full of Mercy and Compassion, but we also know Him to be the Judge and an all-consuming fire. In order for our faith to become solid, everything that can be shaken must be shaken.
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:25-29
Daniel’s life was shaken during the Fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian Captivity that ensued, but his faith was not shaken. In that sense, he was a follower of Joshua and Caleb, who lost an entire generation of friends and family during the 40 years of punishment for the unbelief of the other ten spies. But not once did they point a finger at the Almighty accusing Him: “It is all your fault!” They honored the Master of the Universe in His decisions whether to bless or judge.
All too often, we think we know better than the Creator of Mankind! “Where was He during the Shoa (Holocaust)?” is what we as Jews ask in defiance to His Wisdom. If the devil did it, could He have not stopped him? If He is Elohim, why didn’t He show up? The Shoa is an extreme case of pain and horror inflicted unjustly on an entire nation, the Jewish nation. But why would we point a finger against Yah on this? Why do we think that He owes us something? How about TESHUVA instead? How about humbling ourselves to seek Him rather than blame Him? How about humbling ourselves to realize that we may be missing something and that our understanding is very limited when we are “in the flesh”? How about seeking His wisdom rather than our “logical explanation” for our circumstances and situations? If we seek His Wisdom, we will always find out that this is the foundation of all Wisdom and Understanding:
The fear of YHVH is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
Even Job understood that at the end of his suffering period. He was pointing a finger at Elohim, telling Him that He was unjust. Job was totally righteous, and Elohim unjust. The answer of YHVH was categorical: “Who do you think you are Job?”
Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine. Job 41:11
In his terrible cursed condition, poor, sick, and abandoned, Job finally realized that no one is right or righteous before Elohim, that He deserves our unconditional allegiance and obedience just because HE IS YHVH! Once we realize this Truth, we can truly repent and obtain the Blessing.
“I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6
Only after Job finally realized who he was and who Elohim is, true humility and Teshuva came into his life. A Repentance born of a newfound Fear of YHVH and total trust in Him and His wisdom. This change of heart and attitude from self-righteous to humble released the double portion blessing in His life!
Now YHVH blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch. In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days. Job 42:12-17
We fear and love Him because of who He is and trust His word and promises against all odds. As Daniel did this, he obtained YHVH’s favor and was elevated to the highest position in Babylon.
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel. Daniel 1:8, 9
Later on, Daniel received more wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and prophetic insight.
The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. Daniel 1:19.20
When the Fear of YHVH is the foundation of our life, we shall obtain more and more wisdom from YHVH, and His wisdom will make us more powerful than any king or president!
Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Daniel 2:48
Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city. Ecclesiastes 7:19
Your Israeli Mentors and Friends
Archbishop Dominiquae and Rabbi Baruch Bierman
“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent” Isaiah 62:1
In memory Yuval (Justin), the son of Archbishop Dominiquae and Rabbi Baruch Bierman, who passed into eternity on January 8th, 2022.
We send all our love and prayers to our beloved spiritual parents, praying for comfort upon comfort!
“Comfort, comfort My people,”says your God. Speak kindly to the heart of Jerusalem” Isaiah 40:1-2a
With Love, your spiritual children & disciples in many nations
Son of (the late) Ardon Frank Z”L
Son of Baruch and Dominiquae Bierman
Brother of Adi
Passed into Eternity at the age of 35
Born on Simcha Torah
Passed away in Kiev on Shabbat 8th of January 2022
Buried on Tu Bishvat
On the Shmita Year of 5782
The sons have returned to their own border. Jeremiah 31:16
May his soul be bundled in the bundle of life
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