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Torah: Shmot 18:1-20:23

Haftarah: Yeshayahu 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6
Brit Chadasha: Mattityahu 5:8-20; 15:1-11; 19:1630; Rom. 1; 2:17-29; 7:7-12; 13:8-10; 1 Tim. 3:1-14;
Titus 1:5-9; 1 Kefa(Peter)2:9-10

Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20


The title of this weeks parashah is called Yitro, or Jethro. The
meaning behind every parashahs name is significant, and this one is no
different. Albeit peculiar, perhaps illogical to the practical mind,
considering last weeks parashaBeshalach or After He Let Go and next
weeks parashah titled Mishpatim or Rulings make for what appears to be
such a contrary pair of bookends for our focus this Shabbat.
Yitro is the name of Moshes Father-in-Law, Father of Moshes wife
Tzipporah and High Priest of the nation known as Midian. Now why would
Adonai elect to name the parashah which is so very pivotal to Israels
existence, the giving of The Torah, the invitation and receiving of The
Sinaitic Covenant, to be named after a Midian priest? Let us step forward,
prayerfully back in time to discern the greater significance but also we will
consult with our brother Judah through established Rabbinic commentary
to gain better perspective.
Understand we stopped off with the conclusion of last weeks
parashah that reads,
However, Moshe's hands grew heavy; so they took a stone and put it
under him, and he sat on it. Aharon and Hur held up his hands, the one on
the one side and the other on the other; so that his hands stayed steady
until sunset.

Thus Y'hoshua defeated 'Amalek, putting their people to the sword. 14

ADONAI said to Moshe, "Write this in a book to be remembered, and tell it
to Y'hoshua: I will completely blot out any memory of 'Amalek from under
heaven." 15 Moshe built an altar, called it ADONAI Nissi [[ADONAI is my
banner/miracle], 16 and said, "Because their hand was against the throne of
Yah, ADONAI will fight 'Amalek generation after generation." (Exo 17:1216 CJB)

Amalek as pointed out in last Shabbats teaching possesses the same

gematria for the Hebrew word sufrek or doubt. In last weeks parasha we

Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

read of how after being brought out from under the Egyptian house of
bondage, Israel despite having seen numerous super-natural signs and
wonders performed by Hashem, were still reluctant to let go of the
predictable existence they were forced to endure in Egypt. Time and again
The Israelites failed to look beyond the physical afflictions they suffered at
the outset of their journey to the deeper test of faith The Father was trying
to prepare them for. Tired, unaware of where the next Dairy Queen was, the
Yaakob Family Station Wagons rear bumper sticker at this point may have
read more something along the lines of this!

Baruch Hashem that Moshe appealed to our Driver, Deliverer, King

and Shield, El Shaddaibecause if He had turned the car around at that
point we might all be most miserable of all men!
At the beginning of this weeks parasha we read of Yitros messenger
sending word of his soon arrival. Curious, here were afforded a glimpse
into the significance of names and how in not only Jewish but
predominantly in Eastern culture in general, folks typically had more than
one name. In Yitros case, he had 3 names. Yitro, Reuel, and Hobab. Hobab
means cherished, and Reuel means Friend of God. Either of these
names could have easily sufficed and provided an adequate understanding
but in this portion The Father elects to use his 3rd name, Yitro. Why?

Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

Yitro, father-in-law of Moshe was recognized as the High Priest of

Midian. According to historical data in the unabridged Works of Josephus
after Abrahams wife Sarah passed and Isaac took his bride Rebekah to wife
in his mother Sarahs tent we read,
Abraham after this married Keturah [incense], by whom six sons
were born to him; men of courage and of sagacious minds:--Zambran, and
Jazar, and Madan, and Madian [Midian], and Josabak, and Sous (ch. 15, p.
In Holmans Illustrated Bible Dictionary we read of Midian Personal
and clan name meaning strife. Midian was the son of Abraham by his
concubine Keturah (Gen. 25:2). Abraham sent him and his brothers away to
the east leading to the association of the Midianites with the children of
the east (Judg.6:3).The Midianites are associated with the Moabites in
seducing Israel into immorality and pagan worship at Baal-peor (Num.
25:1-18) For this reason God commanded Moses to execute a war of
vengeance against them (Num. 31:3).
And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6 But unto the sons of
the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them
away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east
country. (Gen 25:5-6 KJV)

Keep in mind the words used for compass directions do more than
stipulate geography but also are used as metaphors to express either good
or bad character traits. For instance, the word here used typically for east,
or eastward is the Hebrew word Qedem (S#6924) rooted in the word
Qadam (S#6923) and if we consult the Theol Wordbook of the O.T. we
The East may have either good or bad connotations [much like most
Hebrew letters and words]. On the one hand it is the location of Eden, but
on the other hand, it was the habitat of the men who built Babel (Gen.11:2).
When denoting the dwellers E or NE of Canaan, it frequently refers to the

Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

tribes hostile to Israel (Num.23:7; Jud 6:3, 33). But the prophets envision a
day when they will be subject to Israel (Isa. 11:14) (Qedem, p.785).
Here we read that Midian, much like Israel, was initially named after
one individual and how over a period of time became the name for a nation.
Later we find that when Joseph was taken as property to some Midianite
traders, also referred to as Ishmaelites gives insight that Midian
intermarried with the likes of Esau, as Esau took a wife from Ishmael, and
later we read of Reuel being born of Esau and Bashemath in Beresheet
Notice how despite the fact that GOD has a plan that continues
regardless of mans plans, GOD is from some angles providing multiple
opportunities for rebellious hearts and stiffened-necks to repent and
become, if you will, grafted back into His seednot so much the physical
seed, but the one of The Faith of Abrahamand this is where things start to
get good yall.

It doesnt necessarily have to be about a swing, but it does paint a

colorful picture. We could pull from the sandbox or the trusty ole tire
swing, even the slide that every child loves to ride despite the fact that
summers in South Carolina, a 20 Aluminum ramp and a childs behind
made for what felt like a 3rd degree burn on the back end. But the picture is
simple. Here are all of these Israelites moping on their swings, cryin about
a dirty diaper. Moshes trying to teach them of the joy of a swing. Do you
remember when you first learned what a swing does? Blew your hair back,
tilted you up to The SON (speaking metaphorically here folks) and when
you took a leap of faith you could actually take flight, even if gravity did pull
you back down. But Oh what a thrill a swing could be when a mind worked
in agreement with a heart full of faith.

Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

But instead of the sound of a playground at recess and boisterous

childrens laughter and excitable camaraderie, were witness to a bunch of
pouty lipped, folded arms, dirty diaper, no-swingin walks
Yitro. Now Yitro is a known person. Make no mistake, as the father-in-law
of the Israelites anointed leader word has all but coursed all manner of
direction throughout the camp of this Midianite High Priest come to visit
their leader Moshe. And what do we find?
Moshes father-in-law heard about all that God had done for Moshe and
for Israel his people... (and) Yitro rejoiced over all the good that Adonai
had done for Israel by rescuing them from the Egyptians (Exo. 18:1, 9).
Rabbinic scholars and commentators offer a number of reasons why
Yitro came to visit Moshe at this time. Etz Hayims commentators suggest
he came because he heard about their (Israels) suffering in Egypt and was
moved by pity. Some say he heard of their triumph over Pharaohs army
and wanted to associate himself with a victorious people. Others say he
heard that the Israelites were on their way to a rendezvous with God, that
they were destined to be a special people, and he wanted to share in their
destiny. Did not everyone hear what Jethro heard? Yes, some people hear
and others well, do not really hear. (p.432)
Some people hear, but dont really hear. Some people sit in the swing,
but never really learn how to swing. But here we have a Midianite priest, no
doubt elder to Moshe as he was father to Moshes wife, and despite all the
Midianite culture, fashion, mannerisms, paganism, high-falutin vainglory,
in walks a wide-eyed, childlike elderly man who has heard of all GOD has
done, and He rejoices! He steps up, situates himself in his seat, pulls back
on those chains and kicks his feet up straight in the air laughing as the
breeze blows his hair back.and does the unthinkable, defies gravity!
The interesting thing about all of this is in his name, Yitro, or Yith-ro
comes from S#3503 which is rooted in S#3498 or


Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

ythar, yaw-thar; meaning to excel, to remain, to leave, to

exceed, to preserve; from Benners A.H.L. (#1480 L(v))
Yashar meaning, I. a cord: A tight rope is straight. A
righteous one is one who is straight and firmly holds up
truth just as the cord is straight and firmly holds the wall
of the tent upright. II. Remnant.
The moral of this story is we have a man who is active in a leadership
position of a pagan religion, but whos actual D.N.A. traces back to the loins
of Abraham. Unlike The Israelites who experienced all of GODs
supernatural miracles first-hand, word has travelled to the far reaches of
known civilization of all that Adonai Tsavaot has done for Israel, and #1.
He trusts in the word hes heard, and #2. He allows it not only to reach his
heart, but he responds with active faith! The Remnant responds and
rejoices! My Dear ones, you are comprised of that Remnant, the Returning
ones, grafted-in and made the commonwealth of Israel. How do you Shema
today? And speakin of which, when was the last time you defied gravity
READ EXODUS 18:17-27
In this portion we learn that Moshe, being the servant of Hashem that he is,
is humble enough to receive Gods instruction regardless of who He uses to
deliver it. Sometimes we want the stage, the lights and music and ambiance
to be exactly the way we prefer in order for us to be convinced something
comes from God. But here Moshe demonstrates the humility and
discernment to recognize a word of Wisdom when offered and immediately
applies it to his life. May we not be picky wisdom-pickers.
God wants to do a work in your life. He is willing and able, but He
requires us to act in obedience, especially when times are tough because
tough times remind us of the days we survived in Egypt with the empty
hopelessness that gnaws at our heart. Its in these times specifically GOD
repeatedly tells us to guard our heart.

Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

The kind of people GOD desires to use are described in chapter 18,
verse 21, which is echoed later in the apostolic scriptures in Titus, chapter 1,
verses 5-9 and 1Tim. 3:1-13 (READ).
God has good reasons for outlining who He desires to use. Make no
mistake, the call and gifts are without repentance, but if a family is
suffering from instability, the hearts and minds within that family are
affected, and therefore need nurturing and love and a model to assist in
restoring a stable environment so those giftings can be used to their full
potential. GOD can do it (parable of the talents, 30, 60, 100 fold) but before
He can bring the miracle to pass, what does He first require?
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of
Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly
with his heart ye shall take my offering. (Exo 25:1-2 KJV)
A willing heart is willing to identify the problem, and bring it to our
Heavenly Father and to allow Him to cleanse us, Ahmain? Ahmain.
Notice again, a very simple statement but there are no idle words in Torah.
GOD is using the natural to teach the spiritual. We read in verse 3 that
Moshe went up to God and Adonai called to him from the mountain. So
often we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with pressures and stress
associated with the labors of the our daily grind until we despair. Think
about this though. According to Holmans we learn that Mount Sinai ranges
from 5,000-9,000 feet and in some parts is extremely mountainous. GOD
in His infinite power and might could have teleported Moshe up the
mountain instantly. But here, according to Torah, GOD called him to come
up the mountain.
The word for mountain is Har (S#2022) in the Theological
Wordbook. of The O.T. we read that
mountains are a symbol of power, also that The LORD gives His
people a sense of his nearness by choosing a mountain for His worship and

Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

revelation. Moses and Elijah pray on a mountain; blessings and curses are
invoked from Mount Ebal and Gerizim, worship is offered on various
mountains and the ark is set on a hill. But above all The LORD chose Sinai
and Zion as the places where He reveals Himself. Here the tribes assembled
for worship (p.516) Mountains are also symbolic of ones readiness or level
of spiritual maturity.
Comes in 3s:
What we find in verses 5 & 6 is a conditional promise. GOD says I want you
Moshe to go tell The Israelites that I want to make them MY

Peculiar Treasure


A Kingdom of Priests for Me


And a Set-Apart Nation

In the next several verses we read Israel agreeing to obey and submit
to YHWH and then The Father explains what He wants Israel to do in
preparation for His visit. Why?
Three days is suggested by Rabbinic Sages that like Abraham at
the Akedah, three days given for preparation and self-restraint allows
time for somber reflection, so that acceptance of the Covenant can be
considered an unqualified act of free will. Jewish tradition teaches
that this third day fell on the sixth of Sivan and is identified with the
harvest festival of Shavuot, which consequently came to
commemorate the giving of the Torah. He (Adonai) says Hes going to
come down which is figurative of His desire to have relationship with
His people. Verse 15 is about maintaining ritual purity.
Etz Hayims commentators explain verse 10 saying that its easy to
be pure while standing at Sinai. Will the people be able to maintain
that sense of purity tomorrow, when they return to the challenge of
living in the world? (p.438)


Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

We read at the end of verse 13 that When the shofar sounds

they may go up on the mountain. Much commentary and conjecture
are over this point, but Torah is clearGOD wants all of us to go up!
The question is, When the shofar sounds, will we meet the
When the shofar sounded, the people came out of their tents and
assembled at the base of the mountain. And yet, rather than ascend
the mountain, The Israelites were struck with fear by the loud shofar,
the thick smoke and the fire that descended upon the mountain. Now
this is my contention. Moshe had already demonstrated his faith and
willingness, but where were we? We chose to become paralyzed with
fear. And because they allowed themselves to be overcome with fear,
they lost out on the opportunity to experience a growing in real
spiritual maturity as we mentioned the natural picture of the
mountain represents spiritual levels of maturity.
So when Israel lost the opportunity to ascend, GOD told Moshe
to go down and make certain and to warn the Israelites not to ascend
or else He would break out against them (vs. 25). The Hebrew word
for break out is

arratz S#6555 meaning to break forth as water outside the

boundaries of its banks. The verb, with God as the subject connotes a
visitation that is sudden, violent and destructive, indicating the
extreme care with which GODs holiness must be approached even by
the priests who serve Him.
For your Consideration:
Abba made man to be connected, as the number of man is 6, which is the
Vav. But it is also true that just as we all need to be connected, if we do not
respect one anothers space, we too are subject to experience a break out
resulting in an uncomfortable confrontation. The lesson is, as the Israelites

Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

came to understand what Holy Fear is, they still should have moved at the
command of the shofar, but instead lost out on deeper intimacy with
YHWH. The other side of that is, Holy fear gives us reason to pause and
reflect before we do or say something because our words and actions have
consequences. Why did Adonai have Moshe set limits on Israel? The same
reason He gave them Torah! He was forming a protective hedge designed to
create in them an understanding that there are Holy spaces, common
spaces, and even profane spaces. We all need to make ourselves aware of
them and how Abba uses them to help us interact in our relationships with
ourselves, with God and others. Well, how do we do that? Read Torah.
Consider the following: Moshe' is a forerunner of Mashiach, his
life was one of a redeemer, a prophet chosen of YHVH, to deliver Israel, to
lead them to the mountain to meet with YHVH and to enter into to
covenant with Him and to teach and to lead Israel in the Way of Torah. This
particular read of Yitro in chapter 19, verse 9 I read "The LORD said to
Moses, "Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may
hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever." Then
Moses told the words of the people to the LORD."
Why did this verse strike me in such a peculiar way? Ive read it many
times, but The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to it. Allow me to share; Moses
was reluctant to become the man God wanted him to become right?
Remember how he argued with God at the burning bush? And especially
after much persecution at the hands of Pharaoh, Israel was yet unconvinced
that Moshe' was to be their leader. In fact as time wears on even after
having been delivered from Pharaoh we see some of the worst behavior in
some people come out as they seek to challenge and confront Moshe', and
this to their own peril. But the point I really want to make is that Israel
needed someone, someone of flesh and blood, an example who they could
visually see, that they could touch, and hear from day to day. And yet,
Moshe himself I think at this point is not even totally convinced that he is
YHVH's man, but God says, 'so that the people may believe in You forever.'
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Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

So that the people may believe in you forever? Initially I was

conflicted when I read that. Why is it important for Moshe to hear that? I
cant help but to feel though almost as if YHVH got right up in his ear and
whispered it to him. See, Moshe was very human, just as we are. He was
destined for great things. Up to this point he knew he had only narrowly
escaped a mandatory death sentence by his stepfather, he knew that he was
raised in the enemys house by a family who enforced an edict that decreed
that all of his Israelite brothers were to be killed in the Nile; he knew that
he had killed a man by his own hands and then attempted to hide it, and he
knew that he was chased, or more accurately hunted into the Midian desert
to be killed by his stepfather which resigned him to the life now of an
anonymous nomadic outlaw. These are certainly some of the most
convoluted circumstances to be brought up in, and I can only imagine
somewhere, out upon the shifting sands of Midian overlooking the sunset, a
troubled Moshe tormented by the multiple what if scenarios where life
had taken pivotal turns that eventually lead him to where he was.
That the people may believe in you forever. The word believe in
Hebrew comes from the word aman. Coded to Strongs# H539, its
comprised of three Hebrew letters, an Alef, a Mem and a Nun Sofeet. It
means to stand firm as a support or as a pillar. It can also mean
something that grabs hold or supports something else. God The
Encourager wants Mosheto see himselfas that support, the pillar for
the people of YHVH, the one who would grab hold of this anxious confused
crowd, and lead them in the path of Torah; and He was telling Moshe to
trust Him, that He would work through him. Now, clearly, apart from God
there is nothing redeeming in man but all things are possible with God; and
when we remain surrendered to God trusting His plan for our life, then we
can believe that everything we put our hand to will succeed just as God has
In Exodus chapter 20 we read the 10 commandments. The basic
principles of the Ten Commandments are all about how to have proper
relationship with YHVH and your fellow man. But this time, today, I want
to key in on the commandment regarding idols. God says You shall not
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Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on

the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship
them or serve them; for I, the LORD your GOD, am a jealous GOD, visiting
the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth
generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to
thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments
(Exodus/Shemot 20:4-6).
To make an idol means to hew, to chisel or to sculpt something. More
importantly it means that youve taken the time to create something,
through your own effort, by the sweat of your own brow, and then elevated
it above yourself placing it in that reserved place in your heart that should
only be allowed by YHVH, and then you worship it. By your own choice you
have made it the center of your focus, your hope, your purpose, your joy,
and your shalom. But by doing this you invoke some serious consequences.
Let me explain the natural order of things. In Pauls letter to Rome,
chapter 1 we read 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor
Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and
their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became
fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in
the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and
crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their
hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served
the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen. 26 For
this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women
exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the
same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and
burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing
indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their
error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer,
God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not
proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil;
full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers,
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Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to

parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice
such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give
hearty approval to those who practice them.
If we fail to give YHVH the place of honor in our life and refuse to
recognize who we are in relationship to Him, then the only thing He can do
is to give us over to the lusts of our heart and to impurity, resulting in a
depraved and darkened mind. Effectively deceived we are cut off from all
understanding, becoming untrustworthy, unloving and unmerciful. This is
why it is so fundamentally important to keep the fear/reverence of YHVH
before us at all times because the fear/reverence of YHVH is the beginning
of wisdom. This keeps us pure. In Exodus 27:20 YHVH instructs Moshe
You are to command the Israelites to bring you pure oil from crushed
olives for the light, in order to keep the lamp burning continually. The
word used here for pure is the Hebrew word zkak. It means to be pure, be
bright, to be clean, to be shining, to cleanse, to make clean, an oil or other
substance that is clear and free of impurities.
Now, if we consult the Apostolic Scriptures, the renewed covenant,
our connecting scripture that coincides with this weeks parsha reading, we
find it located in the book of Matthew chapter 5 verses 8 through 20.
Quoting Yeshua our Messiah He declares, Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall see God the pure in heart. In order to see God we must all strive
to be pure in heart beloved. And whats more is YHVH wants us to be pure
in order for Him to shine His light through us to this lost world. Further on
Yeshua affirms, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be
hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the
lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine
before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify
your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). To round out the
explanation here, what then are those good works Yeshua is speaking of?
His Mitzvot! YHVHs commandments! If we are in covenant with Him, our
lives will be purely devoted to Him, and the world will see by our obedience
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Exo. 18:1-20:23 Isa. 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6 Brit: Matt. 5:8-20

to Him by our daily choices and priorities, by the way we conduct our lives.
But we must commit ourselves to being pure beloved! Without committing
ourselves to that then we will make allowances for compromise. Let us
vigorously pursue YHVH with a pure heart today.

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