Last Shabbat reading was from Genesis 1:1-6:7. I wrote in last week that this Parasha (portion) of the Reading of the Torah is the most important text in the whole Bible. Yes, there are some wonderful and very important texts in the Word of God, but without this foundational story of creation of the Heavens and the Earth – by God, and the pre-Bethlehem-birth Messiah, the whole Bible would be meaningless. I made a statement last week that the most glorious passage in the Bible,

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.” By chapter 6 ends with the saddest and most concerning words of God: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So, the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:4-7)

Parashot of Noah that starts immediately after this text from chapter 6 – starts at the bottom of God’s relationship to mankind – “The LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to His heart.” Can you imagine a father telling his son, “I regret that I made you!” “I ought to have used a contraceptive and not bring you to life.” Humanity sank so low that the creator of the Universe regretted and was grieved in His heart that he created man! The end of the story of Noah is the opposite of the end of the Genesis creation story. There is at least one person who has found favor in God’s eyes. Noah is not a perfect person, but he was so different from the men of his generation that he found favor/grace in the eyes of the LORD. This man Noah actually by his faith and obedience saves humanity from extinction and by THE LORD’S GRACE eight souls are saved and these are the fathers of mankind today. However, Noah and his family are not immune to sin. Immediately after the Ark landed on Mount Ararat Noah makes wine, gets drunk and sins and so does his son Ham. Most people concentrate on the flood and the evil of the human race that made God sad in His heart. I am looking on the big picture of our Torah reading this week. The big picture is that although Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and the Lord saved Noah and his family and with them the human race from extinction – even those like Noah who did find grace in the eyes of the LORD did not stop sinning. The end of the reading this week is in chapter 11 of Genesis. The Parashah starts with humanity sinning, and it ends with all of humanity sinning in rebellion against their maker, the God who created the world. What ought our conclusions be from this Torah reading?

God’s grace and patience with humanity is not endless. There are limits to what the Creator of the World is willing to suffer from his creatures.

God is able and willing after all other options are exhausted to press the delete button and start over. In this Torah reading there is a prophetic promise that the next time the destruction of the world will not be with water, but the implications are that it will be.

2Pet. 3:7,“But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.”

This Torah reading of Noah (Genesis 6:9-11:32) is not an optimistic text. It starts sad and ends sad. Next weeks reading Lech Lecha – starts in Chapter 12, and plants hope and favor in the human soul. God choses one man, Abraham, and embeds in this man Abraham a hope for all of humanity and all the ages of history until the destruction of the world and the judgment day.

The balloon bombs and balloon incendiary devices continue to fly from Gaza and this week also from the Palestinian Authority in Judea against peaceful neighborhoods in Jerusalem. One of these balloon fire bombs landed in my old neighborhood. It was caught early enough that no major damage was done, but the audacity and hate and terrorism that the Palestinian are full of is a challenge that can only be resolved in their cultural language – that is fight fire with fire. However, Israel in general and Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in particular is too timid to respond to these fires that have devoured many thousands of acers of farm land, forests, and industrial resources. Israel always needs our prayers. The survival of Israel and the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is just as much in danger today as it was when Ishmael was sexually harassing Isaac as a child. I am sure that you say to yourselves now, “Where in Sam Hills does Joseph get this stuff?” Here is where:

Gen. 21:8-10, “So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned. 9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. 10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.”

Gen. 26:8, “When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife.”

Gen. 39:14, “that she (Potiphar’s wife) called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, “See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mockus. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice.

In all the texts above the words, scoffing, laughing, mocking, translate one Hebrew word: Tzachak. This Hebrew word has several meanings, but it also means to “play with” to “toy with.” The implication is always sexual ‘playing’. Look at the context of Genesis 39:10-17, Potiphar’s wife was not accusing Joseph of just mocking – she was accusing Joseph, “He came to me to lie with me.” In other words, to have sex with her and in fact that is what she wanted from Joseph, but he ran away from her.

So, the context of Ishmael and Isaac “playing” or “scoffing” was sexual. If Ishmael could destroy Isaac’s manhood he would insure that God’s promises to Abraham about Isaac inheriting would not be ever fulfilled. When Sarah saw this, she was so concerned and knew that the only way to saver Isaac would be to get Ishmael as far from Isaac as possible. This is why Sarah insisted to cast Hagar and Ishmael out into the desert. Abraham did not want to cast Hagar and Ishmael out into the desert, but God said to Abraham – listen to your wife, cast Hagar and her son out.

The desire of the sons of Ishmael to destroy Israel and prevent God’s scheme of redemption from being fulfilled is at the core of the enmity and hate that Ishmael’s decedents have for Isaac’s decedents even to this very day.

Marcia and I are in the USA now. The Lord willing, I shall be flying to Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday to participate in the Israel conference in Langensteinbacherhohe. This conference center is one of the most inspirational places for me in Germany. It was established by two brothers who were born and raised in Karlsruhe. Their father was a high school teacher and during world war II, he taught his boys to love Jews and to stand up for Jews. These two boys took their father’s teaching seriously and after the war went to school. One became a medical doctor and the other an engineer. They both did well economically and built this Christian conference center where one of the emphasis for many many years has been doing Israel conferences. I believe that every friend of Israel in Europe has participated and lectured in this place, and every Israeli leader of Jewish Disciples of Yeshua has also lectured in this place. I have lectured in these Israel conferences for many years, but this is the first time in eight years that I shall be in Langensteinbacherhohe for a whole week of teaching. From Frankfurt, Germany, on the 25th of October, the Lord willing, I shall fly to Hong Kong to teach there in the 611 church. Please keep Marcia my wife, and me in your prayers, pray for our health and protection and guidance and a quick recollection and refreshment of our memory with Holy Spirit guidance.

Keep praying for Netivyah in Israel and in the USA. The leadership of Netivyah needs your prayers and your support. We are still praying and seeking the Lord for a replacement vehicle for Netivyah in Israel. This has to be a van that can carry at least 9 people, and preferably 11 people, it has to be a van that can be used for transporting goods for the Hamotzi food program, and it has to be a van that can serve the Munchkins – the Netivyah youth group.

Please pray for the international conference in Portugal in Castelo de Vide from May 17-19 and followed by a four-day prayer tour in the places where Jews were tortured and burned by the Inquisition between 1497 – 1821. This will be a significant conference for the awakening of both Jews and Christians and hopefully the state of Israel for the need to open the doors of Israel and absorb several million Jewish victims of the Inquisition back home in Israel. This ought to be the next major wave of Aliyah to Israel and the resettling of the Negev Desert according to the prophecy of Obadiah the prophet.

The staff has prepared a link that you can click and find out more about this 40th anniversary Netivyah tour.

Please pray for Netivyah and pray for this 40th Anniversary Tour to be a success and an opportunity for us all here in Jerusalem to show our joy and gratitude for your prayers and support.

Please continue to pray for Marcia my wife, and Danah my daughter and Noaam my granddaughter, and Barry my son, and Beth my daughter-in-law, and Joseph Shulam my grandson, and for Marcia’s family and Beth’s family. Pray for Anna W. a dear old sister in the Lord who has done so much good for the Kingdom of God and for Jewish Disciples of Yeshua.

Eli Levi my nephew is now in the USA. He has esophagus cancer and he will be getting treatment in the USA. He is here now for the marriage of his younger son. Please keep Eli Levi in prayer for healing and for the doctors who will be treating his cancer to be wise and do the right thing in order to restore Eli’s health.

Remember our dear brother Jacob Damkani and ask The Lord to give strength and healing to Jacob.

Keep a dear sister in the Lord named Courtney in your prayers. Courtney has a number of health challenges and I ask you all to pray for this dear sister and her healing of all those challenges.

There are good people who suffer, and our ministry is a ministry of intercession for those whom God puts on our path begging and crying for the sake of our brothers and sisters. How ugly is the attitude of Cain in the book of Genesis, who said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God’s answer not in words but in deeds is, Yes, Cain you are either your brother’s keeper or your brothers murdered. This is on the principle of the New Testament: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17 NKJV) On the above teaching – let us do good because we know to do it and because it is the right and good thing to do – pray for our brothers and sisters who need God’s hand of mercy to touch them, their bodies, and our own illnesses will also be touched by His Mercy.

Please continue praying for baby Lion from the Huch family in DFW. Little Lion is doing better in the last week and is back receiving Chemo-Therapy.

Please continue to pray for our Jewish brother Hillel from Helsinki. Pray for Patty, Andrea and Tineke are all in Netherlands and need healing from God. Continue to Pray for Julia and Victor our dear sister and brother who both need healing and God’s help.

Please keep praying for a dear sister named Zhou Wenlian living in China. There is a dear brother in Chenai, India, who has a deep love for the Lord and for Israel. He is sick with kidney problems and needs a dyalisis treatment several times per week. He is Pastor and a leader in a church in his city and I am asking you all to pray for the Lord to heal him.

Margareta, keep her in your prayers she is a dear woman who is going through some real hardship and anguish for her faithfw. Please keep praying for dear Ruby. Ruby has been diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer. She is now doing Chemo-Therapy. Pray for Kenneth and Margarite G. in Tennessee. They are worthy for God’s grace and we are privileged to pray for the healing of these dear mother and son who suffer. Pray for Um Abu-Eid is a dear old Arab sister. Please pray for her healing and strength. Keep the following brothers who are improving with their health, but still lneed God’s merciful hand to touch them with healing, George, Gary, Melanie, Aharon, Yuri Marianenko, Sarit, Ahuva, Leah, Ilana, Miraim, Yehuda H., David Stern, Paulo, Noami, Tim Tucker, Anne-Mirjami, Satu-Maria and Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa, Keijo and Salme, Evelina, Eva H., Horace and June Marcia’s father and mother, Marcelo’s parents. Curita Sensei, the Abe family, Toru, Takeo Sensei, Daisuke Sensei, Tomoko San, Sadako San, Yumi, her husband has just died last week, and keep praying for her father, Pastor Oharah in Okinawa.

Please pray Ritva Huhtala and for sister Oksanen they need prayer for illness. Please pray for Louisa and Tony in Hong Kong. I have special concern for our dear brother Goh and his family, and for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Knezevich.

If you would pray for those whom you know that need this prayer – the Lord will surely cover those for whom you pray and those for whom I pray. It is hard enough to live in this world and work and business-related issues make it harder and as much as we pray for the spiritual issues and health issues.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and believe in God’s promises!

Joseph Shulam