God Has Bigger Plans

After David was crowned king in Hebron, he conquered Jerusalem and defeated the Philistines. Our haftarah picks up just following these events, when King David decides to bring the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem from the home of Abinadav, where it had remained since being returned to the Land of Israel by the Philistines in the time of Samuel. Thus, our haftarah begins with the Ark at rest in the home of Abinadav and ends with the promise of its future home in the Temple.

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Russ Resnik
Messiah’s Job Description is Also Our Own

We are a community excited about Messianic prophecy. It fortifies our faith in our claims about Yeshua, and we look to texts like this week’s haftarah reading to equip us for propagating and defending our faith. All of this is good.

But it would also be good for us to realize that we who are intimately joined to him through repentance, faith, and immersion in his Spirit, are also meant to bear his image.

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Russ Resnik
The One Who Doesn’t Change

One of the most compelling verses in the Prophets comes in this week’s haftarah reading: "Since I, ADONAI, have not changed, so you sons of Jacob have not been annihilated” (Mal 3:6).

This verse certainly had great meaning in its peshat (plain sense) to Malachi’s hearers in the 5th century BCE. Yet I cannot help but think that it reveals a general principle that has held true for our Jewish people throughout our entire history.

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Russ Resnik
Hope Undying

This week culminates in Shabbat HaChodesh, the New Moon of the first month (March 16–17), which means Passover comes only two weeks later, at the full moon. Now, New Moon might sound like an esoteric topic in our high-tech urban world, but we’ll see that it’s actually most relevant—not just to the simple agricultural life of our ancestors, but to our lives as well.

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Russ Resnik
God’s Reputation is at Stake

God is a specific God. He loves details. He shares these details with his servants. His children hear his voice and they obey. This week’s parashah deals with many details of the building of the mishkan (tabernacle). It reminds me of building Legos as a kid.

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Russ Resnik
Signs of His Presence

In Parashat Ki Tisa the Israelites are in the desert waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. Until this point the narrative has moved rapidly: the enslavement of Israel, the calling of Moses, the drama of the plagues, the events of the first Pesach, the Exodus itself, the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, and traveling through the desert to Mt. Horeb. Suddenly, the fast-paced and miraculous events have stopped. Israel waits.

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Russ Resnik
Dressing for Service

A good friend writes, “Clothing is a prominent theme throughout the Bible.” Clothing is significant throughout Scripture, from the clothes God designed for Adam and Chavah in the Garden (Gen 3:21), to the wedding gown of the bride for her marriage to the Lamb (Rev 19:8). At times it provides covering against the elements, and at other times it serves as a symbol of rank or status.

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Russ Resnik
The Divine Recipe

God is the God of order and we see the divine recipe in Leviticus 24:7–8: “Also, you are to take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes of it, with two tenths of an ephah in each cake. Then you are to set them in two rows, six in a row, on the pure gold table before Adonai. Set pure frankincense on each row, as a memorial portion for the bread, an offering by fire to Adonai.”

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Russ Resnik
Lost and Found

Let’s start with a sore subject: losing things. Wallets. Car keys. Expensive smart phones. IPads. Computers even. And sometimes we lose something to which we feel especially attached. We look everywhere and come to the grim realization that the object is gone. What happens then? Anger. Sadness. Self-reproach. Our loss is more than financial.

But all is not dark.

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Russ Resnik
The Uproar Within Our Hearts

Our parasha contains that momentous occasion when our people received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Due to the centrality of this pivotal moment in Jewish history, the rabbis have scrutinized, pondered, and debated every minute detail. One of their questions was, “How did they know that it was God speaking to them?”

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Russ Resnik