Feeling a Little Kor-achey?
"By envy of the devil, death entered the world." - Abraham Heschel
I was driving down I75 yesterday admiring all the luxurious RVs and thinking about how most of them cost more than my house and five acres. One bumper sticker said, "Spending our kids' inheritance."
It irked me that while Alan and I still talk about when we can "re-retire," others coast across the Appalachians in land yachts. Yes, I was a little "Kor-achey" for a moment. But time-bound life is only a moment, and I was reminded of this week's Torah portion, Korach.
Life is more than what most people bother to think about. It isn't what tastes good, feels good, makes me laugh, or makes me feel smart. Death is more than a funeral. Eternity is behind those masks, and I want to see...and live...beyond the mask.
The daily prayer of the Amidah reminds me: "
May it be Your will, Adonai, my God, and the God of my forefathers, that human jealousy may not rise up against me, nor my jealousy upon others..."
Human jealousy arises when one feels as though one deserved more than was delivered by human hands. We rise to seek the level that God
have given us. The truth, though, is that we are angry with God, the true Source. It is the Moses' and Aarons that become our scapegoats. Or Democrats, or Republicans, or rich people, or poor people, or, or, or.... "Who is Aaron that you murmur against him?"
Isn't it time to quit obsessing about the "devil" with many names (politicians, religions, anyone with whom I disagree, etc.)? Why not do our Kingdom work and study what the Father specifically has appointed us instead of becoming scholars of the day's headlines? Perhaps we envy the positions of those whom we excoriate as much as reject their policies, beliefs, and actions. Are we piggybacking (sorry) our own envy onto righteous indignation?
History is littered with the examples of justice-seeking revolutionaries who became what they hated once they came to power. The lines between the desire for justice and envy blur.
The Amidah follows the prayer to remove envy by pinpointing the source of the envy: anger.
"May I not become angry today, and may I not anger You."
The Torah portion of Korach is beautifully addressed by this final section of the daily prayer that includes:
"Guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking deceitfully"
"Let my soul be silent"
"Open my heart to Your Torah so that I may pursue Your commandments" [not pursue the positions of authority over others or daily news scholarship]
"Nullify evil counsel"
"Rebuild the Sanctuary and its foundation"
"Gather the scattered sheep"
"Give the beloved ones rest"
"Give me acceptable expressions of the mouth and thoughts of the heart"
This prayer takes care of any worries we have about the headlines, and it focuses our attention on the most powerful force in our world, our Creator.
Why does anger lead to envy or jealousy? Even more importantly, why am I angry? People become angry when they are scared of something. Kain became angry with his brother when he feared that he had lost standing with Elohim. The fear blocked the logic of the respect that Elohim had for Abel's sacrifice. Because Abel held back nothing, it moved the Father's heart. Because Kain held back something by not offering firstfruits, it could not be received with the gladness, but sadness.
The offering was a Sukkot offering,
, "at the end of days." Either livestock or produce were acceptable as long as they were the best! Each brother was gifted to bring forth firstfruits qualified for Sukkot offerings, but only Abel was able to return Elohim's portion to Him. Kain substituted only "the fruit of the ground" for the best. He didn't "max out" the blessing he could have received.
We are each gifted by Heaven with certain natural gifts and spiritual gifts. This is our portion in the Torah, and from those gifts we may produce much fruit, but the firstfruits are His. Physical gifts reflect the desire to render back to Him the best of the spiritual gift He gave us while we were formed in our mothers' wombs. Obedience to the Torah produces the fruit unique to us, fruit as unique as a snowflake or fingerprint. Max it out!
The Father desires "lamb gifts" from the one gifted with nurturing lambs. The Father desires "green gifts" (Hebrew for vegetables is "
," meaning "greens") from children gifted with growing plants. The last thing He desires is for children to become jealous of one another's gifts and assignments in the Kingdom. Even worse, He does not want His children to covet the earthly rewards of those only
rich and successful people who squander the life He gave them by keeping the "best" for themselves.
The rabbis say that one who is content with what he has is truly rich. That is the kind of rich I want to be. Could I be content with a 2017 washer-and-dryer-and-dishwasher-three-slideout-indoor and outdoor entertainment system-500 horsepower Cummins-pullout pantry-DTV-equipped-shiny paint job RV?
Only if I am content with a 1999 donated-allergic to hills and engine misses during rainstorms-broken drawers-broken front air conditioning-leaky faucet-faded-RV. You know what? It's a mansion! A blessing!
It's fine to ADMIRE what others have as long as it doesn't spark discontent with what one DOES HAVE. It can become incentive to work a little harder for better things within the capability of our gifts and talents, or it can become a decision point to accept what I have with gratefulness and to understand that the shiny things are masking true life and eternal living.
If Kain and Abel had joined in the Spirit of Sukkot, then the firstfruits offerings would have been shared. Together in the sukkah, Kain would have great lamb kabobs, and Abel would have great grilled eggplant and zucchini! The priests would have had great Levitical and tribal chief partners, and the Levites and chiefs would have had priests who labored in love for them without the sadness of dark clouds of accusation as to their motives.
I am not afraid that the Father loves me less than those with greater spiritual gifts or RVs. I am content with what I have, and I nurture those gifts He's given me diligently. I share, and I in turn benefit from the gifts He's given others. If I am not afraid, then I am not angry at God. If I am not angry, then I do not accuse human beings who have or do more. If I do not accuse, then we don't fight. If we don't fight, then no one has to die of envy.
Psalm 37 is a wonderful Psalm to pray when we feel as though others prosper while we work diligently for Yeshua and receive only distress, poverty, sickness, and bitter accusation. There is no need to envy.
By envy of the devil, death entered the world."
I love the Blessing After Meals on Shabbat, for it highlights so many of these Psalm 37 passages, such as "I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread."
If Torah and Yeshua are the true Bread from Heaven, then our children should never go hungry any more than the Israelites' children did not go hungry for forty years. We are rich, for we are content with what we have, the Word.
Psalm 37 Exhortation to Patience and Trust Of David
1 Do not fret because of the wicked;do not be envious of wrongdoers,
2 for they will soon fade like the grass,and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in the LORD,and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will make your vindication shine like the light,and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him;do not fret over those who prosper in their way,over those who carry out evil devices.
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.Do not fret-it leads only to evil.
9 For the wicked shall be cut off,but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
10 Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land,and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous,and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the LORD laughs at the wicked,for he sees that their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bowsto bring down the poor and needy,to kill those who walk uprightly;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is a little that the righteous person hasthan the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,but the LORD upholds the righteous.
18 The LORD knows the days of the blameless,and their heritage will abide forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times,in the days of famine they have abundance.
20 But the wicked perish,and the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures;they vanish-like smoke they vanish away.
21 The wicked borrow, and do not pay back,but the righteous are generous and keep giving;
22 for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land,but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
23 Our steps are made firm by the LORD,when he delights in our way;
24 though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,for the LORD holds us by the hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old,yet I have not seen the righteous forsakenor their children begging bread.
26 They are ever giving liberally and lending,and their children become a blessing.
27 Depart from evil, and do good;so you shall abide forever.
28 For the LORD loves justice;he will not forsake his faithful ones.
The righteous shall be kept safe forever,but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,and live in it forever.
30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,and their tongues speak justice.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;their steps do not slip.
32 The wicked watch for the righteous,and seek to kill them.
33 The LORD will not abandon them to their power,or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.
34 Wait for the LORD, and keep to his way,and he will exalt you to inherit the land;you will look on the destruction of the wicked.
35 I have seen the wicked oppressing,and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.
36 Again I passed by, and they were no more;though I sought them, they could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless, and behold the upright,for there is posterity for the peaceable.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and rescues them;he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them,because they take refuge in him.
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Ps 37). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Commentary on the Amidah is in
LaMalah Children's Centre
Special thanks to our regular donors and our new donors. Click on this Dropbox link for a special Powerpoint presentation giving the history of LaMalah Children's Centre.
If you have children's clothes or children's books (in English) to send, you can mail them to:
Peter W Ndungu
The children could each use a copy of the
International Children's Bible in English, which serves a two-fold purpose, reading Scripture and learning to read in English. We have ordered a couple of hardback copies for community use, but it would be awesome if each child could have his or her own copy. If you can send a copy, send it to the above address.
if you are traveling to Kenya and you would be willing to transport a suitcase of children's books for LaMalah, please notify us. These are heavy items, and it costs a small fortune to mail them.
If you can help toward this goal, as always, we welcome your assistance. For those of you who send monthly support to the orphanage, we can't thank you enough for fulfilling Messiah's commission.
Another way to help...
Want to help The Creation Gospel every time you purchase something on Amazon? Our ministry is part of our local congregation, The Olive Branch, in East Bernstadt, Kentucky. If you reset your amazon home page to
and select The Olive Branch Messianic Congregation Inc. as your charity, Amazon donates a small percentage of each sale. Every penny helps, and our congregation is a great help in meeting special needs at the orphanage and other outreaches.