The Story of Gad
An excerpt from Creation Gospel Workbook 5: Vol 5 Devarim
Gad is an interesting name. It can mean a special force troop or mercenaries. In a sense, Gad did become mercenaries, for their service in war was the price they paid for their portion. They were shock troops. The root of Gad has to do with a cutting or stinging, thus we get the idea of shock troops or advance forces. They move fast, sting the enemy, and soften them up for the rest of the army. The most interesting, and perhaps most holy aspect of Gad is that he shares the same root as gader, which was the low, stone wall that enclosed and protected the holy spaces.
But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, t
o restore its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. (Ez 9:8-9)
The wall is the gader, the heap of protective stones that may be equated with the Torah, the protective boundary around Israel. In every generation there must be Gadites building up the breaches in the gader, the Torah in the community. The problem with Gad is that his first instinct is to build a gader to protect only his own cattle and family. He loses sight of Moses' vision of congregational unity. While family and income are important, and both should be hedged about with Torah, to neglect the congregation is to enter into the sin of which Moses warns in Numbers 32:15:
For if you turn away from following Him, He will once again leave them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all these people.
Is it possible that our families and our possessions could cause us to destroy Adonai's people? How can good things such as the family and livelihood established by Torah become destructive to the assembly of believers? Read the text carefully, and initially, Gad and Reuben did not offer to continue into the Holy Land. Their first approach to Moses involved merely asking to be left behind to build sheepfolds (gaderah) for their goats and sheep and cities for their families.
When Moses rebukes them, they regroup, and then they re-approach, "Then they drew near to him..." On the second approach, they offer their services to continue as advance warriors and leave their secured possessions and families behind. Moses accepts this plan as a corrected priority, so initially Gad and Reuben made two mistakes: their priorities and their faith.
Shepherds of the Sheep Learn Battle Prepping
The first mistake of the Shepherd tribes was in setting their priorities. A careful reading of Numbers 32:16 reveals that to prepare for the campaign for the Land, they first intend to build sheepfolds for their flocks, and only then to build cities for their families.
Lest we judge them too harshly, many men and women have put their careers or businesses ahead of their families. The irony is that they retire wealthy in possessions, but in poverty of relationship with their spouses and children. We then understand how the rich of this world become poor in the Kingdom, which consists of prioritizing the things that really matter, such as relationships of love, friendship, kindness, and acknowledging the Oneness of Adonai and His congregation, His little flock. Were the Gadites and Reubenites true shepherds?
When Moses replies, he corrects their priorities. "Build your cities for your little ones and folds for your sheep." Take care of wives and children before gadding about to increase sources of income. This is Torah. However, in this situation, the Camp of Israel is at war. Moses is making an incredible demand that two-and-a-half tribes leave their families to do battle for the congregation of Israel.
The Gadites' second mistake is their faith. In their offer to go before Israel as shock-troops, the Gadites fail to acknowledge the source of Israel's military power. They say, "But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them to their place..." Did you catch that? "We ourselves...until WE have brought them..." For an Israelite in covenant, "we ourselves" is no substitute for "IF the Father wills, then WE will..."
Moses once again corrects them:
Then Moses said to them: If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves before the LORD for the war, and all your armed men cross over the Jordan before the LORD until He has driven out His enemies from before Him and the land is subdued before the LORD, then afterward you may return and be blameless before the LORD and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD.
Six times in one sentence Moses reminds the Gadites that the war they are to fight is not in their own power and strength, but BEFORE THE LORD. Battles are fought in faith toward Adonai, and it is only then that warriors are blameless. Interestingly, the two-and-a-half tribes will also be found blameless before Israel. Lack of faith and wrong priorities incur blame with God and blame with the community of faith. Moses continues,
"But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out."
Sometimes it is what you DO NOT do that incurs blame and sin against Adonai. When there is a battle to fight, Adonai may ask His people to sacrifice some family things in order to encourage and lead His army. What would you have said if Yeshua told you, "Let the dead bury the dead, but you come follow me"?
The two-and-a-half tribes stand poised on the edge of holiness. By their obedience, they can conquer a holy land on the other side of the Yarden. Their choice is this: will we be true shepherds of the sheep, or will we be hirelings? Will we invest our very lives in the flock of Israel, or will we put our personal flocks and families ahead of the vision Adonai has for a holy people in a holy land?
King David was able to unite the twelve tribes, including Gad and Reuven, into a cohesive nation; this was a short-lived accomplishment that he passed on to his son Solomon. For a brief moment in Israel's history, the individuals, the clans, and the tribes put nationhood ahead of personal agendas.
Then Solomon sat on
the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father; and he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him. (1 Ch 29:23)
Rashi's commentary to this verse points out that the throne of Solomon/David was the throne of the LORD. The one who resists the nation (not individuals) of Israel, fights against the Throne of God on earth. Such a fight is impossible to win! How can the people of Israel become unbeatable? Unity. Adjusting priorities. Obedience. Self-sacrifice. Having a war plan instead of a "settling" plan. Only faith in the Throne and the Son of David who will sit on that Throne can inspire the personal sacrifice necessary for Israel to prevail over its enemies.
What can we do to implement the principles of the Torah portion? Make a plan! Don't slide into Shabbat and the feasts haphazardly. These are rehearsals for the final war. Prepare your family. Prepare your possessions. Plan your work. Prepare your weapons by studying and praying. Plan and prepare to aid others in your assembly to maximize the experience of Shabbat and the feasts. Rebuild the gaderah of Israel for the good of all. Prepare and plan your Sabbath path to the Throne of the Prince of Peace.
If we can't do these things on the OTHER side of the Jordan, then how do we expect to do them IN a Holy Land?
"But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out."
To fully activate the promise to Abraham, that those who bless him will be blessed and those who curse him will be cursed, Israel must unify. Start with planning for every Shabbat, for the Son of David will sit upon the throne of YHVH on earth. If we plan our Shabbat, then Yeshua, the Shepherd King, will prepare a table for us in the very presence of our enemies and fill our kiddush cups to overflowing.
Come quickly, our King Yeshua. Unite us again.
Creation Gospel Workbook Five continues to pull the threads from the Rivers of Eden through the Torah portions. It has illustrative stories, wordplay, and thematic explorations of the text and symbols.
The Torah text is traced to its apocalyptic outcomes in some portions, and the literal text is compared and contrast
ed with the figurative language often used in Scripture.
Creation Gospel Beginner Online Seminar
The hermeneutic device of consecutive numbers is explained, and the challenge of ritual and tradition is addressed. The Song of Moses is keyed thematically to the Book of Revelation, and the final Mosaic blessing on the sons of Israel is keyed to the Valorous Woman of Proverbs 31, revealing a secret in blessings, a blessing on the daughters.
Each portion has review questions, bonus discovery questions, and assignments suitable for both individuals and study groups.
The most important objective of the workbook, to encourage individual spiritual transformation from the Word, is included in each Torah portion.
I will be holding an eight-hour intensive Creation Gospel Workbook One online seminar (via WebEx) either in late August or September. I will look at the emails and facebook responses to see how much interest there is for either two four-hour Sunday classes
four two-hour weekday evening classes. If you are interested, the textbook is
Creation Gospel Workbook One: The Creation Foundation
, which is available through
Hebraic Roots Network
There is no charge for the seminar, although donations can be made on our website. If you have a serious interest, respond to firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate whether you'd prefer two four-hour classes on consecutive Sundays or four two-hour evening classes.
I will continue to update details in this newsletter once the dates and times are selected.
Women of Valor in November
Women of Valor now has a new website!
Please check it out and consider registering for the conference this November.
LaMalah Children's Centre
Elections are approaching in Kenya, and Brother Ndungu is anticipating violence, especially in Nairobi. He has purchased some extra supplies so that they will not have to travel out of Limuru during this time, and they have put a teaching trip to Uganda on hold until order returns. Please put the LaMalah Children's Centre and our brothers and sisters in Kenya on your prayer list for safety during this transition time.
Special thanks to our regular donors and our new donors. The copies of the International Children's Bible are arriving at LaMalah, and they received another box of children's books and clothes. We have one more box of books to send so that they can put together a small library. 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
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.