Jeremiah 29:11 NIV “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. . .”
It seems that at times we are so used to hearing the same interpretations of certain scriptures and principles preached from the pulpit over and over that we believe that they are 100% accurate. Yet, if we could and WOULD take the time to read and study His Torah, we might find something new, different, and even contrary to what we have been taught our whole lives. It is especially important to take the verses in context.
Take for example something we often hear when things go awry in life, “Don’t worry, dear, God would not give you more than you can handle (bear or take).” This teaching is based on the verse in 1 Corinthians 10 that people believe tells them that God has given them all the negative happenings in their lives in an effort to teach them something important, either about a situation, about others or about themselves. Is this truly what Paul is saying in these verses?
Let’s take a quick look at what 1 Corinthians 10:
Verses 1-4 talks briefly about the Children of Israel and the Exodus, then the time in the wilderness. Paul is summarizing what happened to those who did not follow Moses’ teachings from Yahweh. He briefly talks of how they ALL were under the cloud of the Lord, ALL passed through the sea together, and they ALL experienced the same “spiritual meat” and “drink”, yet in spite of the fact that they ALL went through the same experiences, some did not choose the same path of righteousness.
Verse 5 says that Yahweh was not pleased with many of them and because of this, they were “overthrown”, or struck down in the desert. He is speaking of people like Korah, Dathan, Abiram and their followers who, in the wilderness, spoke against Moses and Aaron, but especially against the Lord. They were swallowed by the earth and killed, then 14,700 were sickened with plague and died before Aaron could get to them and make atonement to Yahweh for their sins. (Numbers 16)
Verse 6-11 describes how the people of Corinth could use these examples to learn from, and that they shouldn’t lust after evil as the children of Israel did. Paul goes into detail about things not to do: don’t be idolaters, don’t commit sexual sins, do not grumble or murmur. As Paul uses the example of Korah and his followers, it appears you could safely include the additional sins they committed as part of that evil as well, which are: pride, arrogance, covetousness, envy and jealousy, just to name a few.
Then finally in Verse 13 (WEB version), we read: “No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” To help get the clearest picture, the word translated as “temptation” from Greek to English can also mean test, trial, or calamity. What is Paul actually saying in this verse? Does he truly say, “God has not GIVEN you more than you can handle?”
He explains to the people that what has happened to tempt them or whatever tried them, is nothing new and is common to mankind. It has happened before and will tempt people again, remembering that there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 “That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
Paul also says that Yahweh is true to us and will not allow us to be tried above what we are δύνασθε. This Greek word translated into English is often translated as “able”, but it has another translation, which means power, and when inserted, would make the verse mean “above which we have POWER.”
The Greek word δύνασθε, transliterated as “dunamai”, means: I am powerful, to be empowered. This gives a completely different view of the wording and the scripture. Previously it stated you were merely “able” - capable, ready, competent, adequate. With the additional clarification you are now - impressive, forceful, influential, potent, robust, vigorous as well as able and capable. Does this give a different picture in your mind of what will happen in our lives when we are tried or tempted? We will not just be “able” but we will be empowered and forceful in overcoming.
In addition, we need to see clearly that Paul does not say Yahweh will GIVE us trials, he says Yahweh ALLOWS it, but it will not be above what we have the power within us to push through. Let me ask you for a moment, what power do you have?
John 14:12 WEB Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father.
We are told to be like Elijah, who performed great wonders and miracles (James 5:17-18). Elisha was given the mantle of Elijah, and asked for double the portion of Elijah’s spirit, then did greater than he (2 Kings 2:9). The scriptures prophecy of the Messiah coming and performing miracles, and Yeshua performed many miracles similar to those of Elijah and Elisha. If we are to be able to do more than Yeshua accomplished, then using all these miracles as a testimony to us of our ability, do you now see what Paul was describing of us? There is nothing that comes our way that we cannot power through.
When you carry on through the verse to the final sentence, Paul says that when the temptations happen, when they are allowed to move through our lives, Yahweh will also “make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” What is this way of escape? It is an exit, a way out. It is the final outcome and result. When things happen, whether brought on by our own actions, those of others, or just by the nature of things on this planet due to the fall of Adam, Yahweh will point to the exit, and prepare a way so that we will be able to carry on and bring forth the outcome.
One description explained the Greek word to mean “carry under”, like a powerful river undercurrent. How does an undercurrent work? An undercurrent of a river or stream goes unnoticed, flowing silently underneath the surface of the river. It is often much stronger than the surface current, moving boulders, rocks and other bottom material in its way. While the surface current will mosey along, the undercurrent uses its power to accomplish it’s task of pushing objects out of its path and faster, farther, and away from the immediate area. The undercurrent may cause some erosion or redefining landscape, and it is often credited for cleaning up toxic sediments or moving debris that is causing problems. Down the line, that sand, stone, and silt will create new shorelines, deltas, and islands adding to the landscape and habitat, making things better in the long run. Can you see how that may be likened to what Yahweh does to us as he makes the exit visible, and carries us along to the way out of the trial or temptation?
The next time you see or hear someone, even yourself, trying to say that Yahweh has given this trial as a challenge to better them, that He has thrust some negative circumstance upon them on purpose, it is hoped that you would instead help them to understand that Yahweh is a loving father who has fortified them with the power to follow the current that leads to the exit that He has prepared. Yahweh does not give us problems, he gives us power to overcome problems. He does not give us sickness, he gives us the power to be healed and to heal the sick.
Blessings and Shalom
Recently I was asked why a website and ministry called “Torah for Women” was created - after all, why is it necessary to teach the LAW for Women? Many believe that only the males need to learn Torah. While others wish to proclaim “The LAW is dead!" The easiest way to answer these questions is to simply state that the purpose of Torah for Women is to share Yahweh’s TEACHINGS for Women.
Using the word “Law” gives a wrong impression to the modern mind. Many liken it to what is present in modern society - the law of the land, also known as statutes. People picture God’s law as being judging and condemning, a list of restrictions and binding rules that are made to control men and women. The word law gives a clear picture these days of being controlling, restrictive, oppressive, and even of being tyrannical, unjust, and burdensome. Yet Yahweh’s teachings are not to be burdensome at all, in fact the teachings are meant to be freeing.
Matthew 11:28-30 KJV “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is EASY, and my burden is LIGHT.”
Torah for Women has already published several free e-books which explain our position of the role women hold in the church, based on the Torah. (Read More) We would invite you to read them for a clear picture of what the Teachings say about women in the church and in homes. To summarize, while many believe and teach that women must remain silent and the Word should only be taught by men, the Torah teaches that women should study the Torah, and even teach the Torah to each other as well as where ever they may be called to teach.
So what exactly IS “Torah for Women", then? The scriptures give clear and proper definitions so that we can better understand. The Torah describes the first five books of the Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, in the Bible. It is the foundation of His assemblies and where the majority of His teachings can be found. While that is a practical definition or explanation, there is much more. Many may already know the origin of the word Torah from the Bible, but for review and refresher or those who wren’t aware, the word Torah can be traced back to the root word “yarah,” and this root word is defined as “to throw, shoot”. It is also translated as archer, archers, shoot, teach, and instruct. Why does it mean to teach or instruct? Because when you teach or instruct, you expect the one who is learning will hit the mark or target, get a bullseye, being spot-on, hit where they are aiming, understand exactly what is being given for wisdom and understanding.
This gives a much different picture than the modern mind interprets. If Torah isn’t just a bunch of words assembled together to show rules and regulations or statutes that we must follow, and it means to get a bullseye or hit the mark, how does that apply in studying the Words of Yahweh? When you study the Torah, teachings, you are working toward being on target for who and what Yahweh wants you to be. If you are following his wisdom, you will hit where you are aiming. When you understand what is being given for wisdom, you will be applying the Teachings He has laid out for all time - teachings that can be applied 5000 years ago, 2000 years ago, 500 years ago, today and in the future. The teachings and Yahweh do not change.
Isaiah 40:8 WEB “. . .The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever."
Psalm 33:11 WEB “The counsel of Yahweh stands fast forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”
Another way to look at things might be like this: When you are aiming anything at a distance, whether using a gun, catapult, spear, or bow and arrow, to hit that target, to hit the mark, you will need to know how to compensate for variables. Cross winds may blow and try to push that arrow off its path, making it difficult to hit the target. Rain or other obstructions may affect how the arrow flies. Without the proper teaching and instructions, the archer may not be able to hit the target correctly, if at all. If we do not study the Teachings of Yahweh, and learn to apply them to the variables that happen in this imperfect, fallen world, then we will be less likely to be “spot-on” when we try to hit the mark.
Yahweh covers so many different topics and aspects, from what to eat, to how to behave morally; from how to deal with household mold, to how to deal with health issues. It isn’t just “The Law”, it is filled with messages to cleanse, purify, encourage, strengthen, lift up, celebrate, guide, direct, and even enjoy. Suddenly the Torah does not look much like many of the statutes that are created today by our American legal system, or denominational legalism, does it? Does it still look like a burdensome “The Law For Women” that enslaves?
Now, imagine yourself reading and studying the word of Yahweh and likening it to your journey: you are grabbing your bow and arrow, practicing, compensating for the negative aspects that are tossed at you, all the while standing firm on what you have learned, and suddenly you are more able to hit the target and get a bulls eye with that bow and arrow than ever before. Because of the teaching you have been given and your personal study, you have learned to hold true and to resist or compensate for all those things people or influences placed in your way to stop you from following the path Yahweh wants for you to follow.
Another thing that we hear often is the belief that “The Law is dead". What does it mean to be dead? Automatically, your mind probably creates a picture of something or someone being completely void of life. Apply this now to the word of Yahweh, is His teachings: void of life - lifeless; no longer living, or inanimate? When someone is alive in our lives, they make us laugh, smile, bring joy to us, talk with us, encourage us, bring us peace, challenge us. We may find they also might rebuke, correct, and lead us to a better path. Even if we might appear to be following them resisting, kicking and screaming down that path. Yet, one thing is certain, they are alive - the opposite of dead: they are filled with life, full of energy and spirit, active, lively, vivid, vibrant in our lives.
If we are going to conclude that “The Law is Dead”, then we are really saying the Torah [the first five books of the bible] are dead. Torah, is more accurately described as “teaching” or being on target. Therfore, if we state “The Law is Dead” then we would have to be willing to declare that the TEACHING OF YAHWEH is DEAD - that Yahweh’s lessons in the word, his teachings, are completely inanimate, void of life, no longer living. The teachings have no energy, no spirit, are not active. It means it can bring you no joy, no encouragement to live by, it is not going to help you, in any way, to be spot on when aiming at a target and you will not be able to use it to get a bullseye.
It makes you think of the verse where it says to eat and drink for tomorrow we die (1 Corinthians 15:32), doesn’t it? If the Words of Yahweh brings nothing that helps us to stay straight on the path to a target, then why don’t we just do as we wish, enjoy life, and wing it because nothing matters? This theory would make you believe there is no benefit or reward in hitting the mark, no consequence for missing the mark. However, we know this is not true:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
As you can see, Yahweh’s Word is living, it is vibrant, it is Teaching. It can be piercing to correct, direct, and rebuke, but it is not a prison where we get nothing but bread and water til the day we die. It is instead, filled with promise, hope, love, life and encouragement that will help us to understand how to adjust to the variables which present themselves on a daily basis. We can teach that it keeps us on the straight and narrow pathway, and that now, with it’s presence in our life, we can hit the target.
Aim for a bullseye, ladies, and don’t miss the mark!
Philippians 3:14 KJV
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Matthew 7:13-14 KJV
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Blessings and Shalom!
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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