Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (also Deut 5:7)
Each of us has come a long way on our journey through man-made doctrines until we reach the pure Word of Yahweh. Along the way, we could claim various denominations as our spiritual “home”, albeit a temporary one. One common thread I see is that not long ago, 3-10 years ago, a movement was afoot. Many of the women I speak with regularly left the “comfort of their customs and religion” to forge a new road for themselves, their families, and friends. Along the way, as far as people go, they have lost some and gained some. I am no different in my search for Truth - family and friends have come and gone.
At one point in my life, I was Catholic. Having gone through their classes and ceremonies, I became a full member in “good standing” at the parish closest to my home. I loved the people. They gave me the community, acceptance, and love I had been searching for. There were gatherings, and festivals, prayer meetings, and even the need for a women’s auxiliary. With writings going all the way back to the times of the apostles, church history provided me with the historical background I was seeking in a church.
I learned the prayers to recite and even memorized the Rosary. I had several sets of beads to use and prayed it often in the beginning because I was under a lot of stress at the time. I found that, when I prayed, it brought me comfort and calm that I felt I wasn’t finding any other way. Although for decades I had been praying directly to the Father, I felt some kind of comfort believing that the rosary prayers were “interceding” for me. Almost as though praying for “intercession” gave you that extra power boost you needed to get the desired answer to prayers.
As time went on, I discovered the more I prayed, the more “it” brought me peace, comfort, direction, answers to prayers, even healing. Everything I asked of God he delivered and, oddly, I still continued to believe it was because of my rosary prayers.
Until one day I noticed I would get a few words into the rosary “prayer," suddenly stop saying the repetitive words, then pray directly to The Father. This was just as I had done for so many decades before. I realized how all those blessings and every prayer answered was not from the intercession of some string of beads or a methodical prayer to someone else. I had been giving power to an idol (the Rosary) in the beginning. Over time, though, my spirit recognized that I needed to break free from that idolatry and pray, speak, praise, and ask Yahweh directly. Without my knowing it, I had escaped man-made religion and slipped right into what was right and true - A relationship with Yahweh. I was praying to Abba, and he was blessing me.
Knowing this story about my past, it seems strange that I now get condemned by people who are doing the same thing I once did, using different objects of idolatry. Over the last several years, I have seen both men and women give a similar power to “things” they own, just as I had done with the rosary beads. Like them, I initially believed it was my praying through that string of beads that gave me healing, strength to fight, ability to overcome, personal comfort, just as they believe it is in their particular “item” that they have power. I have witnessed people make the same kinds of claims about healing, comfort, and power that I once made about the rosary prayer. However, their idol is not a set of beads, but instead, their idol is a head-covering, a tallit, a kippah, or even a pile of balanced rocks.
No matter what your item (idol) is, you need to learn that the power is not in that physical thing. In fact, the power given to an item only lies in the mind of the one worshipping the item. The key that we have to learn is that the power of Yahweh lies with Yahweh, and not in some object we turn into some idol.
Now, before you deny you worship idols, ask yourself if you could live days, weeks, or months without that object. If you find an attachment to that object and believe your life will not be the same without your head-covering, kippah, tallit, or another item, you are attributing power to that item. You are caught up in a form of idolatry.
Sometimes it doesn’t appear we take this issue personally enough. We ignore the obvious and we may even think we can’t “have” some of the promises from Yahweh unless we earn them. For whatever reason, inside our heads, we believe we are supposed to suffer, be anxious, wear an object or perform some man-made ritual, to get answers. Yet Yahweh has told us many times that those things are not of him. In the scriptures, we witness Yeshua’s miracles and the power of Yahweh at work throughout every event. We marvel at His amazing acts portrayed right before our eyes. We know that Yeshua promised we would do greater works than what he did. Yet people seem to be unable to fully believe in these things and they are unable to put their full stock in the promises from Yahweh. People find it easier to believe that a Tallit, a kippah or a head covering will bring more comfort and blessing than Yahweh will, while at the same time claiming Yahweh used that fabric or that item to bring them blessings. It’s like people need an earthly object they can touch and see in order to fool themselves into believing they are connecting with Yahweh.
In our book, “The Headcovering Dilemma - SOLVED!” we address this topic of idol worship with some questions you can ask yourself to help clarify and understand if you have placed an item before, in front of, or even in the way of Yahweh, therefore making it an idol in your life. These questions can be used by both men and women to help in understanding their relationship with Abba.
There are scriptures listed to guide and direct you as well. I recommend each person pray so that your relationship with Yahweh will be what it is meant to be, and then read the book. Take the time to do a self-checkup on idol worship. Before writing this message, I took the "check-up." It helped point out a few things to me that I don’t worship, but that I was at risk of elevating to a position they don’t deserve. It was a good personal examination, and I pray you will give that time to yourself as well. Don’t get caught up in idol worship and especially don’t do that idol worship in His name.
May you be blessed.
Isaiah 42:8 KJV “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
Judges 10:14WEB “Go and cry to the gods which you have chosen. Let them save you in the time of your distress!”
Here on Torah for Women you will often see the name Jesus or the word "God" appearing alone in the sentence, or in parenthesis following Yeshua (Jesus) and Yahweh (God) or Abba (father). There's a very good reason for this: one of our goals here is to share His teaching, Torah, with everyone that we can, everyone He brings to this site. Jew and gentile, believer and non-believer, follower and seeker. This includes those who identify as Messianic and Christian, no matter what sub-group, denomination, or doctrine you profess. We are here to deliver the truth to all that come and in terms they and you understand.
I am sure many of you have been there, at the beginning of your journey, hearing all the discussion about which name is correct and which ones are pagan or not. Maybe you switched from Yeshua, to Yahushua, to YAHshua, to YEHshua, and back again. From YHVH (yod hay vav hay) to Yehovah, to Yahweh. Maybe you are even still looking for the correct pronunciations of Moshe (Moses), Shimon (Simon), Yakov (Jacob, also known as James), and Yochanan (John). Then, what happens when suddenly the name of Jesus slips out of your mouth because you have used it for 30, 40, 50 years, and it is what you know, all you have known, and are used to using?
This is a legitimate internal struggle for some and sometimes a stressful time because they have a deep desire to please God in every aspect of their lives. They have read the promises about saying His name, and they have a deep desire to not "get it wrong". Some are almost fearful that He won't answer prayers or hear them if they say his name "incorrectly".
That is why you will see us use Yeshua (Jesus, sometimes even Christ), Yahweh (God), and Abba (Father) when we discuss topics or publish books. Everyone, everywhere is at different levels of understanding and learning. We cannot know their understanding just by starting a conversation with them for a few minutes or quickly chatting with them online, and we cannot know who we will reach with our teachings.
In the Torah movement, we have seen everything from individuals who are trying to teach people the basics and Hebrew names with loving kindness to pure inexcusable venom, insulting and hurting people until they are crushed. I honestly cannot say I have seen it all because, sadly, I seem to be surprised each week by someone new that I meet who crosses a line into wickedness toward another believer. It pains me to see the whole thing play out.
As followers of Yahweh, we can either choose to be forceful and harsh, gentle and mild, or somewhere in between. Or we can choose to follow His spirit and teach the truth. His truth. As Yeshua taught. We are keepers of His word, seekers of His truths ourselves, you know. Weren't we once there, in that place, trying to discover, trying to figure things out?
In daily life we come in contact with so many people, and we may find that we need to adapt the message for their comprehension. I am not suggesting or even implying that we adapt it to compromise or soften His Truth, as so many in the churches are doing today. However, we must be ready to teach in "their language," just as you would teach someone in Chinese, French, or any other foreign language, while still holding firm to The Word.
This was driven home to me the day we excitedly showed a video to a loved one who is not on the same Torah walk yet. We could not wait to share the message we received from the program, but the creator of the video used names that she had never heard before. He used all Hebrew names for the apostles, the books of the bible and the Hebrew name for Jesus. This might be fine and acceptable for a Jewish person that spoke Hebrew, but you could see on her face that she had no idea of whom he was speaking. She became frustrated, and I don't believe the message we had hoped she would receive was the message she got. In fact, I am not sure she got much of a message at all. What would have been the result, though, if the maker of the video had used names she recognized: Jesus, God, Moses, Paul, etc. Would she have heard the message in a way that would touch her heart? I believe so. I know some people want to use Hebrew when they speak or write for accuracy, but why do people use Hebrew when they are speaking to an audience that has no understanding of Hebrew?
At TorahforWomen.com and our main ministry, Shofar Productions, we have been called to reach souls and touch lives for the kingdom. We take to heart the example of Ezra and the other priests "They read from the book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage." Nehemiah 8:8 NLT
If you find fault with this and feel a spirit of contention, then we challenge you to examine your attitude against the numerous scriptures that speak against stirring up strife, against pride, speaking evil, and spreading false statements.
"I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work." John 9:4 WEB
NLT - Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, Copyright 1996' 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015, by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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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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