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B'resheet/Genesis 8:16 Go out from the ark, you and your wife, your sons and the wives of your sons with you
The word starting the verse, , is the Qal imperative form from the root , meaning "to go out" or "to leave".HaShem is actively telling Noah to leave the Ark. Though it has been a place of safety for him, his family and the animals, it is now time to move on. HaShem is not giving Noah the option of using the Ark as a base and making occasional sorties while he gets himself ready for going out; G-d knows that Noah must go and must go now or perhaps he will never let go of the security that the Ark provided during the flood. The animals must be released so that they can disperse to their natural territories; Noah and his family must come out, have children, found the nations and move forward to fulfill G-d's command to "fill the earth, subdue it and take dominion" (B'resheet 1:28).
Rashi points to the resumption of normal life by highlighting the difference between the instructions to enter the Ark (6:18) where G-d says, "you, your sons, your wife and your son's wives" and these instructions to leave the Ark. He suggests that in the former, there is an implied gender segregation upon entry, whereas in the latter the couples are united again as they leave the Ark. Rashi therefore deduces that G-d forbade Noah and his sons from having relations with their respective wives for the duration of the time in the Ark, perhaps as if they needed all their resources and energies to focus on the immediate task in front of them. Rav Sha'ul addresses the same issue in his letter to the Corinthians: "Do not deprive each other, except for a limited time, by mutual agreement, and then only so as to have extra time for prayer; but afterwards, come together again" (1 Corinthians 7:5, CJB).
Each of us goes through seasons of security and seasons of insecurity; places where we feel comfortable and safe and those where we feel the need to be careful; people and relationships that are open and trusting, where we can share our feelings freely, and those that are less so and we need to be more guarded. G-d calls us to move between the cycles in our lives as we grow and develop, as we are ministered to by others and as we - in our turn - minister to others; sometimes we are receiving love and security, at other times we are providing it for others, be they family, friends, work colleagues, members of our congregation or fellowship. The transitions between these phases can often be difficult for us, because we naturally prefer to remain in the place of comfort and security, stability and continuity. But although we may be making progress and growing in those times, G-d will call us to move through other cycles of relative insecurity, giving out to others more than we receive, difficult and challenging relationships, even times when our faith and love may be snubbed or ridiculed - our very relationship with G-d being attacked. These are the times when we grow the most, when we are stretched - almost, as it were, to breaking point - when the blacksmith builds strength and character by the heat of the fire, the blows of the hammer on the anvil, and the cold of the water that quenches and tempers the iron.
How do we know, like Noah, that G-d is calling us to move on and into a time of challenge and growth? Simply that He goes before us and calls us. Yeshua said, "[The shepherd] calls his own sheep, each one by name, and leads them out. After taking out all that are his own, he goes on ahead of them; and the sheep follow him because they recognise his voice" (John 10:3-4, CJB)). That is how we know to move forward - because Yeshua calls us and we know His voice.
Further Study: Joshua 3:14-17; Daniel 3:24-26; Acts 16:35-40
Application: Are you in that place where you know that you have heard G-d calling you to move forward, to move on and follow Him? Perhaps you don't want to leave the people or place where you are, but you can't ignore or put down that voice that is calling you? Take courage, take godly counsel and take that step of faith today, without delay, and He will be with you!
© Jonathan Allen, 2006
Comment - 23Oct06 21:07 Bud: Jewish Communities are scarce in our area, however, we are constantly checking any leads. I have several Christians that contact me for information of the Messianic movement. I give out Tikkun literature to interested parties.
Comment - 24Oct06 03:13 JonathanS: Perhaps the lesson here is also to leave the "safety" of your place in the diaspora and "go up" to the land that God has promised you...?
Comment - 24Oct06 13:16 Beth: I found the application so good this week. I have often noticed an "ebb or flow" in both relationships and feelings of security over my life ... this parasha made me see that G_d uses these times to refine us. It's a different aspect to the one I usually take ... that of beating myself over the head! Thanks, Jonathan
Comment - 25Oct06 17:01 Esther: I've noticed that occasionaly G-d will take you back through an experience that you didn't like and wouldn't wish to repeat, in order to reinforce some lesson that is vital to you. But often second time around you are able to touch others' lives with the comfort He has given you on the previous trip. Thanks for the insight!
Comment - 26Oct06 16:25 David: I appreciated the encouragement suggested in this week's article to keep moving forward in faith, and that the Messiah leads the way and we follow. Sometimes following is natural and at other times the direction is not so clear or questioned or even temporarily snubbed. Again, thank you as I am new to this web site but very interested in Messianic Judaism.
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