There are two inclinations known to man. The Evil Inclination (HaSatan) and the Good Inclination (Adonai’s Spirit). The Evil Inclination does not care if a believer fasts, prays or gives to charity all day, every day or any day, providing the believer does not study Torah. (The foundation of all scripture is Torah).
There are three pillars of a believer’s faith in Adonai.
The first is kindness. Kindness is thought, word and deeds. Showing the kindness to others, loving your neighbor. Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39.
The second pillar is service. Service not just to our local assembly but to communities wherever help is needed. This service also has it’s roots in loving your neighbor.
The third pillar is the Torah: the crucial pillar for the believer’s success in carrying out their mission purpose on earth.
Now these three pillars are represented in the following:
Abraham represents kindness.
Isaac represents service.
Jacob represents Torah (the foundation of scripture).
This is why the angel attacked/wrestled with Jacob, found in Genesis 32, until the break of dawn. The Evil Inclination/HaSatan continues to wrestle with Jacob’s descendants (the believers of today) and will remain in this battle until the dawn of salvation (the return of Messiah).
The result of this struggle with the divine being resulted with Jacob’s being the overcomer, winning the battle. As a result, Adonai renamed him “Israel,” whose meaning is “to struggle with man and Adonai.”
As we read Torah, we find both names being used. Why is this? The answer is found in scripture; when we see the name Jacob, we will notice that scripture is speaking in the physical realm. When we see the name Israel, we notice that scripture is speaking of him in the spiritual realm! So in this chapter of Torah (Genesis 32), we learn that each person has a physical man in him as well as a spiritual man.
The physical man deals with the everyday struggles, trials and troubles of our life on earth. Those struggles are reminiscent of those Jacob experienced with the angel at Penuel, the place between the Jordan and Jabbok rivers.
The spiritual man sees the things of the Spirit, as well as the pains and struggles of the world around us. This spiritual man within directs us to focus on the scriptures of the three Pillars of Faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The mandated commands of kindness, service to all of mankind and the most important command, to a lifelong in depth study of the foundation of all scripture, the Torah. It is the Torah that Yahshua/Jesus taught, spoke about in kindness, in service to all of mankind, in every area of need, both physical and spiritual. This is what Yahshua/Jesus meant when He responded in truth and love, “Love Adonai with all your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
May we all strive to do the greatest commandment of loving Adonai with all of our soul, heart and mind. And may we all strive in this holiday season and beyond to do the the second greatest commandment Yahshua/Jesus spoke: to love our neighbor as ourselves.
The writer is the pastor at House of Blessed Hope Assembly in Sidney.